I’ve been a baking slacker lately. This only poses a real problem for my kids’ expectation for a “treat” in their lunches. Mind you my lunchbox treats tend to be less sweet than anybody else’s, but it seems that it’s more important that there be something treat-like in there than that the treat in question be of any particular kind. So up to now, I’ve been pretty good about doing just enough baking to keep them supplied with a steady stream of reasonably healthy “treats.”
A few weeks ago I started slipping ‘em low sugar graham crackers – really pretty harmless and something they enjoy. No problem. After a while of that they requested something else – anything else (and who can blame them). I found myself wandering through the prepared treats aisle reading packages of corn syrup laden white flour options as though I had never once baked in my own kitchen. I practically forgot that I used to spend a few minutes just about every weekend assembling a treat that would satisfy both the kids and me. I would bake for our customary Sunday dessert and then serve the rest throughout the week in small lunch sized portions. When I brought home cookies previously deemed pretty wholesome without even reading the label, ate one and felt a film in my mouth and had to stop because it was too sweet to enjoy, I knew I’d hit the proverbial bottom. Which is great, because it led me to spending a little time today making my new favorite dessert, Almond Joy Brownies.
Almond Joy Brownies
The Brownie – adapted from Sarah at Gazing In’s Sweet Potato Fudgy Brownies
- 1/4 c coconut oil
- 2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao if you’re feeling spendy
- 1 c gluten free rolled oats blitzed in food processor until flour like
- 1/4 t baking powder
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 c coconut sugar
- 2/3 c sweet potato puree (baked sweet potato in food processor with enough water to create baby foodish consistency – add water SLOWLY so as not to overshoot)
- 1 T ground flax meal + 3 T water (AKA flax egg)
- 1 1/2 t vanilla
Preheat Oven to 350. Melt coconut oil and add cocoa, stirring to create smooth, silky chocolate that you should not eat. Combine oat flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Combine coconut sugar, sweet potato puree, flax egg and vanilla in medium or larger bowl and whisk until smooth. Add chocolate. Stir to combine. Add dry ingredients (if you’re still holding a whisk, now is the time to switch to a spoon, unless you’re trying to create an “Oh no, I have so much brownie batter stuck in my whisk, however will I get it off…. slurp” kind of scenario. Not that I’ve ever done that. Add a handful or so of your favorite chocolate chips.
Scoop into oiled square baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Look for typical brownie crackling on top and a slightly firm feel in the middle of the pan (that second test is only for those of us in the asbestos fingers crowd). You can try the toothpick test, but these are fudgy, and will not likely come out totally clean. So just look for not wet, mostly clean. Remove and allow to cool in the pan.
- 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
- 16 whole raw almonds
Place coconut in food processor. Turn on and let it run, run, run. You’re going to let it go so long that the coconut is going to turn into a liquid. You’ll want to stop it occasionally and scrape the sides of the bowl so all of the coconut gets transformed into superific coconut butter. When the contents of the bowl are shiny, let it run a couple more minutes and then place in a container you can put a lid on so you can save the leftover and put it on your toast, in your oatmeal…. yes, the options are mind-boggling..
The You Got Your Coconut On My Brownies Moment
So when the brownies have cooled a little (you don’t have to let them cool completely), spread the coconut butter on top in whatever amount makes sense to you. I tried to show a little restraint because I wanted to chocolate flavor to prevail. If your coconut butter has hardened, gently warm it a little to soften. Place almonds on top – I did a one whole almond per brownie ratio, to get that crunch that I used to love in the Almond Joy, but I think chopped almonds would make for a nice effect as well.
I don’t think I even need to tell you that these were great – what’s not to love? Super dark chocolate flavor, coconut creaminess and that wholesome crunchy almond. Delish. And now I’m ready for those lunch boxes for real.