|Paleo brownie using recipe #5|
After hearing from a friend who is following a paleo lifestyle (consuming only foods that were available to our paleolithic ancestors) about the perils of searching for a tasty brownie recipe that only uses paleo ingredients, I decided to take on the challenge.
Paleo ingredients include foods that can be hunted/gathered (meats, fish, eggs, fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, mushrooms, herbs) and exclude foods attributable to the agricultural revolution and animal domestication (grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugars and oils, and other "manufactured" foods).
So, making a "paleo brownie" means removing almost every standard brownie ingredient from the recipe: sugar, flour, butter/oil, milk/soymilk. Chocolate bars and chocolate chips are also out - they often contain sugar, dairy, fats, and soy. This reductive process pretty much leaves you mostly with cocoa powder, eggs, and creativity.
(Update: Using what I learned through these recipes, I made my own, uber-delicious chewy paleo brownie recipe the following week: BakerGal's Delicious Chewy Paleo Brownie Recipe. Also, since this attempt, I've also tested six paleo chocolate chip cookie recipes and devised my own delicious paleo chocolate chip cookie.)
- Coconut oil: Most paleo communities online are open to using coconut oil. I used some in the last two recipes, but it imparts coconut flavors to the brownie, which I hope to avoid when I design my own recipe. I'd like a taster to not know whether the brownie is paleo or normal.
- Eggs: I used them, though some paleo followers watch their egg consumption. In the coming week, I'll be experimenting with egg-free paleo brownies and will share the results in next week's post. I've come up with a version that can be made with or without an egg.
- Special flavor-enhancing ingredients: These might not be paleo, but are included in tiny quantities, have very little nutritional impact, and deepen the chocolate flavors (which is important, considering everything else I'm leaving out): vanilla extract, chocolate extract (not chocolate flavoring, but rather chocolate overtones that deepen chocolate flavor), espresso powder (1 tsp undetectably deepens chocolate flavor without adding a coffee flavor), salt, baking soda (doesn't add to chocolate flavor, but helps the brownies rise).
Recipe 1: Damn-Near-Paleo Brownies from The Foodee
|Paleo Brownie Recipe 1 relies on honey and almond butter for sweetness, body, and fats.|
Texture: True chewy brownie texture. Turned out a bit dry for me (though not everyone thought so).
Appearance: Almost reddish, does not rise much, top is shiny & dry
Cut-ability: A bit crumbly
Recipe for 9x13 pan (original here: The Foodee) with a few BakerGal changes:
16oz almond butter
1 cup honey
1 tbsp pure vanilla
1.5 tsp chocolate extract and 1.5 tsp espresso powder (BakerGal recipe additions)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
Blend almond butter and honey until smooth (may need to heat gently).
Add eggs, vanilla extract, chocolate extract, and espresso powder.
Blend cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
Line a 9x13 pan with foil or parchment paper (or grease with your preferred oil), pour batter in and smooth out with back of spoon.
Bake at 325F for ~30-40 minutes.
Recipe 2: Flourless Apricot Paleo Brownies from Civilized Caveman Cooking
|Paleo Brownie Recipe 2 incorporates honey, diced apricots and almond butter.|
Recipe 3: Flourless Date Paleo Brownies from Civilized Caveman Cooking
|Paleo Brownie Recipe 3 incorporates honey, diced dates and almond butter.|
These took 30 minutes for me to bake (recipe above).
Recipe 4: The Infamous Paleo Brownie Recipe from Key Ingredient
|Paleo Brownie Recipe 4 includes coconut flour, applesauce, and almond meal.|
Recipe 5: Paleo Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies from Paleo Project
|Paleo Brownie Recipe 5 relies on applesauce, honey, coconut flour and coconut oil.|
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup cocoa powder (BakerGal upped cocoa & honey amount b/c chocolate bar omitted from original recipe)
1 1/3 cup honey (BakerGal substitute for agave syrup)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp chocolate extract, 2tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp espresso powder, and 1/2 tsp salt (BakerGal flavor-enhancing additions)
Melt coconut oil (if solidified), mix with unsweetened cocoa and coconut flour. Add honey, applesauce, extracts, espresso powder, salt, and eggs, and mix. Line 8x8 pan with foil or parchment paper (or grease with your preferred oil) and pour batter in. Cook at 350F for 30-40min, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Paleo Brownie Recipe 6: BakerGal Chewy Paleo Brownie Recipe
I didn't make 5 batches of brownies for nothin'! I set out to learn what makes a great paleo brownie through these recipes. Using what I learned I made my own, uber-delicious chewy paleo brownie recipe the following week. You can find the recipe in the link above or here.
It is more like a traditional brownie than the above recipes (sweeter, chocolatier, without coconut or honey aftertastes), and can be made with or without an egg.