Fudgey “Peanut Butter” Brownies (Paleo and Vegan)

Soooo if you could just stop whatever it is you’re doing right this minute and get your oven ready for a little Valentine’s love, that’d be great.

paleo brownies

I had a snow day yesterday (and another one today, in fact) thanks to Snowmageddon.  Seriously, I grew up just an hour west of here and we have *never* had a winter like this.  I mean, sure, every couple of years we’d get a big snowstorm…but it was A snowstorm…not A BAZILLION snow storms.  We’d get single digit temperatures…but not single digit temperatures for days on end.  Whatever.  Anyway.  Snow day.

I had a few comments on my avocado brownies expressing some…concern…that they didn’t come out as good as they should have.  I’ve been blogging long enough to realize that this is just going to happen from time to time, and I do take a genuine interest in failed attempts at my recipes, or just things people don’t like about them that I can address with stuff I make down the road.  As far as the brownies are concerned, some folks didn’t like the texture (which many others claim to love, so not sure what to do there), thought they weren’t sweet enough (to which I say just add more honey or use pre-sweetened baking chocolate), or…and I guess this was just one but it stuck with me…that the taste of eggs came through a little too much.  So, that was a noodle scratcher.  Thankfully I had a whole day to waste…and it only took a couple of tries to get a brownie that is not only egg-free, but that is probably the most dense, fudgey, rich chocolaty thing I’ve ever made.  Score.

As far as substitutions go, I use sunflower seed butter when I want that “peanutty” flavor, but any kind of nut butter will do.  For a more neutral flavor, I love cashew butter…it’s great for a smooth, almost yellow cake-like taste.  For a nut and seed free option, coconut manna is great–I’ve used it in past brownie recipes and it provides a subtle coconut flavor that gives a little extra sweetness without any more sugar.  Also, if you don’t have/don’t want to use avocados, one ripe banana will do the job.

Fudgey "Peanut Butter" Brownies (Paleo and Vegan)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c sunflower seed butter (or any nut butter, or coconut manna)
  • 1 large avocado (or sub one banana)
  • ½ c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t vanilla
  • ½ c maple syrup
  • handful of chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Puree the avocado first in a food processor. Make sure ALL lumps are gone.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients except for chocolate chips to the food processor and pulse until smooth.
  4. Stir the chocolate chips into the batter--it will be thick.
  5. Spoon batter into a greased 8x8 baking dish.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Because of the chocolate chips, it may still be a little gooey in the middle.
  7. Cool completely before serving.

 

 

No-Bake Goat Cheese Cheesecake Cups

You need to understand something…I have a sociopathic love for goat cheese.  And for cheesecake.  So 1 + 1 = delicious creamy richness beyond belief.

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Thank you, How Sweet Eats, for inspiring me once again.  Forgive my lack of cute little Mason jars.  I’m still working on that one.

No-Bake Goat Cheese Cheesecake Cups
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz chevre, softened to room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ⅔ c sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ c heavy whipping cream
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ t almond extract
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
Instructions
  1. To make the compote, place the raspberries in a microwave-safe dish and nuke for 1 minute, then mash them up with a big spoon or fork. Chill in the fridge till it's needed.
  2. In a stand mixer or in a large bowl, cream the cream cheese and goat cheese together and slowly add the condensed milk until well combined and no lumps remain.
  3. Stir in the whipping cream, lemon zest, and almond extract.
  4. Again using an electric mixer, beat till well combined.
  5. Spoon the cheesecake into 4 cups, glasses, or ramekins and chill for about 3 hours, or until firm.
  6. Top with raspberry compote.

 

An Oldie but Goodie…Because it’s December and I LoveLoveLove Eggnog…

**This is a re-post from last winter…I probably made a dozen batches of these as gifts and, well…for myself.  I made a few tweaks since it went up last year and it’s already making an appearance for this holiday season so I’m sharing again!**

eggnog cupcake

As I was a-stalking the interwebz last year I found this recipe.  Couldn’t not do it.  Just couldn’t.  I love eggnog.  I love chocolate.  I LOVE that it’s required on pain of death to keep my house full of baked goods during the whole month of December.

