The usual nonsense

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More of that light side/dark side dessertyness.

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I actually made these last weekend but have been too busy/lazy/my novel is too good lately to actually get around to posting them. But they happened to be a big hit with the fam so I thought I would be nice and share them. These went well together—the super dense fudgy almond butter brownies played nicely with the lighter caramel bars—those aren’t super sweet, so it made a nice contrast.

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I’m feeling a little brain dead today so pardon the lack of text and written nonsense, I’ll just leave you with the photos and that drool that just hit your keyboard…

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Almond Butter Brownies

Super fudgy, tall brownies with a chewy crust. These are honey sweetened, and you could definitely taste the honey in my batch. I liked it, as a change from the typical brownies that I make, but if you’re not a fan of honey flavor in baked goods, I would sub maple or another liquid sweetener. Recipe only slightly adapted from Smells Like Brownies, here! Makes one 8 by 8 square pan (I had to use round since the square pan I have was currently in use, but I think there’s something weird about round brownies…). Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free!

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  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c raw, runny honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c organic almond butter (mine was unsalted)
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease pan of choice with coconut oil.

In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat together eggs, honey, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in almond butter. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir dry into wet, mixing until just combined and adding in chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake 25-30 minutes. The center should be slightly puffed, and a toothpick should come out mostly clean (a teeny bit of fudgy is okay, but excessively under baked is ew). Let cool completely before slicing, and store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Salted Caramel Coconut Bars

This one is slightly adapted from Quiche-a-week (love that blog!) here! Chewy, thick salty-caramel-chocolate-spelt-coconut things. Vegan, refined sugar free! They’re made with spelt flour, which can be easier to digest than wheat, even if you aren’t wheat intolerant (though this is *not* gluten free). Yield: 9-12 bars, in an 8 by 8 pan.

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For the caramel:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • a hefty pinch (1/4+ tsp) sea salt

For the barz:

  • 1.75 c spelt flour
  • 1/4 c almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter (preferably the separating kind)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed+6 tbsp water (2 flax eggs)
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips
  • up to 1/4 unsweetened almond milk

Make the caramel first so it has a little time to cool! In a saucepan, melt coconut oil, coconut sugar, and maple until it starts to fizz and thicken. When it starts bubbling, add the almond milk. Let it bubble for just a bit, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 3 ish minutes. Stir only occasionally, but mostly just let it sit. Once it’s thickened a little (almond milk won’t thicken too crazy much), turn off the heat, stir in the sea salt, and let it cool.

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For the barz….

Preheat the oven to 325 and grease an 8 by 8 pan with coconut oil. Make your flax eggs and then set them aside to gel.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together spelt flour, almond flour, sea salt, baking soda, and shredded coconut. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add in flax eggs, then stir the wet into the dry until just combined. You’ll need more moisture in the dough since spelt flour can be dry—I added about a 1/4 c of almond milk a tablespoon at a time until the dough was the right consistency. Fold in the chocolate chippies. Spread half the batter into your prepared pan (using your hands is encouraged), then pour half the caramel over the first layer. Add more chocolate chips to this middle layer because… just because. Spread the other layer of dough over the caramel (it’ll get messy but it’s dessert so who cares?), then pour the other half of the caramel over the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool on a rack, then slice and eat/store!

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Things.

IMG_6518Ugh sorry sorry sorry I know it’s been forever since we’ve had an invisible internet friend chat… but I’m back now with random things so you can rest easy. I know, you suuuuper missed me. Or something.

IMG_6524This is pretty much going to be one of those photo dump posts… I’ve made and eaten a lot in the last weekish and am feeling a little braindead. Back with a normal recipe post shortly…

Firstly this.

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Because…. just because. I just think it’s way too good not to share. Agreed?

Just do me a favor and don’t take this out of context… no, my family does not lollop around dressed in early Californiana-esque garments… nor do we secretly own a saloon/tavern/gambling/dancing establishment. Just no. However, we did decide we needed a new family portrait. So that happened.

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And then there was Father’s Day! Or rather, Father’s Day happened before all of the vintage photograph shenanigans but it’s family and therefore relatable so MOVING ON. Vati requested something chocolate and spicy, so I made him these!

IMG_6517Salted chocolate, cayenne and ginger ice cream sammies!!

The recipe is from The Artful Desperado, here, and I made a few changes:

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose (obvi)
  • 1/2 c avocado oil instead of canola
  • 3/4 c extra dark chocolate chips+some chunks from a 70% bar
  • 1 c brown sugar+ 1/2 c white***
  • baked for 13 minutes, yield 15 cookies+ one little baby one

***As you know, I pretty much never ever make things with refined sugar any more (some of the older recipes on the blog do though)… but as Vati specifically requested something sugary and decadent, there you go. It was Father’s Day, after all, and what he says goes.

