I don’t know what it is, but every spring/summer when picnic season comes upon us I get a craving for brownies. I think it comes from a happy memory of my family having a picnic during Easter vacation at Lake Mead back in the mid 1980s. We topped off the lunch with the most delicious brownies that my aunt brought. Of course, they were chock-full of white sugar and probably hydrogenated oil, so I haven’t hunted down the recipe. Ever since I started a grain-free diet last October, I have been on a search for an alternate grain-free brownie recipe that tastes just as good. It’s not enough for it be gluten-free, the recipe must be grain-free. And since my 13 year-old son is allergic to almonds and coconut, it has to be free of those as well. A pretty tall order, I must admit. Many naturally healthy recipes use almond flour or coconut flour as substitutions. In addition, the problem with many brownie recipes is that they are cake-y, not fudge-y. A non-fudge-y brownie is disappointing, to say the least. If I want chocolate cake, then yes, give me a cake recipe. But if I want brownies, they better be fudge-y because that’s what makes a brownie a brownie, and no CAROB puh-lease!
My wait is over. Thanks to Sarah Pope, over at The Healthy Home Economist, I have a winner!
I have to admit though, her recipe was not sweet enough for me, so I added more sweetener. She calls for cocoa or carob, so I for sure used cocoa. Carob just does not cut it for me. I also added peppermint oil.
So, here is the recipe with my changes. I call them…
Maple Minty Grain-free Brownies
Mix the following:
2 cups maple syrup (Sarah’s recipe calls for 1 cup. I have learned to taste the dough/batter of “sugar-free” recipes before I bake them to make sure it satisfies my sweet tooth. Maybe after I have been off sugar more my sweet tooth will die down. I recommend you taste after you have added 1 cup of syrup to see if it’s sweet enough and then add more, in 1/3 c increments to taste test to desired sweetness.)
1 c nut or seed butter. If the nut butter is sprouted or roasted, the more digestible and nutritious the brownies will be. So far we have used sunflower seed butter and cashew butter from the natural health foods store and both recipes turned out yummy!
a drop or two of peppermint essential oil, or orange oil would by delicious too
or 1 T vanilla
Then add the dry ingredients:
1 c cocoa
1/2 t sea salt (finely ground if you can)
1 t baking soda
bag of chocolate chips, get from health food store if you want them free of white sugar
Sarah says to put in a greased 9×13 pan but that was way too small. It overflowed! I had brownie batter on the heating element and a smoking oven! The next time I used a bigger pan and it worked great. I think it’s 11×17.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let them cool if you can. They won’t be quite so gooey. The good news is as Sarah says that since these brownies are so nutrient-dense, they are much more filling than junk food brownies and you usually can’t eat more than 2 or 3 at a time. That’s if you are having them for dessert, if you have them for dinner, like we did last Sunday night, you might eat more! 🙂 (We usually have a big Sunday dinner in the middle of the day, so we do a light supper.)
We also had them for our family picnic on Pioneer Day last week, with homemade ice cream. The combination was the perfect ending to a delightful evening of good food and family pioneer stories.