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So, um…eggnog isn’t Paleo!  Oh, wait…I HIGHLY recommend this Paleo eggnog recipe from Health-Bent.  (I like maple syrup instead of sugar for this one).  It’s totally bonkers, you guys.  Even if you’re too lazy to bake it into anything, just do it because eggnog is awesome.  I also found some great organic nog at Safeway that’s Primal-friendly (it’s got heavy cream in it), so all hope isn’t lost if you don’t feel like making your own, either.  If you’re like a certain husband of mine (*cough*) who doesn’t like eggnog for some godawful reason…just…just get out.  Now.

Eggnog Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Prep time: 
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Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c Coconut Flour
  • 5 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • ½ c Cashew Butter (or coconut oil for nut free)
  • ½ t Salt
  • ½ t Baking Soda
  • ½ t Gluten Free Baking Powder
  • ⅓ c Maple Syrup
  • ¾ c Egg Nog
  • ¼ t Vanilla
  • ½ t Nutmeg
  • 1 c Chocolate Chips
  • **Vanilla Frosting**
  • 1 c Palm Shortening *or* coconut oil
  • 2 T Heavy Whipping Cream *or* Canned Coconut Milk
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 2 T Maple Syrup
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Beat the eggs, whites, egg nog, butter, vanilla, and maple syrup. By ½ cup-fulls, add the dry mixture and whisk until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill lined muffin tins ½ full with batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick.
  4. If you want to do a loaf instead, bake in a loaf pan, same temp, for 50-55 mins.
  5. For the frosting, beat all the ingredients till light and fluffy!

 

Japanese Sweet Potato Pie

You can also call it “Satsumaimo Pie” if you want to sound cultured or something.

photo 1

So I had my appendix out on Monday and that kinda ruined my week off.  There’s only so much time you can spend on the couch high on Percocet and creeping through the bowels of Netflix before you start getting a little stir crazy.  Then you try to get up and remember why that was not a good idea.  I seriously look like I got gutted like a trout.  Moving on.

I was and still am, however, determined to make it to Thanksgiving tonight since it’s the first year I’ve lives where my family does in…a long time.  My aunt asked me to bring a dessert, so yesterday I made this pie.  Nothing crazy but I thought the Japanese sweet potatoes (aka Birthday Cake potatoes) would be a fun twist on my favorite pie ever and something a little more creative than plain old pumpkin pie).

After I was done, I slept for 4 1/2 hours.  Clearly still feeling amazing.  Then I ate some pie.  Felt better.  Went back to sleep.  It was a good day.

photo 2

*If you can’t find Japanese sweet potatoes, regular orange ones are fine.

*For 100% dairy free, full-fat coconut milk can sub for the cream.

*I like this crust recipe, but some other options are this and this.

Japanese Sweet Potato Pie
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, bakedor boiled until soft, skins removed
  • ¾ c maple syrup
  • ¾ c heavy whipping cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 T dark rum
Instructions
  1. Mash up the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, one at a time, beating with an electric mixer in between additions ensuring mixture is smooth.
  3. When all ingredients are added, beat the whole thing on medium for 2 minutes.
  4. Pour into an unbaked pie shell (see recipe options above).
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
  6. Cool completely. Top with whipped cream.

 

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Look, you put pumpkin in anything and it takes it to a whole new level.  I love pumpkin season.  Unnaturally so.  Some people move to the islands to find eternal summer…I’m still searching for that spot on Earth that will give me Eternal Fall.  Open to suggestions.

Paleo Pumpkin Cupcakes

Funny story…I’m a lot like most people in that when I get a general recipe template for a cake/bread/muffin/whatever I kinda run with it.  Why mess with what works?  Uh…well maybe when you’re so out of touch with what’s actually in the pantry before you start a mega batch of cupcakes for a family gathering that starts in 2 hours.  Like, when everything is mixed up and the last thing you need to add is 1/2 cup of coconut flour and…you only have 1/4 cup but it’s not like you can just add almond meal instead because the fat-to-egg-ratio is already WAY off.  Oh geez.  Solution?  Add some random stuff until the batter LOOKS normal.  Then bake.  And pray.

And wouldntcha know it…every last one was gone within the hour.  Cue the happy dance.

