The kitchen is my laboratory. I’m always experimenting with new recipes but I usually have a taste tester before I unleash my food and desserts on other people. In this case, I quickly just wanted to have a dessert to share at my local Orlando foodie event, ORL Food Lab, and did not have a taste test!
All I can say is, yum! These cacao brownies were a delicious surprise.
The cacao flavor is subtle and inviting,but you aren’t overwhelmed by an overly sweet taste. These reminded me very much of the delicious desserts my Omi (grandmother) would send from Germany. If you’ve ever had a German kuchen, you know what I’m talking about.
And what better ingredient to use than cacao? Delicious, raw, cold pressed cacao. What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa powder? While they are pretty interchangeable, the health benefits and processing are quite a bit different.
Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. This process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter). Cacao is the highest source of antioxidants and magnesium of all foods. In fact cacao is packed with all sorts of goodness:
- Magnesium (great for “that time of the month”), and other essential minerals like calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
- Polyphenols, antioxidant rich flavonoids
- Vitamins galore: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C, E
- Heart-healthy, oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat
Cocoa looks the same but because it’s been roasted at high temperatures, most of these beneficial qualities are lost. Again, you can still use cocoa powder, this is just “food for thought” and why not make your desserts both delicious and healthy?
Aside from the delicious taste, these Cacao Brownies with a Nutty Blueberry frosting are deliciously healthy, too! Gluten free, vegan, paleo and, as I mentioned, they’re not overly sweetened with refined sugars. Just a touch of maple syrup and natural fruit puree.
Cacao Brownies with a Blueberry Frosting
- 2/3c coconut flour
- 1/4c tigernut flour (can swap for brown rice flour; but it wont be grain free)
- 1/4c cacao powder
- 2T flaxmeal
- 1-2T Cinnamon
- 1t baking powder
- 1/4t baking soda
- 1/4c coconut oil
- 1/3c applesauce
- 1/2c coconut water (water or non dairy milk works, too!)
- 2T maple syrup
- 1t vanilla extract
- 1t lemon juice
*Frosting recipe down below!
Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease an 8×8 pan.
Using a blender, puree your liquid ingredients. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together all of your dry ingredients. Now mix your liquid ingredients into the dry.
This may get messy… you may need to use your hands to work the dough! You want everything to be well combined, but this batter looks and feels a lot like cookie dough.
Spread (or press) the batter into your pan. (*optional- give the top of the batter a spritz of coconut oil and sprinkle more cinnamon on top!). Bake for about 24-28 minutes.
Let the pan cool before frosting and slicing into this goodness!
Blueberry Cream Frosting:
- 1/3c soaked hazelnuts
- 1/3c soaked cashews
- 1/2c blueberries
- 1/4c coconut butter
- 1/2c nondairy milk or coconut water
- 1t vanilla extract
- *optional: sweeten with stevia or maple syrup
Put all of your ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy! Add additional water or non-dairy milk as needed.
Frost your brownies… or just eat it with a spoon!