Paleo Brownies - Remixed Recipe
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free
I made paleo brownies awhile ago and I liked them. They were rich and fudgy like a brownie should be, but there was one thing that I did not like about them: coconut shortening. Unlike many folks these days, I do not like coconut oil. Personally, coconut does not agree with my GI system. As a Crohnie, my gut can be pretty sensitive and for some odd reason coconut oil, milk or meat just puts me in the fetal position. Now, aside from my personal issues, coconut oil is not actually all that good for you. It is a highly processed and packed with unhealthy saturated fats.
Ok, my rant against coconut oil is over. Like I said, I had used a coconut shortening for my last recipe of paleo brownies, which worked well, but I just wasn’t happy that I had to use a sort of synthetic fat. So I went back to the drawing board. And then…
Nut butter saved the day.
As if I needed another reason to love nut butter, it works so well as a replacement for most of the fat in recipes. I wouldn’t use it to replace all the fat; I replaced three quarters of the fat with almond butter and the remaining fourth with a neutral, paleo-friendly oil like avocado or walnut oil.
What about the chocolate?
Previously, I used unsweetened chocolate bars and melted them together with my shortening. This method is great; I use it in my normal brownie recipe. You get a seriously dense, rich brownie with a seriously intense chocolatey flavor. I tried it with this recipe and the result was a little too fudgy for me; you want some aeration in your brownie. I ended up with a pretty solid square of chocolate (not that that is a bad thing).
I ended up swapping out the unsweetened chocolate bars for a mix of raw cacao powder and black onyx cocoa powders. Raw cacao has a lighter color and a lighter flavor. It sort of tastes a little fruity. I wanted a darker color and richer chocolate flavor so I added black onyx cocoa. Black cocoa powder (I use King Arthur’s blend) is a dutch-processed cocoa powder (meaning the acidity has been neutralized for a smoother flavor) that has been extra dutched. You don’t really want to use black cocoa on it’s own; it likes to partner up with another cocoa powder.
If you are worried that these won’t have enough chocolate in them, have no fear. I added chocolate chips to the batter too.
In the end, these lovelies taste just about as good as a regular brownie, but you’ll feel a little bit better about eating one (or three if you are me). It’s a perfect dessert for a holiday party or something you can keep in your freezer, ready to defrost whenever you need a brownie point.
1/2 cup smooth, unsweetened almond butter
2 tbsps walnut oil
3/4 cup organic coconut sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup paleo flour**
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup black cocoa powder (if you don’t have it, use a dutch-processed cocoa)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate chip
Preheat the oven to 325F and line an 8-inch square baking pan with tin foil and grease it.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the paleo flour, salt and cocoa powders.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond butter, oil, maple syrup and coconut sugar until smooth. If it looks a little too thick, add another tablespoon of maple syrup.
Add the eggs and vanilla to the almond butter mixture and whisk until the eggs are fully incorporated.
Fold in the flour mixture; go slowly and be patient. The cocoa powder has a tendency to go everywhere if you go too fast.
Fold in the chocolate chips and mix to distribute them throughout the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and top with a handful more of chocolate chip.
Bake 25 to 28 minutes. When a toothpick to the center comes out clean, remove from the oven and let cool for an hour before slicing.
TIP: Throw these in the fridge for an hour or two before slicing and you’ll have a much easier time.
I enjoy these straight, no toppings or pairings. However, they make a darn good brownie Sunday.
**Gluten-free flour mixture:
While I do keep a gluten-free flour mixture on hand, sometimes I like to make my own. I call this one my paleo-kinda mix. It is not strictly paleo because it has oat flour, but I really think that the oat flour gives some good structure and flavor to the mix, not to mention fiber. And the potato starch and psyllium husk powder are very important. These guys are binders and almost act like the gluten would normally; they give structure and a little bit more chew.
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
1 cup gluten-free oat flour
4 tsp potato starch
2 tsps psyillum husk powder
Combine all of the flours, potato starch and psyllium husk powder in a bowl (i put it all in a giant mason jar) and give it a whisk (or a shake in the mason jar).