**For frosting options, I like this one, this one, and this one.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ c coconut flour
  • ¼ c arrowroot powder
  • ¼ c tapioca starch
  • ¼ c palm sugar
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t baking powder
  • 2 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ c cashew butter (or coconut butter for nut free...ghee will also work)
  • ½ c maple syrup
  • ½ c pumpkin puree
  • Frosting of Choice
Instructions
  1. Add all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream together the cashew butter, maple syrup, pumpkin, eggs, and egg whites and vanilla.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet.
  4. Beat with an electric mixer on HIGH for 2 minutes (this step is key to a good, fluffy texture)
  5. Fill lined cupcake tine ¾ full with batter.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until they pass the toothpick test.
  7. Frost the cupcakes when the have cooled completely.

 

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes w/ Brown Butter Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

Cinnamon buns.  Bunzzzz.  BUN-ZUH.

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Anyone get the Animorphs reference?  Please?  Am I seriously that uncool?

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With Fall in full swing, I need warm, gooey, cinnamon-y things in my life.  Pumpkin obviously came first but I gotta show some love to other Fall flavors, too, ya know?  And thanks to my friend Brittany–who ALWAYS asks me to make her cinnamon rolls and I promise to do it and then never do–I made cinnamon roll…cupcakes.  Same thing.  Except you can put an obnoxious amount of frosting on a cupcake.  Then spoon more frosting into your face-hole right out of the bowl.  Alone.  At 2 am.

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Ross told me these were the best cupcakes I’ve ever made.  He says that a lot, but I’ll pretend like they really are.  At the very least this is MY favorite frosting EVER…I mean brown butter?  And BOURBON?  ZOMG.  I could get drunk off these cupcakes.  Again.

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How to brown your butter.

How I learned to frost cupcakes.  I use disposable bags with a Wilton tip set–these are available in my store.

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes w/ Brown Butter Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-15
 
Ingredients
  • Cinnamon Swirl:
  • ⅓ c maple syrup
  • ⅓ c palm sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • Cupcakes:
  • ½ c coconut flour
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ c cashew butter (or coconut manna for a nut free option)
  • ½ c maple syrup
  • ⅓ c palm sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ t vanilla
  • Frosting:
  • 8 oz organic cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ c browned butter, cooled (see note for instructions)
  • ⅓ c maple syrup
  • 1-2 T bourbon
Instructions
  1. For the cinnamon swirl, combine the maple syrup, palm sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. For the cupcakes, add all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together the cashew butter, maple syrup, eggs, and egg whites and vanilla.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet.
  5. Beat with an electric mixer on HIGH for 2 minutes (this step is key to a good, fluffy texture)
  6. Fill lined cupcake tine ¾ full with batter.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then remove and add a drizzle of cinnamon swirl to each one, then return to the oven for 10 more minutes.
  8. For the frosting, beat the browned butter, cream cheese, maple syrup, and bourbon in a large bowl (to prevent spatter) until smooth and creamy.
  9. Frost the cupcakes when the have cooled completely.
  10. Or just eat the frosting straight from the bowl in a dark corner of your house. I'm not one to judge.

 

Sugar Detox Carrot Cupcakes

Does it still retain “cupcake” status if you eat it for breakfast?

So if you follow me on Facebook at all you know I’m about knee-deep in a 21-Day Sugar Detox right now.  It’s my third one ever and definitely easier by now.  This summer…and a cross-country move…and my first semester of pre-med…and these…and these…kinda left me with a donut around my middle.  Plus sugar just isn’t very good for you.  Even though it knows just how to make me feel so good.  Sugar’s a jerk.

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I ended up with these kind of by accident.  I was playing around with muffin recipes (again) because they’re just the easiest thing to toss in a baggie for breakfast when I have a morning lecture…and then I got these, which despite having ZERO sugar (natural or otherwise), taste just like carrot cake.  Seriously, I think these will give my best carrot cake recipe a run for its money.  Or maybe it’s just that I’m at that point where I haven’t had any sugar in a week and EVERYTHING tastes sweet.  I dunno.  I still can’t get enough of ‘em, though.

You tell me!

