German Chocolate Brownies

brownie

Brownies on a nutrition blog?  Yep!  Here’s the thing:  It is incredibly important to nourish our bodies and get the bulk of our calories from nutrient-dense plants and animals.  That being said, completely eliminating all treats and sweets from the diet is usually unnecessary for most folks.  And the cool thing is that we can create healthier alternatives to our favorite indulgences.  This recipe avoids refined flours, white sugar, and highly refined, man-made oils.  The result?  A deliciously rich chocolate brownie that is naturally gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free (if using lard or coconut oil)*, soy-free*, paleo-friendly, and full of healthy fats.  Did I mention that these brownies are delicious?

*check ingredients lists and select a chocolate that is dairy and soy-free

German Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:
For the Brownies:
4 eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup real maple syrup or honey (adjust amount to desired sweetness)
1/3 cup pastured lard or coconut oil or butter
2 oz dark chocolate (I used 90%)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
For the Topping:
1 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt
very hot water to soften dates

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Using a double boiler or a glass bowl over simmering water, gently melt the lard and the dark chocolate together.  Then allow the mixture to cool slightly.
  3. To the lard/chocolate mixture, add all other brownie ingredients and mix (mixing can be done by hand, in a food processor, or in a blender).
  4. Pour the mixture into a 9×9 baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on desired gooey-ness (a shorter cooking time will result in a fudge-like brownie while a longer cooking time will result in a more cake-like brownie).  Allow brownies to cool before topping with German Chocolate goodness.
  6. While brownies are baking, make the German Chocolate topping.  Start by placing dates in a bowl and covering with very hot water (I like to put the dates into a ceramic baking dish with a glass lid to trap the heat and moisture).  Allow dates to soften in the hot water for at least 20 minutes.
  7. After the dates have softened, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water and blend them in a food processor (a blender could also work) to an icing-like consistency.  You may need to add some of the date water to thin-out the date mixture as it blends.  Once blended, transfer the date mixture to a bowl and add the vanilla, salt, coconut, and pecans and stir.
  8. Spread the German Chocolate topping over the brownies and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before cutting.  Enjoy!