When I was in elementary school we were out an entire week of school due to a foot of snow. For us kids, it was a dream come true! After waking up early, we bundled up for the long haul. We were going to milk this snow day for all it’s worth. First on the agenda: find a sled, or anything that could be used as such, ’cause living in the South you don’t typically have those lying around. We Southerners like to improvise. I remember a full day of sledding down our neighbor’s incredibly steep driveway until I was forced to come in so my nose and ears wouldn’t fall off. And there’s no reason why adults can’t have just as much fun. I mean, just because I’m a little bit older and a little bit bigger, doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy myself on a hill of death on a handmade, scrapped together sled.
Those are the kinds of days that need to be followed by a warm fire and a warm mug of hot chocolate. I truly believe hot chocolate has the magical power of warming you from icicle-covered head down to your popsicle toes.
I miss those days.
So when the threat of snow looms in our Southern town, I am giddy with excitement! But, ever the optimist, I suddenly turn into a pessimist calling the pending arrival a “non-event” and making fun of those that make a dash to the store for food. There’s nothing worse than having your dreams crushed after building up the excitement of a snow storm only to wake up with barely a flake on the ground, or worse, a wet, muddy mess when it turned back into rain or sleet.
So this time around we braced for the worst, expected the least, and ended up with a muddy mess (again). No dreams crushed this time. But at least we had a beautiful ice storm last week to give us some semblance of winter this year.
In an effort to appease the snow-loving Northern blood running through my veins, I baked. Because that’s what my Northern grandmother would do. And that’s what I have come to love, as well. Baking always makes me feel better. It doesn’t matter what the thermometer says outside, as long as I’m busy in the kitchen I’m content. Mixing dough, spreading icing, melting chocolate or watching bread slowly rise in the oven creates such a humble, satisfied feeling.
This week’s baking recipe is an ode to the Southern’ snow storm, complete with a finale of “mud” and “snow”. The only difference between our weather and these Paleo Mounds Brownies was there was no disappointment in this finale. To appease my sweet tooth, I went with a classic brownie recipe but created them with Paleo-approved ingredients, such as almond butter, unsweetened chocolate, coconut sugar and honey for a sweet kick. These messy layers of flavor all combine to make one complete, satisfying snack or dessert after a long day of blissfully daydreaming out the window while you carefully calculate the chances of a real winter next year.
These chocolate-y, fudgy, coconut-y Paleo brownies will have you aching for more. Easy to make, you’ll be celebrating your own “non-event” outside while enjoying an eventful treat inside.
- 1 cup almond butter
- 6 oz bar of unsweetened baking chocolate
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- pinch of Celtic Sea salt
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional, but a no-brainer)
- coconut oil, for greasing the pan
- [i]For the coconut cream:[/i]
- 5 oz coconut cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp almond milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using the coconut oil, grease the sides and bottom of a square 8×8 baking pan.
- In a small saucepan or double boiler, add the baking chocolate on medium heat and heat until melted, stirring as it melts.
- In a bowl, mix together the almond butter, honey, sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda and salt. When the baking chocolate is melted, pour into bowl and stir until mixed.
- Add the chocolate chips to the bowl and gently fold into the batter.
- Pour mixture into the baking pan and spread it evenly.
- Bake for 20-23 minutes.
- While the brownies are baking, add the coconut cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla and almond milk to a small food processor. Blend until smooth.
- When brownies are done, let cool for 10 minutes.
- Once cool, ice the top of the brownies with the coconut cream.
- For an extra chocolate topping, melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips in a small saucepan and drizzle on top.
Recipe adapted from PaleOMG’s Valentine’s Day Almond Butter Brownies