21DSD Carrot Cupcakes
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c Coconut Flour
  • ½ t Salt
  • ½ t Baking Soda
  • ½ t Baking Powder
  • 5 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • ½ c Unsweetened Applesauce
  • ½ c Coconut Cream Concentrate, softened (or sub ½ c nut butter)
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 1 t Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 4 Medium Carrots, grated (I ended up with ~1½ cups)
Instructions
  1. Combine all your dry ingredients.
  2. Beat the eggs and egg whites with the applesauce, coconut manna, and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine.
  4. Beat with an electric mixer on HIGH for 2 minutes (this step is key to a good, fluffy texture).
  5. Spoon into your lined cupcake tins to about ¾ full.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until the cupcakes are lightly browned and pass the toothpick test.
  7. Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

 

Avocado Brownies

Holy Guacamole!

If you’ve actually been following me since the very beginning, you might remember these.  It’s pretty much the one recipe that has remained popular the whole time, and for good reason.

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Over the last year and a half I have made only miniscule changes to the recipe…I started using 2 big avocados (like fist-size?…I have big hands, I guess) rather than worrying too much about getting an exact amount, though I should note you want about a cup of puree.  But a little more won’t kill you.  Avocados are a superfood, remember?  Also, I found that halving the baking soda and using GF baking powder alongside it has given all of my baked goods a great texture.  This is because the baking soda is a basic agent that reacts with other stuff in the batter to get all bubbly and the baking powder has an acid (cream of tartar) already in it.  Chemistry is fun!  Just read your labels and make sure you get a GF and aluminum free baking powder…personally, I’m a fan of Featherweight Baking Powder.

So, yeah.  Avocados and chocolate are still like, secret besties.  If I’m gonna stuff my face with chocolate it might as well be sorta kinda good for me, right?  These are super fudgey and, trust me, do NOT taste like avocado.  Avocado is nature’s butter–it keeps these brownies so moist, even days later.  But I mean, if they last for DAYS…I’m sorry.  You’re not normal.  Nothing this good should survive the night ;-)

4.5 from 17 reviews
Avocado Brownies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 4 oz Baking Chocolate or Chocolate Chips
  • 1 T Coconut Oil
  • 2 Large Avocados (1 c puree...give or take)
  • ½ c Honey or Maple Syrup
  • ¼ c Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 T Vanilla
  • 1 T Coconut Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • ½ t Baking Soda
  • ½ t Gluten Free Baking Powder
  • ½ t Salt
Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, stir together the coconut oil ans baking chocolate and nuke for about 20 seconds at a time until melted, stirring in between so it doesn't curdle.
  2. Puree the avocados in a food processor--make sure there are NO LUMPS. We want brownies, not guac.
  3. Fold the chocolate into the avocados in a large mixing bowl.
  4. With an electric mixer, beat the remaining ingredients into the batter until smooth.
  5. Grease an 8x8 pan and pour the batter, smoothing out the edges.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins. Cool and serve.

 

Twinkie Cake

Why, yes, it IS Paleo.  No big deal or anything…

I should be studying chem right now but I got really excited about this cake.  Like…poop my pants excited.  Ew.  But for real, you guys, this is my proudest moment in the two and a half years of taking pictures of the stuff I make and sharing them with the interwebs.  There’s a little elbow grease involved, but it’s so worth it.

Paleo Twinkie Cake

After these became a reality last week, I knew I could take it a step further…and clearly since no one will shut up about Twinkies going away and then coming back and going away and coming back…again…the choice was clear.  PS did you know Twinkies don’t actually last forever?  Nope.  They have a shelf life of 24 days.  Fun fact.  Thanks, Wikipedia!

OK, so this recipe is actually just a spruced up vanilla cake.  It’s the frosting that makes it special, since there is a special something about the fluffy white stuff inside our favorite snack cakes.  And as you know, frosting is kind of a Paleo black hole…it’s tough to pull off without pounds of powdered sugar…so I had to do a little digging.  There’s a ton of easy non-Paleo recipes for Twinkie Cake, and again all they are are yellow cakes with a marshmallow-y vanilla whipped frosting.  Marshmallows, you say?  Yep, I made those once.  And, so, my friends, I figured I’d make them again, toss a stick of butter into the mix, and hope for the best.

And yes, it WAS the best.

