Gooey delicious. Thank me later.

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Brownieeeeessss!!!!

These are as different as can be from the sweet potato brownies I posted not too long ago—if you like fudgy, dense deliciousness, these are for you. Prepare to have your tastebuds assaulted (in a really good way, obviously).

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I happen to be writing to you from my little vacation in Oregon! I’m currently very much enjoying some drizzly, wet weather (thanks for the welcome back, Oregon, it wouldn’t feel quite right if I wasn’t slightly damp) and taking a break from my horrifically boring online bio class. Snooooze. On the plus side, I will be doing nothing much besides eating for the next week. ALL the food… ALL the time. It’s too bad I couldn’t rent an extra stomach or something to go on vacation, you know? Someone should come up with that.

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Anyway. Pumpkin brownies. It’s fall, therefore there is absolutely NO excuse necessary to put pumpkin in EVERYTHING.

Like these.

Mmm.

Complete with gooey, delicious frosting.

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AND…..

Even better… these are good for you (or at least less bad than usual, and nutrient dense)!! Refined sugar free, grain free, and full of antioxidants (hello, super dark chocolate and pumpkin, I’m looking at you). They even have a bit of protein from the almond butter, so really, what more could you ask for?

Find some rainy weather, pop these babies in the oven, and eat them with company. Life is always a little better with a brownie, don’t you think?

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Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

Recipe only slightly adapted from Specialty Cake Creations, here! Makes one 8 or 9″ pan, or anywhere from 9-16 brownies, depending on how hungry you are… Refined sugar free, gluten free, grain free, and dairy free!

Brownies:

  • 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 100% unsweetened)
  • 1.5 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 c raw, unrefined honey
  • 3/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Frosting:

  • 1/8 c unsalted almond butter
  • 5-6 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375, and line an 8 by 8 or 9 by 9 pan with parchment paper. I used a 9″ pan and they were fine, just a little thinner.

Melt chocolate, coconut oil, and honey together in a mediumish bowl (on the stove if you’re slightly less lazy than me, I used the microwave…). Stir until combined. Whisk in pumpkin puree and egg. In another smaller bowl, stir together almond flour and cinnamon, then toss that into the melted deliciousness of chocolate and pumpkin. Stir together until just combined.

Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan, smoothing the top just a bit. Bake for just about 30 minutes (a tester should come out clean), then let cool before frosting.

In a small bowl, whisk together almond butter, pumpkin, pie spice, and maple. Adjust for taste!

Spread that goodness on your cooled brownies, and then find someone to share them with. Brownies are definitely better with company :)

[These keep best in the fridge!]

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Mondays are better with brownies, obviously

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Hiya!

Happy Monday! Because I knoooow these are going to make your Monday that. much. better.

They’re BROWNIES.

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Of COURSE they’ll make your otherwise slightly blah Monday better. Especially when I tell you that they are a) full of health bennies just for you and b) defs allergy friendly. And… as I said…

They’re BROWNIES!

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When have brownies in your inbox *not* made your Monday better? Right. I rest my case.

Have I ever shared my weird brownie proclivities on here? I’m not sure that I have so just in case you were dying to know…

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I’m weird. I like (no. Maybe love) brownies, but… I NEVER eat them. Nor do I ever make them. For some reason, I am never satisfied with the brownies that my kitchen produces. Why? Not crackly enough on the crust. Not chewy enough on the edges or fudgy chewy in the center. Whatever the reason, I am never quite sold on my own brownies, so they kind of get relegated to the bottom of the recipe pile. Which means that I only really eat brownies once a year… at camp.

Guys. These brownies are like CRACK. They are so ridiculously amazing, I can’t stop at one which means that I usually eat them all week long, multiple times a day (it’s a good thing the camp is at 8000 feet elevation…). I have a problem. But also. Those are, strangely enough, made from a mix!! I’m mildly ashamed to admit it (given that EVERYTHING on this blog is from scratch, and I never use mixes when I cook), but there it is. Favorite brownies come from a mix and are made in gigantic sheet pans in the temperamental Two Sentinels ovens that don’t heat evenly. But they’re fantastic. And they’re full of love, which is probably why I adore them so much.

