First, an explanation. I haven’t been updating on a regular basis and a bunch of my previous posts were guest posts. I haven’t been publishing my bi-weekly recipes.
Here’s why. When I first started the blog, I was following a gluten-free diet. Since the blog was new, I was able to take a few months in the beginning to really perfect my gluten-free baking. If you are interested the recipes are still posted here, I will proudly say they blow other gluten-free desserts away.
However, when I switched over to Paleo, I already had a blog which I felt the need to keep going. Therefore, some of my recipes were not as artful as they had been in the past. While this standard is just fine for the blogging community, it wasn’t fine for me.
So I’ve taken a few months to do some experimenting and get my drive back. This post is my kick off for my return to greatness. In the upcoming weeks, there will be a few revisions to the desserts that I feel need perfecting. Meanwhile, the food is on point.
Now since this target is not food geeks, but rather people who just want a healthy lifestyle, I’ll leave out a long explanation about dry, crumbly and greasy baked goods. Just know I am putting, what you would consider, way too much thought into my recipes.
Here’s why. I really hate health food. HATE IT. Can’t stand when things say they taste just like the original but never do. My friend, Yoga Mama, calls it “fake food.” And here is the hard reality of “fake food.”
I’m sorry if this is harsh and/or makes you angry, but don’t shoot the messenger. You are fooling yourself.
The reality is there is no such thing as healthy cake. Boom! There it is.
If you want a healthy snack, eat an apple or munch on some crudité because cake, no matter what ingredients you use, is not healthy. It may be healthier, but it’s not healthy.
Furthermore, if you think it is “healthy” you are going to give yourself permission to keep eating it. Food writer Michael Pollan refers to it as the “SnackWell’s Phenomenon.”
“One reason I’ve suggested is what called the SnackWell’s Phenomenon: By giving a free pass to good nutrients, people go there and eat a lot more food. If one SnackWell’s is okay because it’s low-fat, a whole box is probably better.”
IMHO health comes down to proportion. I’d rather eat two bites of cake that tastes good, than two slices of sawdust. You need to keep eating because your craving isn’t satisfied. Just eat a couple bites of what you really want and then be done with it.
So when I was worried my brownies were too rich for such a health-conscious group, Yoga Mama suggested I make them into bites. Brilliant! Everybody wins!
Yields 36 Brownie Bites or 16 Brownies
30 minPrep Time
1 hr, 30 Cook Time
2 hrTotal Time
1/3 cup clarified butter or ghee (two names for the same thing)*
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped into small pieces**
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup maple sugar (or just another 1/2 cup of coconut sugar)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup shelled walnuts
* For directions on how to clarify butter, visit How and Why You Should be Making Ghee by Simple Life Mom.
** I was committed to using Paleo-friendly chocolate because it is never heated at a high enough temperature to kill the antioxidants. However, it occurred to me that we are baking it anyway! So any fair trade unsweetened chocolate is fine by me and costs a whole lot less.
- In a small saucepan, melt together the ghee and the unsweetened chocolate on low heat stirring slowly and constantly. Set aside to cool. Tips: 1. The smaller you cut the chocolate, the faster it will melt. 2. If you are worried about the chocolate burning, first stir the chocolate in the ghee to coat it. 3. Click to learn how to melt chocolate.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and sugars until just combined and there are no lumps of sugar. Tip: DO NOT OVERMIX. Whisk just until combined.
- Add the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Add the almond flour and salt to the chocolate/egg mixture and whisk robustly for at least one minute. Tip: This vigorous whisking helps combine the almond flour into the batter. It’s what makes the brownies nice and fudgey.
- Allow the batter to rest on the countertop for about one hour. Tip: Grain-free flours do not absorb fats as well as wheat flour. Resting the dough gives the flour more time to soak up the ghee so the end result is not crumbly or greasy.
- Meanwhile, position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Grease the bottom of a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with ghee. Then line it with 2 sheets of parchment paper in a crisscross pattern. Make sure the paper overhangs the edges of the pan so you can easily lift out the brownies when they are done.
- When the oven is hot, place the walnuts on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for about 10 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.
- When cool, chop the walnuts finely and when the batter is done resting, fold in the nuts. Tips: 1. You can chop the walnuts directly on the sheet pan. Yes, I know this can dull the knife but Ina Garten does it this way and if it is good enough for Ina, it is good enough for me. 2. View a video on How to Fold an Ingredient into your Batter.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overbake! They are done when your finger still makes an impression. Cool thoroughly on a rack. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and cut into 36 bite-size pieces or 16 brownies.
For bites: Sprinkle finished bites with cacao powder, walnut dust or paleo powdered sugar (http://www.primalpalate.com/paleo-recipe/grain-free-powdered-sugar/)
For brownies: Set aside 16 walnut halves. After pouring the dough into the prepared pan, place the walnut halves on top in a 4 by 4 evenly-spaced pattern. This way each brownie is decorated with one walnut.
Substitute pecans, hazelnuts, macadamias or your favorite nut instead of the walnuts.
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