INGREDIENTS

*for the cake*

  • 1 c Coconut Flour
  • 1 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Gluten Free Baking Powder
  • 2 t Salt
  • 10 Eggs
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 c Cashew Butter
  • 1 c Honey
  • 1 t Vanilla Extract
  • 1 t Almond Extract

*for the frosting*

  • 1 c Honey
  • 4 T Gelatin (unflavored, organic)
  • 1 c Water
  • 1 c Pastured Butter (coconut oil would also work but will be a little more coconut-y in flavor)
  • 2 t Vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS

*for the cake*

  1. Combine all your dry ingredients.
  2. Beat the eggs and egg whites with the cashew butter, honey and flavor extracts.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine.
  4. Beat with an electric mixer on HIGH for 2 minutes (this step is key to a good, fluffy texture).
  5. Grease and line 2, 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper (this makes removal SO much easier)
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until the cakes are lightly browned and pass the toothpick test.
  7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a cooling rack, discarding the parchment.
  8. Frost and fill with Twinkie frosting.

*for the frosting*

  1. First off, if you don’t have a stand mixer, get one.  If that’s not an option, get a partner who is willing to hold an electric mixer while you pour the boiling honey into the gelatin.
  2. Place the gelatin in the bottom of a large mixing bowl.  Pour 1/2 c water on top and whisk to combine, then set aside.
  3. Pour the honey and remaining 1/2 c water in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a rolling boil, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn or boil over.
  4. Turn on your mixer to medium-high in the bowl with the gelatin.
  5. SLOWLY pour a steady stream of hot honey, making sure the stream of liquid hits the side of the bowl first so it doesn’t curdle the gelatin.
  6. Have patience…keep pouring until all everything is combined.  Then leave the mixer on for 15 minutes.  Yep.  15 whole minutes.  I covered my mixer with a towel so it wouldn’t splatter.
  7. Add the vanilla and butter and keep whipping everything until it’s well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
  8. Frost your cake and enjoy!
  9. If you’d like a photo tutorial of the marshmallow-making process, go here.

Almond Butter Banana Nut Cookie Sandwiches

Between moving back close to extended family and old friends and being back in school, this summer has turned into Social Event Overload.  Which is a good thing for boring people like me because I now have a chance to do something with my weekends other than watch Game of Thrones marathons and stuff my facehole with bags of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks.  (Toss ‘em in a mug with some almond butter and put it in the microwave for 25 seconds and they’re even better…in case you were wondering).  Oh, no…now my weekends are all booked with BBQ’s and coffee dates and potlucks and impromptu drinking parties.  I never realized how lonely my so-called “adult life” had been until I got here and realized that, oh yeah…summer is *supposed* to be all about this kind of stuff.

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But I’m also reveling in the fact that I now have a billion new excuses to cook for people.  And by that I mean bake for people.  You can’t have a BBQ without cookies! These in particular were my contribution to a family picnic at my folks’ place last weekend.  A few of my cousins and now my aunt have done the Whole30 and have begun to dabble in all this Paleo biz, so I wanted to make sure I brought a plethora of Paleo goodies.  The sweet tooth in our family is a force to be reckoned with.

Paleo Cookies

These cookies are perfect for the summer since they’re really not too rich or too heavy…they actually remind me of little peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  But you know, with almond butter.  Feel free to fill them with any nut butter, too…I think next time I’ll use Cacao Bliss and make little reverse-Oreo dealies.  Any excuse to devour that stuff by the spoonful is welcome.  Or you can choose to use no filling at all…they’re great on their own, too.  Not to name any names, but the first half batch kinda…disappeared…before I could frost ‘em.  Oops.

Almond Butter Banana Nut Cookie Sandwiches
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c Almond Meal
  • ½ c Almond Butter
  • ¼ c Honey
  • 2 Mashed Bananas
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 1 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Salt
  • ¾ c Chopped Walnuts
  • ¾ c Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • More Almond Butter, for filling
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the walnuts and chocolate chips.
  2. Beat until smooth, then stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.
  3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookies sheet and flatten with the base of a spoon. The cookies ought to be "silver dollar" sized.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Coolcompletely, then spread almond butter over the tops of one half of the cookies, then top with the other half to make little sandwiches.
  6. Enjoy!