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However. I broke my once-a-year brownie trend for these, mostly because they looked so tasty in the photos and they’re good for me. Ish. Obvs still a treat but whateverrrrrr, happy belated to me and vaccuum vati!

I’m not paleo. I like beans. But I also like a good cooking challenge and I have quite a few paleo friends, so here you go. Paleo brownies in yo’ inbox.

Happy Monday! Sorry I’m not sorry y’all want brownies now, heeheehee!

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Jackson Pollock-style brownies are WAY more fun…

Sweet Potato Brownies

Not quite cakey, not quite fudgy (which is good since a brownie somewhere between is my favorite), totally good for you and easy to whip together. High in Vitamin A/Beta Carotene, good fats, antioxidants, fiber, gluten free and refined sugar free. Recipe adapted from Eat Drink Paleo, here! Makes 9 large or 12 small squares.

  • 1 sweet potato (I used orange), grated in the larger holes on a box grater
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c pure avocado oil*
  • 1/2 c maple syrup**
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5-2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2-3 biggish squares of dark chocolate, melted (I used 75%), for topping
  • dairy or nondairy ice cream thing to make sundaes (you know you want to)

*I use avocado oil or coconut for anything above 300 or 325—-they have a higher smoke point. Mine is organic.
**I always use 100% pure organic grade B maple syrup.

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Preheat the oven to 365, and line a 9 by 9″ pan with parchment paper for easy removal.

Get a bicep workout by grating the sweet potato. Toss grated bits into a medium sized bowl, then add in eggs, vanilla, avo oil, and maple. Stir in baking powder and soda, then cocoa powder (try to smash out any major lumps, but it doesn’t have to be perfect). Lastly… stir in coconut flour (avoid using too much, it will make the brownies dry and gritty)—start with 1 tbsp and work from there. I ended up using the full 2 tbsp, but I think I could have reduced it to 1.5. The batter should be thickish. Spread it into the prepared pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes. I took mine out at 25—a tester came out clean and the top was still a bit soft when pressed.

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then lift the parchment out onto a cooling rack to let them cool completely.

Once cool, “frost” with melted dark chocolate and shredded coconut. It’s a really excellent idea to make these into sundaes… juuust sayin’!

Store them in the fridge in the foil covered pan if you have any left over!

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Throwback Thursday and the Lentil Life

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AND THEN. I made lentil bars! Because… well, why not?! And then I sort of became the lentil bar fairy and handed out several at work, one of which went to this particular friend who *claims* that she doesn’t like lentils. Uh-huh. Just wait.

Said friend ate lentil bar.

One day later…

Friend commissions an entire batch of lentil bars for eating purposes!!

VICTORY OF THE LENTILS! Muahhahah.

And guess what? I have a new nickname!

I’ll give you one guess…

Lentil!!!

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Naturally. The now lentil-converted friend decided I was henceforth to be dubbed Lentil (always said with some sort of accent, of course), mostly because we have a running joke that she brings meat and I bring rabbit food for lunch…and then when I bring beef it’s like.. WOAH. So yeah. A very apropos nickname, I would say ;)

And one more for your viewing pleasure… Throwback Thursday! I was six. Things haven’t changed much…

HMS 1996

Lentil Bars

Recipe slightly adapted from She Bakes Here! I’ve made this twice—once as a single recipe, once doubled. I used green lentils once and red lentils once, and I think I prefer red, though you can use either. If using green, make sure you cook them just a little bit longer so they’re easily mushable (technical term). I reduced the sweetener a little so these aren’t overly sweet, but perfect for a mid morning or on the go snack. They were a big hit with the work peeps!

As posted, the recipe makes a single batch in an 8 by 8 pan (I used a circular pie dish).

Vegan, refined sugar free.

  • 1/2 c red lentils
  • 1 c water
  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/3-1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes until very soft. Drain, if needed. Mash lentils a bit with a fork (though they should be pretty much like puree already), and set aside in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 300, and line your baking pan of choice with parchment paper.

