The holidays are upon us, so let’s bake some chocolate treats! And when I say chocolate, I mean serious chocolate: choose bars that are at least 75% cocoa, don’t oversweeten your baked goods (traditional recipes are so sugar-shocked that you can typically cut the amount by 50% and get a much tastier result), stick with whole grains (not only are they a better nutritional bet, they compliment the rich flavor of dark chocolate), and feel free to double or triple up on your chocolate by including chocolate in all its glorious forms (nibs, powder, bars, you name it Holiday bakers, preheat your ovens!
Triple Chocolate Brownies
About 4 ounces of dark chocolate, at least 75% dark (Lindt comes in 3.5 ounce bars, so I usually use one of those)
1/2 cup sorghum or brown rice flour* (I like to split them 50/50 and use 1/4 cup of each)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer non-Dutched/non-alkalized, but that’s up to you)
2 tsp. baking powder
Dash of sea salt
1/4 cup cocoa nibs (optional, but does provide a delightful crunch)
4 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
3/4 cup to 1 cup sucanat, depending on how sweet you like your brownies
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup unrefined hazelnut OR unrefined almond OR extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)
Grease an 8X8 glass baking pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F. Set a small saucepan on the stove and break the chocolate bar(s) into it. Heat over the lowest setting until the chocolate pieces have almost melted, gently tilting the pot back and forth once in a while to facilitate the melting process. Pull it off the stove when there are a few bumps remaining and whisk chocolate until all is melted. (If you leave it on the stove long enough for every bit to melt completely, you might scorch it.)
In a medium bowl, whisk flour(s), cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and nibs. In a larger bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously until they’re foamy. Whisk in the sucanat, the vanilla, and the oil. Carefully add the melted chocolate and whisk again until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture. At this point, I like to taste the batter to judge its sweetness level. (I start with less sweetener and work my way up.) Disclaimer: I trust my eggs and don’t mind eating them raw. You may or may not feel the same way. If I want my brownies a bit sweeter, I add another 1/4 cup of sucanat and take it from 3/4 of a cup to one full cup.
Scoop batter into prepared glass pan and smooth the top. Another fun way to sweeten your brownies is to use less sucanat off the bat (the 3/4 cup) and then pour 1/4 cup of maple syrup over the tops of the brownies right before you bake them. This results in very moist brownie tops that make for an interesting anti-crust: moist, soft, and sweet rather than hard, crisp, and savory.
Bake brownies 30 to 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Serve brownies just as they are or with some fresh fruit. If you’d like to make an easy and elegant sauce for them, gently heat naturally sweetened jam until it’s free-flowing, then drizzle it over individual brownies. I love to do that with local-fruit jams made with cherries and raspberries.
* These are gluten-free flours. If you would prefer to make a wheat-based version, use an equivalent amount of spelt, kamut, or whole-wheat flour.
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