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Dark Chocolate Brownies

Alright, I am officially cranking out the healthy. And not just the fat-free, whole-wheat instead of white, baked instead of fried healthy. I'm talking dairy free, grain-free, gluten-free, no refined sugars kind of healthy. The kind of healthy that Elizabeth Nyland of the Guilty Kitchen incorporates in her daily life, as well as in the recipes of her brand-new cookbook, Cooking with Coconut Oil.

This kind of healthy is known as the paleo diet (or lifestyle, as some like to refer to it), and it's main star is coconut oil. If you don't already know, coconut oil is pretty great for your body. It's a healthy fat and it's got antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-viral, and even weight-loss properties. I already love using coconut oil in my baked goods, so I was thrilled when Elizabeth offered to send me a copy of her cookbook.

And since most of us are trying to do the whole eating better thing right now, I couldn't think of a more perfect time to share one of her amazing recipes. A dessert recipe, of course. Because who wants to eat another salad or drink another smoothie. You want to look/feel great and still be able to eat the good stuff! Well, I gots the good stuff for you.

As Elizabeth says in her book, "Brownies are that quintessential chocolate baked good that no one can resist". SO TRUE. And that's precisely why I picked this recipe. Everyone needs a good brownie recipe in their arsenal. More importantly, everyone needs a guilt-free brownie recipe in their arsenal. This particular recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, legume-free, grain-free, and contains no refined sugar. It does however contain lots of deliciousness. That, I can assure you of.

The brownies are a bit less sweeter than what I am used to, but I'll sacrifice some sweetness for being able to eat four pieces in a row and not regret it. It's a pretty good-trade off to me. Plus, the brownies are still moist and fudgy and as long as you've got those two down, in my opinion, the recipe is a win.

Besides a wonderful variety of dessert recipes, Elizabeth also has everything from breakfasts, salads, and sides to main dishes and snacks, all featuring the incredible coconut oil. And if you're a visual person like myself, you'll be pleased to know that each recipe is accompanied by a mouth-watering full-page photo. Even if you're not following the paleo diet or have any other dietary restrictions, you will be tempted to make every recipe in the book. Next up for me to try are the chocolate brownie caramel cups! Me and my sweet tooth are going to have a lot of fun with this. Purchase your copy on Amazon today!

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Yield: 12-18 brownies
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1 cup almond meal
3 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons honey
8 large medjool dates, pitted
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup nut butter (such as cashew, hazelnut, or almond)
2 oz. dark chocolate (70 percent or higher)
1/3 cup coconut oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8x8-inch pan.

In a large bowl, blend dry ingredients with a fork. Set aside.

In a food processor or high-powdered blender, mix the honey, dates, vanilla, eggs, and nut butter until smooth. Set aside.

Bring a small pot filled a third of the way with water to a boil, then lower to a simmer and place a small bowl over the water (making certain the bowl is not touching the water) or use a double-boiler for this step. Place the chocolate and coconut oil into the bowl and allow to melt, stirring until combined. Mix this with the wet ingredients.

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and pour into the greased pan. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack until they are room temperature. Cut into desired sizes and serve.

Notes: When you mix the wet and dry ingredients together, the mixture will be very thick. Do not worry, this is normal. Just try your best to spread it out into the pan. Also, it wasn't specified but I mixed my wet and dry ingredients in the food processor; just a few pulses, you don't want to overwork your food processor.

Recipe from Cooking with Coconut Oil: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Recipes for Good Living

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book to review. I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

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