Using the same bowl the lentils are hangin’ out in, add oats, whole wheat flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, salt, almond butter, and maple syrup. Toss in chocolate chips and stir to combine (seriously, could this be any easier?). Once incorporated, spread the dough into your prepared pan—I found it easiest to use my fingers to spread it out, as it’s really thick. Get it mostly even and then pop it into the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the oats on top are slightly crispy.

Let it sit in the pan for a few, then pull the whole thing out by grabbing the parchment. Let cool completely on a rack before slicing! These keep well in tupperware at room temp for a few days.

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Whoops-a-FAIL and Bailey’s for breakfast

EPIC. FAIL.

Who forgets the SUGAR when making brownies?! I mean, really. SUGAR. Psshhh.

Well, that would be me, apparently.

Whoops.

Not entirely sure where my head was the evening I was making these: perhaps screwed on a wee bit backwards? I realized what had happened (or rather, NOT happened) when the so-called “brownies” were about halfway done in the oven. Out of slight curiosity (and irritation: wasting food, especially baking materials, is like a cardinal sin in my book), I decided to let them finish baking and then taste them. Fully prepared to hate them, I whipped up another batch so that brownies could be had for Mutti’s reunion… and then took the *ahem* REJECTS out of the oven to cool before I attempted to taste them.

mmm

But wait.

Time for the bombshell. You’d think completely sugar-less brownies would be nasty, right?! But… they’re NOT! They turned out like some kind of brownie-bread, or at least that’s what Vati and I thought. So rather than throw them out, we decided to hang on to them for breakfast and dessert purposes. Waste not, want not! Besides, then you can have GUILT-FREE BAILEY’S for breakfast!! If that isn’t awesome, I’m not sure what is. The brownies themselves (properly made) actually aren’t too bad for you—they originally come from a Cooking Light recipe. QED, brownies minus sugar = healthy breakfast. Ha. Winning.

Do yourself a favor: make them, sans sugar. Top them with mascarpone cheese and blueberry jam and cinnamon… and eat them for breakfast.

Epic fail? Absolutely not.

Remind you of anything? Mayan calendar, perhaps??

Bailey’s Brownies

For REAL brownies, use sugar. Obvs. Please don’t leave it out. They’re wonderful brownies: hydrated and fudgy interior, chewy exterior and a crackly top. Perfection. For “brownie bread” (excellent for breakfast and all-purpose snacking), omit sugar and pretend you did it on purpose.

Recipe gratefully borrowed (and slightly adapted) from Gimme Some Oven, here! Makes an 8 by 8 pan of brownies.

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • my-cup-runneth-over 1/3 c chocolate chippies
  • 1/4 c butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 c (slightly overflowing, hehe) Bailey’s Irish cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
breakfast is served..

Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8 by8 pan with foil (this makes for ridiculously easy removal).

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips together, using bursts of about 30 seconds. Let cool. Once cooled, whisk in eggs vigorously for a few seconds. Once incorporated, whisk in sugar, Bailey’s, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing out the top a bit.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a tester comes out with a few moist crumbs (don’t overbake, unless you like brownie bricks! I don’t exactly recommend this). Let cool in the pan for a bit, then lift the foil onto a cooling rack to completely cool.

stack o’ rejects

For when it’s too hot to wear clothes, much less bake…

mmm, frosty goodness

Ew.

It’s been one of those weeks where you get up and think… do I really have to put clothes on today? Dis.Gust.Ing. Too hot to live, let alone bake. I really am a pacific northwesterner in this regard: hot weather makes me nutty. Today I sort of decided to stick it to the weather and go take a hot yoga class, since I’d been sweating all day anyway. Surprisingly, it was a great idea: maybe there is something to that ayurvedic  idea of eating hot foods on a hot day? Huh. Anyway. After said hot yoga class, all I wanted was a dunk in cold water and one of these.

yum.

Yes.

No bake, for the WIN.

