Today’s post comes from Ricki Heller, of Diet, Dessert, and Dogs. She’s another dear friend of mine. We share more than just a love of healthier food – we both love animals (dogs in particular!), are both teachers (ok, she still teaches; I quit…), and are both passionate about helping others transform their lives. Ricki has the biggest, most loving heart of anyone I know. If you’re not a regular reader of Diet, Dessert, and Dogs you really should be.
When it comes to sweet treats, brownies are a classic with universal appeal. I mean, how many of us would turn down one of these chocolatey, chewy, dense and fudgy confections? Now that I’m following a gluten free, sugar-free, low glycemic diet, I often do fall into that “No, thanks, I think I’ll pass on the brownies” category when someone else offers them (often with a heavy sigh, of course).
After following an anti-candida diet for more than three years now, I’ve reproduced innumerable favorite desserts in a lower-glycemic, gluten-free and sugar-free form, all without losing the appeal or sweet satisfaction of the original recipe. I’ve discovered that there really is no dessert too difficult to recreate in a healthier way. In fact, today’s brownies take the transformation a step further, eliminating all flour entirely from the recipe—they are also grain-free!
What you’ll want to know most about these brownies isn’t that they’re sugar-free, or that they’re filled with heart-healthy almonds, or that they contain one of the best sources of Omega 3 fats around (hemp seeds). No, what you’ll want to know is that they taste every bit as decadent and delicious as “regular” brownies—and that they’re ridiculously easy to make (simply throw everything in your food processor, then scoop and bake). They also work beautifully as a take-along snack, school lunch dessert, or after work treat.
And since these bites are actually good for you, you won’t have to bypass your own brownie tray next time. Just don’t wait too long to try one—or you may find they’re all gone before you have your sample. After all, everyone loves a classic.
Serves: 9 brownies
- ¼ cup (60 ml) coconut sugar
- 30-35 drops liquid vanilla stevia, to your taste
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) water
- 2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp (20 ml) olive or nut oil (I used macadamia nut; walnut oil would be great in these, too)
- 1 cup (160 g) raw natural almonds, with skin
- ¼ heaping cup (30 g) hemp seeds
- 2 heaping Tbsp (15 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp (1 ml) baking soda
- ¼ tsp (1 ml) baking powder
- ¼ tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line 9 mini muffin cups with mini paper liners. If you can't find or don't have the liners, spray nine compartments of a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray or grease with coconut oil, then dust with cocoa. Tap out any excess cocoa by inverting the pan and tapping on the bottom of each compartment; place upright and set aside.
- In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the coconut sugar, vanilla, water and oil and stir to begin dissolving the sugar. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, whir together the remaining ingredients until you have what looks like a powder (there should be no pieces of almond or hemp seed visible--this may take a few minutes). Add the wet ingredients and blend for a second or two, just until combined. Scrape the sides of the processor bowl if necessary. The batter will be thick and sticky.
- Using a small scoop or tablespoon, divide the evenly among the the muffin cups; they will be very full. Bake in preheated oven 15-18 minutes, until a tester comes out barely clean (it's okay if it still has a few moist crumbs clinging to it). Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before consuming. Makes nine two-bite brownies. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. May be frozen.
Ricki Heller is the author of Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar (one of only three cookbooks endorsed by Ellen DeGeneres on her website) as well as three e-cookbooks. She writes the popular food blog Diet, Dessert and Dogs, where, for the past three years, she has chronicled her journey with candida and posted almost 600 sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, whole-foods recipes.