Healthy Snack Ideas

These 2-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Brownies Are *So* Rich in Sleep-Boosting Magnesium

Photo: Getty Images/AJ Paulsen
Let's get one thing straight: Your dessert doesn't need any extra benefit beyond being straight-up delicious. That said, if you're a sweets at night kind of person, it's an extra bonus if your dessert also help you drift off to sleep. And thanks to Kirbie’s Cravings creator and 5-Minute Mug Cakes author Jennifer Lee, you can enjoy two-ingredient, healthy peanut butter brownies with a side of shut-eye tonight.

Please allow me to repeat the "two ingredients" bit again, folks—because it's not a typo or a joke. Lee is the real MVP when it comes to whittling down dessert ingredients so you don't wind up spending an hour in the kitchen (or an arm and a leg) when you could just be, you know, just eating a brownie. For this particular recipe, those two ingredients are—drumroll, please—dates and peanut butter.

These two components are a power couple and play major roles in many vegan baking recipes, but what you may not know (yet) is that they're also packed with sleep-supporting magnesium. "Magnesium is a mineral that’s involved in more than 300 processes within the body," says registered dietitian Amy Gorin, MS, RDN. "We know from research that not getting enough magnesium in your diet can negatively impact sleep." Apart from supporting your eight hours, magnesium also aids cardiovascular function and supports your muscles, nerves, energy levels, mood, and brain function. So this dessert is putting in some work for your body.

According to the folks at Harvard, the recommended dietary allowance of magnesium for adult men is 400 to 420 milligrams per day, while women need between 310 and 320 milligrams for women (although, you need to consume a teensy bit more when pregnant). Now, let's get into the specifics of how each brownie ingredient can help get your daily dose of circadian-supporting magnesium, shall we?

First up: dates. A serving of two pitted dates contains about 26 milligrams of magnesium, with medjool dates also contain a solid amount of fiber (about three grams per serving) and—oh snap—as much calcium as a banana. Calcium is another key nutrient for sleep, so don't write off this shriveled, not-so-aesthetically-appealing fruit. Okay?

Next, of course, is peanut butter. America's favorite spread contains about 49 milligrams of magnesium per two-tablespoon serving, not to mention plenty of protein (about seven grams per serving), heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants. "Peanut butter is full of protein, fiber, and good-for-you fats. These nutrients help you to stay energized for longer, and the unsaturated fats it contains can be beneficial for heart health," says Gorin. Peanut butter is a classic for a reason.

A little more on why PB is so great for ya:

Some quick mental math—okay, okay: I used a calculator, jeez—tells me 49 plus 26 comes out to about 75 milligrams of magnesium. Meaning, these brownies contain about 19 percent of the daily recommended magnesium intake for men and about 24 percent of the recommended magnesium intake of women per serving. That's a brownie with a lot of benefits.

If you're ready to chow down on these gooey, no-bake, foolproof brownies, keep scrolling for Lee's recipe. Sweet dreams.

2-ingredient healthy peanut butter brownies recipe

Photo: Kirbie's Cravings

Yields eight brownies

Ingredients
1 packed cup of pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup of unsweetened natural peanut butter

1. Line an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.

2. Add dates to food processor. Pulse until a smooth date paste forms. You may need to use spatula and scrape the sides a few times to help the food processor mix the dates. If your dates are old and no longer soft and moist, you will need to rehydrate them first before using.

3. Add in peanut butter. Pulse until peanut butter is completely incorporated into the dates. Your mixture should look crumbly but when you pinch it together, it should stick.

4. Press mixture into your prepared pan. Use palm of hands to really compress your dough so that it will stick together. You do not need to spread the dough across the entire loaf pan if you want your brownies to be thicker. I left about 1/2 inch of space. You can spread the dough out as much as you want until you reach your desired thickness.

5. Place brownies into fridge for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will let the dough firm up, making it easier to slice. Slice and enjoy.

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