Sunday, November 10, 2013

Really. Good. Brownies.

For those of us on restricted diets, recipe suspicion is a common phenomenon. What does that mean, exactly? Well there are a lot of recipes out there that make big promises: "perfect," "gooey," "tastes like it contains gluten!" As a former everything-eater believe me, I have tried them ALL. Some of them have been close -the first bite was heavenly, and then the grainy rice-flour taste kicked in.  Eventually, you fight through the denseness and the crumblies and stop trying to replace the old flavors, and learn to embrace the new ones. Nothing will ever taste like your mom's chocolate chip cookies. But that's ok, because there are other delicious flavors and textures out there.

But once you get over that hurdle, it's still not over. Some of those new recipes still call for ingredients you can't eat. Like potato starch, almond meal, corn starch -of course you can substitute, but sometimes you just want to sit down and bake something without furiously checking your pantry for substitutes and racking your brain for equations.

Sometimes you want something simple. And sweet. Something that just perfectly satisfies that bit of you that longs for moist chocolatey crumbs that don't have a bitter quinoa aftertaste.

Enter these brownies:

They're dark. Moist. Complexly flavored. Utterly, shockingly, amazingly, perfect. They're a nut and gluten free, paleo brownie that keeps you coming back, not just wolfing down your portion to avoid insulting the cook.

They're something I can endorse. And something you should endorse too.   

Really. Good. Brownies.
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut butter (I used homemade, unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup mild honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used homemade)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 45g coconut flour (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, finely grated
  • 100g dark chocolate roughly chopped

How To:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 175 degrees Celsius). Line an 8x11 pan with parchment paper. 
  2. If you're going to use homemade hazelnut butter, now is the time to make it (stay tuned for a post on homemade nut butter -I could sing its praises from the rooftops. Forever.). Take 400g whole hazelnuts (about 3 1/3 cups) and roast them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 175 degrees Celsius) for 5-8 minutes, or until they smell toasty and delicious. Let them cool enough to handle. Skin them, because the skins are bitter. You can do this by rubbing them between your hands, the skins should slip right off. Puree them in your blender until they turn creamy and buttery. It may take a while, but it WILL happen. Don't worry!
  3. Once you've made your hazelnut butter, add it, the applesauce, the honey, and the egg to a mixing bowl. Cream until smooth. Add the grated zucchini, the cocoa powder, the coconut flour, the baking soda, and the salt. Mix until well combined. Add about half of your chocolate, and gently fold in. Spread batter into your lined pan.
  4. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tooth pick inserted into middle comes out mostly clean.
  5. Cool brownies completely and cut into 20 squares. They'll be slightly crumbly, and look fairly strange. But they will be delicious.


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