The solution for when it’s too hot to do much of anything and turning on the oven (or really even the stove, let’s be real here) turns into a capital offense. I had grilled cheese for dinner last night (although I did go gourmet with some sauteed veggies, ha) since I was so unmotivated to do much of anything except watch other people (i.e. Olympians) be ridiculously fit. Whatever, I made up for it with my yoga today, so there. And with these bars. These are FAB. And healthy, which is a bonus considering most no-bake items seem to involve some form of strange food product like cool-whip. Let’s not go there, shall we? Back to these:

cooooconut

Mmmm. Banana coconut bars on a nutty date crust. Naturally sweet and so frostily delicious. Bonus points for being gluten free and vegan, as well as refined sugar free. You also get a healthy dose of magnesium from the cashews, calcium from the almond butter, healthy medium-chain fatty acids from the coconut, and potassium from the banana. See? It’s like a complete summer meal in a bar (welllll…sort of). Wheee! Squat and gobble to your heart’s content, I won’t tell… even if you do it in a sports bra and running shorts because, like I said, it’s too hot to live or bother to look decent. Or to blog… this is all I got today!

drippy. LOVE.

Vegan Banana-Coconut Bars

I slightly adapted these from the DAMY health blog, here! These are frosty and best when straight out of the freezer. Easy to make, they come together in a snap and set up decently quickly, satisfying all kinds of crazy summer cravings (Besides, they’re healthy to boot!)

Poke around and scrounge up the following:

For the crust:

  • 1/2 c raw cashews
  • scant 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 c pitted dates, chopped into smallish pieces
  • a tbsp or two of water, if the crust needs a little help to come together

For the topping:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • scant 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut+ some for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 c organic almond butter
  • 1/4 c light coconut milk
look! another one materialized!

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together cashews, coconut, and date pieces until the dough comes together, with pieces of nuts intact. Add a tablespoon or two of water if it needs a little help. Spread this mixture in the bottom of a lightly greased pan (mine was 9″ square, making thinnish bars), flattening it out as you go. In your food processor once again, blend the topping ingredients, scraping down the sides occasionally, until smooth. Pour the topping on top of your crust, and use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Top with some reserved coconut, and cover with plastic wrap or foil (bonus points for foil, it’s recyclable!). Let set for at least 2ish hours before slicing (it should be firm). Store in the freezer!

Love tasty food. Eat. Feel magically cooler… ohmmmm.

eeeeeatmeeeee
one of the nicer parts of warm weather: these are all from my back yard!

Shut the door, have a seat (and a brownie)

the Roger Stirling of the brownie world

Whilst watching Mad Men tonight, I came to a rather giggle-inducing revelation:

Apparently I never make brownies without spiking them…?!

I’m like the Roger Stirling of the brownie world.

so much yummy.

I mean really. It’s like Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce take over when I decide to make them. Am I satisfied with a normal, dense chocolatey brownie? Obviously not. Brownies are sooo much better when they have Bailey’s in them. Or Guinness. But really, at least if you indulge in these at lunchtime, you won’t be sloshed by the time you get back to work (*AHEM* Roger Stirling). That being said, I do love my Mad Men. And my Draper-style brownies. Dark. Mysterious. Imbibed. Heehehe. Besides, I’m graduating in a week and it’s finals for all those other underclassmen mortals. Pshhh, what else am I going to do besides bake and watch Mad Men?! I can think of so many other less appealing options (like studying. Post thesis… what is this studying you speak of?!).

you see what I did there?! Cleverly, with the slicer?!

But you see, I almost NEVER make brownies for myself. I might bake them for a friend or for a function or something, but usually I eat about half of one and max out. I’d much rather have a cookie or a huuuge slice of cake. Also because I rarely make a brownie recipe that I’m truly satisfied with. BUT. THEN. I watched some Mad Men and made these. And was INSPIRED. Because of course when you think of Mad Men, you think of alcohol, right?!
Soooo, what better to put into Nutella brownies than Bailey’s?! That’s like a match made in culinary heaven. Or at least that’s what Kira and I decided, so in it went. And ohhh, am I glad it did. These are perfect brownies: chewy on the edges, fudgey dense in the middle, and subtly flavored with Irish cream and hazelnut. Mmmm. AND they have that perfectly crackly top. Win win win, all around.

Just like SCDP at the CLEO awards, ha.

Come in, shut the door and have a seat. And maybe an infused brownie to chase your mid-morning cocktail…

mmm

Irish Cream-Nutella Brownies

Adapted from Alaska From Scratch, here!