He looooved them. They are dark and spicy and PERFECT with some good quality vanilla ice cream smashed in the middle. I only caution you if you’re not a fan of spicy things, as these are not particularly for the faint of heart. Especially if you don’t like spicy desserts. If you do, however, I can’t really recommend these enough.

They got annihilated.

IMG_0650Dinner was this spectacular steelhead with potatoes and bacon and red wine sauce. Gastro heaven, thank you Farallon.

IMG_0644Reason number one why I love summer [actually might be one of the only reasons since I hate being hot so much, but regardless]:

SO. MUCH. FRUIT. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

IMG_0677And also chocolate. Because… chocolate.

IMG_0683Oh oh oh!! One last random. HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE [quite possibly the best ice cream ever] opened a shop in the Ferry Building, which means it’s only a short hop away on the Oakland-SF ferry. Winninggggggg. E and I literally ate our way into an ice cream coma last week. Secret Breakfast [bourbon cornflake]+banana beach blanket [with peanuts!!!]+bourbon caramel for me; sea salted chocolate+vanilla honey+bourbon caramel+frosted almonds for him. All hail the ice cream mecca!

IMG_0660And now  I need a nap.

 

Do I even need a reason??

 

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Mo’ chocolate.

Because.. why?

Wait. Do I really have to answer that question?! Because… chocolate! End of story.

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Besides, I actually made these cookies over a week ago but I’ve just been too busy and then Easter happened and there was that fabulously drippy hippie cake and stuff… and these cookies kind of languished in my camera for a little bit but they were SO FREAKING GOOD that I knew I would share them eventually. So don’t worry. I promise not to hold out on you too much longer.

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In other news… IT’S RAINING! Wheeeee!!! Which means I really want to bake something (because rainy weather=baking, everyone knows that), but as per usual I made a small batch of cookies last night because I was seriously (my autocorrect tried to change that to serially, also true) jonesing and I neededcookiesnow. So I made this awesome batch of vegan peanut butter-coconut-chocolate chippies, and they disappeared by 9:30 pm. I made them at 4:30. Ha. I did have quite a bit of help though, as prodigious as my stomach capacities are, I think that would have stumped even me.

But anyway, I really like cookies, can you tell?

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Also. I float in a hydrotherapy/sensory deprivation tank several times a week and even though I shower off really thoroughly afterwards, I always end up with epsom salts in my ear crannies the next day. I think it gets into my brain and then somehow works its way back out. I’m not really complaining, a good solid brain salting can’t be a bad thing now and then…

Soooo yeah. I’m endearingly random and salty but these cookies are ridiculously delicious—I highly suggest a cookie Friday incident. And if you make them, bring me one?! I’ve seem to have eaten all of mine…

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Grain-Free Chocolate Pecan Cookies

These are a little sweeter than the cookies I usually make for everyday consumption, but they are SO DELICIOUS. Fudgy, chocoaltey, pecantastic and they just happen to be gluten free, grain free, and vegan. AND refined sugar free! Winner winner. I adapted the recipe only slightly from The Healthy Family and Home, here! Yield: 22 cookies.

  • 1 c organic almond butter (mine was creamy unsalted)
  • heaping 1/3 c coconut sugar
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c roughly chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp ground flax+6 tbsp water (2 flax eggs)

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

These are cookies, peeps: this doesn’t get any easier!

In a small bowl, stir together flax seeds and water. Let sit while you do everything else: in a large bowl and using your biceps, stir together almond butter, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips and pecans. Toss in flax eggs. Drop by the rounded spoonful onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely. These are a little soft when cooling, so I just moved the whole parchment paper over and let them keep cooling completely on the rack. Store in the fridge, if they last long enough! Mine barely did…

Blah blah cookies blah blah blah

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Disclaimer: I actually made these forever ago and was holding out on you.

No, not really forever… just last week and I’ve been busy busy so sorry sorry but here they are. And also I have this really fab lunch I’m currently eating and will share that next. I’m just SO nice, aren’t I?! Actually kind of wishing I had some of that lunch left, because sadly it’s gone and it was delicious and chickpeas are my new favorite thing! Not really new.. at all… but in this combination they’re amazing and delicious and why are they gone??

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Also, my cats are adorable. Their adorableness never ceases to amaze me, which is why I apparently have so many cat photos. Here’s one more just because it’s my blog so if I can show you cats if I want to! Muahaha.

