Monday, 2 September 2013

Chocolate protein brownies...

I doubt there are too many people who could honestly say that now and again, they don't crave something sweet. Regardless of our health and fitness goals, we're entitled to a treat occasionally. I may have mentioned my love of cooking, and baking in particular in a previous post and plan to share some recipes as part of my blog.

I don't like calling it a cheat meal... to me that has all sorts of negative connotations associated with it, and feeling guilty about treating yourself the odd time is unhealthy in my opinion. I also think it's really important that if you are treating yourself, that you don't go crazy and undo a week of tough training and clean eating habits. It's for this reason, when I bake, I try to keep things as healthy as I possibly can. I avoid wheat, gluten, dairy (most of the time) and refined sugars. Baking is an exact science, so it's important that the ratio of ingredients is correct in order to produce a cake you actually want to eat! Believe me, I've come out with dry, grey cakes because of overuse of coconut flour... thankfully, you have me to do the testing of recipes on your behalf! 

Brownies are always my go-to recipe if I've to bake in a hurry. They're easy to make, inexpensive and always a crowd pleaser. Challenge was set... to bake a brownie, without all the nasty ingredients I try so hard to avoid... The internet is full of gluten free alternatives and sugar replacement suggestions and  I took a long hard look at potential recipes, but nothing seemed like it was going to yield the desired results. I wanted a chewy, chocolatey brownie that would rival my standard naughty brownie recipe. I set myself a task of taking the best bits of a lot of recipes, and trying to combine them to give a chocolatey, chewy but light brownie that hadn't got an overpowering flavour such as banana or coconut. 

Good news... mission accomplished! I swear these are incredible. I did add Greek yoghurt, which technically isn't Paleo. Who cares... if dairy doesn't make you puke or have some crazy seizure, then it can't be all that bad for you! It's bound to be 100 times better than a lot of  the stuff you've eaten... 

Ok I'm going to stop rambling and share the recipe! I swear it's worth the wait... 

1/2 ripe avocado
1 medium banana, mashed
12 dates
125g Fage 0% Greek Yoghurt (try to buy actual Greek Yoghurt instead of Greek 'style') 
75g Coconut oil (melted)
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
145g almond flour
80g coconut flour
80g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
50ml strong brewed coffee* 

The best part is how simple this recipe is... 

  • Add the first 7 ingredients to food processor and pulse until you have a smooth consistency. 
  • Add dry ingredients and pulse again until just combined. 
  • *Stir in cooled coffee. This is optional, but really enhances the chocolate flavour of the brownies. 
  • At this stage, you should have a thick mixture (similar to thick yoghurt consistency). If it seems too runny after adding the coffee, just add a little more almond flour to thicken it up. 
  • Place mixture in 8"x8" cake tin. 
  • Bake in fan oven preheated to 160d.

All ovens seem to vary, so as a guide you'll need to allow 20 minutes baking time. You're looking for a firm, just set appearance. Use a skewer to test the centre of the cake, there shouldn't be lots of raw cake mixture on it! Do keep an eye on them though, cakes with coconut flour tend to burn a little quicker than when baking with wheat flour. 

You're now faced with a dilemma... Do you A) Devour them warm or B) Allow them to cool in the tin so you can make them even more decadent with my protein icing... 

I went with B this time... 

Icing recipe: 
1/2 ripe avocado
100g chocolate whey protein powder
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
75g Fage 0% Greek Yoghurt

  • Pulse all the ingredients in food processor until you have a glossy, smooth icing.
When the brownies have cooled, spread chocolate icing on top, decorate with chopped nuts (if you're as fussy about detail as I am!), and enjoy... 

These brownies are really good... they're honestly nicer than most standard brownies (and a friend even claims they're nicer than Avoca brownies!!!) 

Stick around... scones, energy bars and even a strangely yummy chocolate bacon cake are coming up....

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