Procure:

  • 1/3 c butter, softened (we used salted)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • heaping 1/2 c Nutella spread
  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c Bailey’s (more, if you’re feeling particularly frisky)
//

Couldn’t be simpler, just like Don Draper whipping out a creative ad campaign: Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan. In a largeish bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Mix in Nutella. Add flour and salt and stir until just combined, then toss in Bailey’s and stir until just mixed (don’t overstir, pretty please). Spatulaize the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for just about 25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Err on the side of slightly underdone though, as they will continue to cook in the pan and dry brownies are ickyyy! Let cool for about 10ish minutes, or however long you can resist them… then cut and devour. With more Bailey’s on the side, naturally ;)

flying brownie?

Lunch of Champions

Lunch of champions.

Guinness brownies.

Need I say more?

Nah, not really. Except that I’m going to,  because these aren’t your average chocolate-stout cake/brownie… oh no. Within these babies lurks a whopping dose of antioxidants and dietary fiber like no one’s business. Which is probably why Vaccuum Vati (for whom these were made in the first place, as he luuurvs Guinness and chocolate) ate two for lunch. With the remainder of the Guinness. Lunch of champions, most definitely. You know why? Because these brownies are made with whole wheat flour and black beans! Yeeeahh. Black beans provide an unbeatable protein-fiber combo, which supports digestive health, blood sugar regulation, and cardiovascular health. Beans, beans they’re good for your heart…! Ha. Besides that, beans AND cocoa powder have tons of antioxidants and phyto-nutrients, which translates to the prevention of several cancer types, as well as a myriad of other health bonuses. YAYAY for beans! Especially when they’re disguised as dessert.

I for one LOVE beans straight out of the can (though definitely not with crumbled up power-bar thrown in there, like my chiropractor… oh Rob, what are we going to do with you?!), but these brownies are another beast entirely. They totally grew on me: straight out of the pan, I wasn’t a super fan, but after they cooled off, I found myself going back multiple times to “trim” the uneven pieces and swipe little crumbs that fell off when I was photographing. Definitely worth it. For lack of instant coffee powder, I used finely ground espresso, which might account for the stronger coffee flavor, but it pairs well with the Guinness and chocolate. And these probably have the BEST consistency of any black bean brownies I’ve tried: perfectly gooey in the center with slightly chewy edges. Deeelicious. Not super sweet, but just perfect (and this is coming from Vati, who swears by death-by-dessert sweets). A win all around, especially since you can fool your brain into thinking you’re eating a fully-fatted dessert ;) Besides all that, these are cholesterol-friendly, with no eggs, butter, or oil.

mmm.

Guinness Black Bean Brownies

I made a half batch, since these are mostly for Vati, but it still made a large-ish batch. I’ll give the half size measurements here, for an 9 by 9 square cake pan. Recipe with thanks from Farm Girl Gourmet, here!

Procure:

  • 7.5 oz black beans (1/2 a can), drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c sugar*
  • 1/2 + 1/8 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp finely ground espresso (or instant coffee, if you have it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c stout beer (I used Guinness, what else?!)
  • 1/2ish c chocolate chippies

*More sugar than I would normal use in a recipe, but it’s necessary to balance the Guinness and the coffee flavor, and these still aren’t too sweet. If you want a sweeter brownie, feel free to add sugar to taste.

You'd never guess there were beans in these, would you?

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 9 by 9 cake pan (If you double it, use a 9 by 13).

Drain and rinse the black beans, and then put half of them back into the can. Fill it with fresh water, just to the top of the beans. Toss all this into a blender or small food processor, and puree. Set aside in a smallish bowl.

In a larger bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, coffee/espresso, salt, and baking powder. In the smaller bowl, combine bean puree, vanilla, and beer. Toss this into the dry ingredients along with the chocolate chippies, and stir until just combined (try not to over stir). Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes. I took mine out at 24, and they were perfectly gooey (but I don’t like SUPER gooey brownies, so bake according to preference: 20 for goop, 24 for gooey with chewy edges. Whatever you do, pleeeease DO NOT overbake them. There is nothing worse than dry brownies! Ew.) I recommend letting these cool completely before eating: the flavors develop and become just that much better :)

hello there, up close and personal brownie...