Flourless Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

This time of year is full of indulgences and honestly, there is nothing wrong with indulging, especially when it’s done consciously, with joy, and in the company of those we love. I think whatever we choose to consume shouldn’t leave us feeling crummy though, unless those consequences are worth it and you know what you’re getting into (if you stew over your choice or feel guilty about it after the fact, it’s not worth it). Personally, I want a treat that doesn’t wreck me or send me into a tailspin and make me want all the sweet things. In my opinion, those consequences are not worth it.

Fortunately, there are ways that I can have my cake and eat it too. This holiday brownie recipe fits the bill. It’s made of high-quality ingredients, isn’t too sweet, and doesn’t leave negative after effects. It is, however, decadent, rich in chocolate flavor, and offers a festive dash of peppermint. After all, chocolate and mint are a classic holiday combo. These would be great without the mint though too, so if peppermint is not your thing, go ahead and omit it. Either way, it’s likely these brownies will not last long. We went through two batches quite quickly — just the two of us. It took me a couple batches to get it right, so we ended up with double and both were worth eating!

Meanwhile, catch me making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live later this afternoon, between 3-4pm PST. Watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil, melted
  • 3 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 drops dietary-safe peppermint essential oil OR 1 tsp peppermint extract (where to get high-quality essential oils)
  • 2 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond meal/flour (I like this brand)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 oz good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used 88%)

For the ganache:

  • 3 oz good-quality dark chocolate, broken into squares (I used 88%)
  • 3 Tbsp grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil

Garnish:

  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut butter, or to taste (I like this brand)

Directions:

  1. Line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. In a separate medium-size bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, except for the chopped chocolate.
  3. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet. Whisk until smooth. Then, fold in the chopped dark chocolate with a spatula.
  4. Pour batter into lined baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow brownies to cool in pan.
  5. For the ganache, melt 3 oz dark chocolate and 3 Tbsp butter in a double boiler on the stove, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can melt in the microwave, but be sure to do it on a lower power setting and keep a close eye. If your microwave has a melt feature, you can go that route as well.
  6. Once brownies are cool to the touch, pour the ganache on top and spread with a spatula in an even layer or gently shake pan to spread. Chill in the refrigerator until ganache is set. Then, drizzle with melted coconut butter and slice into desired-size squares.
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No-Bake Rum Balls

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Today marks the last day of our 24 days of togetherness. It’s been so fun and Jesse and I will definitely do it again next year. I filled you in last week through day 16, but here’s what was chosen for our remaining days (minus today):

Day 17: Watch Scrooged

Day 18: Partner smash, 5 minutes each (by “smash,” we mean myofascial release)

Day 19: Go out for a cocktail

Day 20: Share the top 3 things you want for Christmas (idea was to think BIG!)

Day 21: Go see Pioneer Square tree lights

Day 22: Go to the movies (again!)

Day 23: Go on an urban hike (we had to save it for today, so we’re hiking around nearby neighborhoods later to look at Christmas lights)

Day 24: TBD…I’m at work and it’s Jesse’s turn to pick! I won’t know until later.

Anyway, as I mentioned last week, we made paleo rum balls for day seven of our little game. I promised I would share the recipe, so here you have it. It may or may not be too late to make these for Christmas, but there’s always New Year’s! This was my first attempt at making rum balls of any sort and I think it was my first time tasting some too. Jesse and I both enjoyed the strong rum flavor and slight sweetness. The rum definitely stands out, especially since these don’t bake at all (and really, rum balls shouldn’t be baked). I even thought about renaming these boozy balls instead!

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!

UPDATE: watch the replay of me HERE making these on live TV from December 16, 2016 on KATU Afternoon Live here in Portland!

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Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blanched almond flour (I like this brand)
  • Heaping 2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup gold rum (sometimes also called amber rum)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2-3 Tbsp raw honey or more to taste
  • Extra unsweetened shredded coconut or cocoa/cacao powder for rolling, optional

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Puree and blend everything into a thick, soft mixture.
  2. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls. Note, the oil from the rum balls will keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.
  3. Dust finished balls with shredded coconut or extra cocoa powder, if desired. Place on a plate and chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Yields: ~20 balls

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Cookie dough fudge.
Cookie dough fudge.