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ANYway. Cookies.

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These are pumpkin! Kind of like pumpkin pie consistency when they’ve hung out in the fridge for a bit. Happily nutritious too, since they’re grain free, gluten free, and vegan. AND refined sugar free! Wheee! If you like them with a slightly crunchier top, I recommend eating them after they’ve cooled slightly; otherwise, store them in the fridge for a soft, dense consistency. They’re delicious either way though, so do yourself a favor ;)

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Grain Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe gratefully borrowed and only a teeny bit adapted from cHow Divine, here! Yield: 14. Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, vegan. High in antioxidants, healthy fats, and beta carotene.

  • 2.5 c almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I make my own)
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water)
  • 1/4 c grade B organic maple syrup
  • 1/2 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (I used refined), melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

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Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flaxseed and water and let that sit aside to gelatinize whilst you’re doing everything else..

In a smallish bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda, pie spice, and sea salt. In a larger bowl, (using a mixer or your incredibly large biceps—I opted for biceps since I was too lazy to wash the mixer) beat together maple syrup, pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Add dry into wet ingredients, toss in flax egg, and stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by the tablespoon-sized ball on the prepared cookie sheet, and flatten slightly (they won’t flatten as they bake). Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden and mostly firm to the touch. Let cool on the baking sheet, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely (they’re a little delicate, be careful!).

I store my leftovers in the fridge–the texture gets a teeny bit softer but I think more delicious.

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Of course avocado belongs in cookies. What did you think?!

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AVO!

Obviously it belongs in cookies. I mean… I put spinach in oatmeal and tons of other places where normal people usually don’t (but what’s the fun in being normal, I ask you?). So clearly avocado in cookies was a logical next step for the girl who is borderline obsessed with green things.

Wait.

Maybe not even borderline obsessed. Let’s just go with obsessed? Good, I’m glad we got that one settled.

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Anyway. Happy Thursday-Almost-Friday! I have virtual cookies for your inbox, hooray! (Unless you are, of course, one of the lucky few who might be a recipient of these cookies… see what happens when you’re nice to me? I feed you!!). And not just any cookies, oh no. I would never ever just give you ordinary cookies, that goes against my principles.

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These little guys are nutrient-dense powerhouses, ready to smack down your afternoon slump. What slump? Not when you have these. Chewy and a little crunchy from the buckwheat groats, full of healthy fats (almond flour and avocado) and complex carbs (buckwheat groats and oats). Apparently buckwheat contains all eight amino acids! Bonus. And besides that, it’s an excellent source of manganese, copper, magnesium, and fiber. So that means I can eat these for dinner, right?? I mean, they have the requisite green things in them that apparently ALL of my food has to have…

Ps. How is it already February?? Can someone answer that? I’ll give you a cookie…

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Avo Chocolate Chippie Cookies!

Yield: 17 smallish cookies. Gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free (with appropriate dairy free chippies). Recipe only slightly adapted from Imma Eat That, here! Oh. And these took me about 15 minutes start to finish, so you have no excuses to not make them!

Rustle up:

  • 1/3 c raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/3 c mashed ripe avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda+1/2 tsp warm water
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp raw buckwheat groats

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Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

This part couldn’t be simpler. Muscle out your food processor (assuming it weighs a metric ton like mine), toss in 1/3 c buckwheat groats, almond flour, oats, flaxseed, salt, and coconut sugar. Whiz together until every thing is mostly finely ground. Pour all this goodness out into a large bowl and set aside. In a separate smaller bowl, vigorously whisk together the mashed avocado and egg until the whole thing is homogenous with only a few chunks. Whisk in vanilla. Combine baking soda and warm water in a small bowl, and once dissolved, whisk it into the avo-egg bowl. Pour liquid into dry, add chocolate chips and remaining buckwheat groats, and stir to combine.

Roll the dough into roughly ball-like shapes and pat them down flattish on the cookie sheet (they won’t really spread). Bake for 8-9 minutes, until the tops are just firm to the touch. Cool for a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack for immediate consumption…

I found I liked these cold, and have been storing them in the fridge. I would assume they keep better longer in the fridge anyway, but I doubt mine will last that long with all the vultures around here!

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Milk is most definitely a good choice

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So… I went to the movies on Thursday night.

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Which lead me to the realization that I basically carry my entire life in my purse on a regular basis. Purse doesn’t really cut it. Let’s try… BAG. Lip balm? Check. Wallet? Yes. Phone? Obviously. Keys. Gloves. Pen. Gum. Tea bags. Novel (clearly. What if I have a spare five minutes or something?! Better to read than to stare at a screen). Water bottle? Helloooo. And cookies. Duh. Who DOESN’T carry a tupperware of cookies in their purse?

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Besides, movie snacks are horrendously expensive and full of junk. I would rather make my own and save twenty bucks, you know? I’ve even been known to sneak in a sandwich. It was a lunchtime movie!! I was going to be hungry! And hungry=impatience and very little focus. I’m not paying over ten dollars to be hungry and distracted. And it’s way more fun to whip out your smuggled in snacks and watch the looks of jealousy from your neighbors than to eat the theater crap (Except for maybe the occasional popcorn, I might make an exception for that, but only if I have snacks with me to combat the saltiness).

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So anyway. My life comes with me on my shoulder on a regular basis and may even include cookies. Those lucky souls escorting me to the theater are no doubt grateful for this, unless they get asked to hold my bag…

Bicep workout, anyone?

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Almond Coconut Cookies

This recipe is only a teeny bit adapted from Making Thyme for Health, here! These are gluten free and dairy free, AND free of refined sugar! And possibly paleo? Though I’m not gluten free, I’m always looking for ways to switch up my snackies and desserty type things, and these totally fit the bill. Delicious, satisfying, and quick to come together. Besides all that, they’re full  of nutrients, which is how I like all of  my food to be. None of those empty calories for me, thanks!

I found that the coconut flavor is much more pronounced than the almond; if you’re really going for almond, I’m sure a splash of almond extract would be delicious.
Yield: 16 cookies

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Rustle up the following:

  • 3/4 c almond flour/almond meal
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c almond butter (mine was salted, I like the extra bit of saltiness)
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c raw honey
  • 1 whole egg+1 yolk
  • 3/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together almond meal, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, honey, egg and egg yolk. Keep whisking vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture is smooth and combined (alternatively, you could use a mixer but eehhhhhh I didn’t want to do extra dishes…). Stir in shredded coconut. Toss wet into dry, and stir slowly until combined (trying not to fling flour everywhere, no I obviously don’t speak from experience, what makes you say that?!). Stir in chocolate chips—the dough should be very thick. Refrigerate the dough for at least a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Once dough is chilled, roll it into tablespoon sized balls and flatten them slightly onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for just about 10 minutes, until golden. Let cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then remove to a cooling rack! And don’t do this, unless you want cookies that have… character:

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Oops!

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The smashed ones were definitely my favorites…

I think you’ll find I’ve had a browniepiphany

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So you know how I’m always whining about how I’m soooo picky with brownies and that I never make them and blah blah blah?!

Yes, well…

I think that might have changed.

THESE.

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Gaahhhh… I can’t even.

Crackly crust. Fudgy, dense interior… IN. A. SKILLET. With ice cream. And date caramel. And two spoons.

Be jealous, it’s okay.

And yeah. They were so good I didn’t even really get proper pictures, but that should tell you just how good they really were. I think they might actually be too good for their own good…

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Everything I want in a brownie and then some. AND double bonus, they’re gluten free and dairy free! Not that I’m either (um, hello BUTTER) (and bread. obvs) but for all my little pallies out there who don’t do the gluten and dairy thing, these are for you. Because I love you and I want you to have fabulous brownies.

Time for second breakfast. I ate oatmeal for the first round, so obviously brownies make a logical second choice? Yes, I thought so too.

tis the season!
tis the season!

The Best Brownies

Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Recipe adapted from Recreating Happiness, here! I made a 1/2 batch for a 5″ cast iron skillet, so I’ll post those measurements here. Double for a larger skillet, or an 8 by 8 pan. I highly recommend making them in cast iron, because eating them out of a warm skillet is magical.

  • 1.5 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 oz dark chocolate (I used 72%)
  • 1/2 c extra dark chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips (Guittard)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease pan of choice (I used a 5″ cast iron skillet and coconut oil).

In a microwave safe bowl, melt coconut oil, dark chocolate, and 1/2 c extra dark chocolate chips until completely melted. Set aside to cool slightly. In a small bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside to hang out with the cooling chocolate.

In yet another bowl, whisk together coconut sugar and melted chocolate until combined. Whisk in egg—longer whisking creates the crackly crust! (who knew). Whisk in vanilla, then stir in the contents of the almond flour bowl and the chocolate chips. Pour/spread batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top is set. Make sure not to over bake! No one likes dry brownies… I checked mine at 17 minutes, and then let them bake for another 4ish minutes. Mine were fairly thin, so test according to thickness and how hot your oven runs.
Let cool… or not.

Eat out of the skillet, preferably with ice cream and some date caramel… and someone else. Sharing is caring ;)

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