Merry Christmas to all my friends, family and followers that celebrate this holiday! I wish you a very happy holiday and hope you spend it with those near and dear. Cheers!

Meanwhile, if you still need a holiday dessert recipe, give this cookie dough fudge a try. I made some yesterday for Christmas Eve, and it’s a total hit. It is so indulgent and delicious, and like eating chocolate covered raw cookie dough. The recipe is courtesy of TGIPaleo. Seriously, mad props to her for creating such a tasty treat! I didn’t modify anything in the recipe and it turned out perfect. Jesse agreed that this dessert is awesome. Now, you can be the judge.

Making the fudge.
Making the fudge.
Fudge mixture below, and cookie dough mixture above.
Fudge mixture below, and cookie dough mixture above.

For the cookie dough:

  • 1 c Almond flour
  • 3 T Raw honey
  • 1/4 t Sea salt
  • 1/2 t Pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 T Coconut butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 T Coconut oil, melted

For the fudge:

  • 1/2 c Raw almond or cashew butter (I used almond, but it wasn’t raw)
  • 1/2 c Coconut butter, softened
  • 1/4 c Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t Pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t Sea salt
  • 2 T Raw honey
I love licking the spatula and bowl clean! It's one of the best parts. I know, it's a silly self-portrait, but whatever.
I love licking the spatula and bowl clean! It’s one of the best parts. I know, it’s a silly self-portrait, but whatever.

Directions:

  1. Mix the ingredients for the cookie dough together, then set aside.
  2. Do the same for the fudge.
  3. In an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper, carefully spread half of the fudge mixture into the bottom. Press all of the cookie dough on top (it doesn’t have to be pretty). Then spread on the last half of the fudge.
  4. Refrigerate for a couple hours or until firm. Cut into square size of choice.
Dessert anyone?
Dessert anyone?
Look at that cookie dough layer!
Look at that cookie dough layer!

Cocoa Mint Holiday Truffles

chocolate mint holiday trufflesThese taste like the holidays — minty and chocolatey. They’re different than your typical truffle — a bit more firm, but they are a tasty holiday treat, and great to bring to a party. In fact, I brought these specifically to take to my friend, Laura’s house, over the weekend for a get together she hosted. They were a hit and I also decided that they will be my next seasonal flavor at Cultured Caveman, along with my staple, salted almond bites (find my recipe for these HERE).

If you don’t have coconut butter on hand, I imagine melted coconut oil will work too.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1 cup blanched slivered almonds (find HERE)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup softened coconut butter (I used this kind)
  • 1 cup medjool dates, pits removed (about 10-12 large dates)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp peppermint extract (I like this brand) OR 2 drops high-quality peppermint essential oil (where to get good-quality essential oils)

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Directions:

  1. In the food processor, combine the almonds, cocoa powder, coconut and sea salt. Pulse until well combined.
  2. Next add the pitted dates, coconut butter and peppermint extract or peppermint essential oil. Blend until well combined. You may need to add half the dates, pulse, and then add the remaining. If needed, add more dates and coconut butter for added stickiness or sweetness.
  3. Once everything is mixed together well and there are no large chunks, dump the mixture into a large bowl. (Note: mixture may seem crumbly, but will stick together once you pack it. If it’s still too crumbly, try more dates and/or coconut butter as I mentioned above.).
  4. Roll into 1-inch balls (tablespoon-size) and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. Alternatively, you can pack the mixture down into an 8×8 pan and cut into squares. These will keep for a 2-3 weeks in the fridge. You can freeze them as well.

Total time: 20 minutes + time for truffles to chill

Yields: ~24 pieces

My mom got me this lovely plate on her recent trip to Austria. There's a little deer painted on the middle of the plate too. I love it!