Grain-Free Mint Chocolate Brownies

Grain-Free Mint Chocolate Brownies

“These are a treat,” I said to Oliver after taking a bite. Fudgy on the bottom, creamy in the middle, and even more chocolatey on top, these brownies are rich all the way through.

If you like York Patties, or Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, or Andes Mints, these brownies are for you. And before I get to far… they are grain-free, gluten-free, and nut-free. Plus, they’re sweetened with honey!

Mint and chocolate is a favorite combo of mine, and when I was day dreaming of holiday baking these stayed in the forefront of my mind. They feel super festive! It wasn’t until after I had made them that I was swiping through images of a cookbook my mom made of her favorite recipes and I found mint brownies nestled in there. Somewhere in the back of my mind I suppose I remembered her brownies…

Grain-Free Mint Chocolate Brownies
Grain-Free Mint Chocolate Brownies

Let’s start at the bottom: the brownie base is made of the same batter used in these strawberry cheesecake swirled brownies. It is a very chocolatey, batter that calls for coconut flour and a LOT of cocoa. The result is one fudgy brownie!

The next layer is a sweet mint cream cheese frosting. Most mint brownies call for buttercream here, but I’ve never been a fan of buttercream, and even as a kid I preferred cream cheese frosting. Nothing’s changed on that front! (For extra festive-ness, you can stir in a drop or two of green food coloring if you like.)

The topping is a simple chocolate ganache, making a chocolate mint sandwich that even looks a bit like an Andes Mint!

When you bite through all three layers it is rich, sweet and melt-in-your-mouth delicious… a total treat! (One night we had these with the Mint Chip Ice Cream from CoolHaus. 😍)

Grain-Free Mint Chocolate Brownies

Grain-Free Mint Chocolate Brownies

Published December 6, 2018 by
   Print This Recipe

Serves: 16   |    Active Time: 1 hour



Ingredients:

Brownie Base:
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Mint Filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

  • Chocolate Ganache Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper.
    2. In a small sauce pan, combine melted butter or coconut oil, cocoa powder, and chocolate. Heat over low heat, stirring until most of the clumps have melted. Remove from heat and allow to sit until entire mixture is smooth and melted.
    3. Scrape mixture into a mixing bowl. Using electric beaters, stir in honey. Add eggs and vanilla and beat again. Mixture should begin to thicken. Add coconut flour and salt. Beat until smooth and no clumps remain.
    4. Spread batter in even layer in prepared baking dish.
    5. Bake for 20 minutes, until brownies are slightly puffy, and a knife comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Allow to cool for completely before topping with mint filling.
    6. Mint filling: while brownies are cooling, beat together cream cheese, honey, and mint until smooth. When brownies are no longer warm to the touch, spread cream cheese mixture over top in an even layer. Place brownies in fridge, covered, for at least one hour (or overnight! Short cutting this time will make it hard to spread the ganache over top and get clean layers.)
    7. Chocolate ganache topping: Place butter, half-and-half, and chocolate in a small sauce pan and heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until a smooth ganache is formed. Remove from heat. Spread chocolate ganache over cream cheese mixture and allow to set 10 minutes before slicing into 9-16 squares. Tip: for the cleanest cuts, rinse your knife between each slice.

    Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Tacos

    Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Tacos

    It started with a business trip to Texas in 2016. It was my first real business trip. My co-worker (Libby, who is somewhat of an aviation food connoisseur) asked if I wanted to stop by Root Down, a restaurant in the terminal. We got sweet potato fries with curry sauce and I realized that whatever I had previously thought about airport food was wrong. (Fruit cups, low fat yogurt, and granola bars? Move aside!)

    Fast forward to 2017: I’m traveling to Ecuador for a client. I had been on a few business trips since that one to Texas, but none as cool as this one — Ecuador! South America! Hadn’t I graduated with a Spanish Degree just for this?! Yet going into Marketing I had pretty much thought those international opportunities were behind me. Anyhow, I was on my own, so the world was my oyster and the schedule was whatever I said it was. Which means there was time to stop at Root Down, and breakfast was in order. I sat at a table for one with a view of the tarmac and ordered tacos. In that moment I felt awkward by myself, and took solace in those tacos, taking my sweet time. Each taco was small — made on a 4-inch tortilla - and stuffed with greasy chorizo and fluffy scrambled eggs.

    My next encounter with those tacos was this August. It was 6am as we rode the bus to the airport, and by the time we made it to security our stomachs rumbled for breakfast. It was Oliver’s idea, that day, to stop at Root Down but of course I didn’t protest. We both ordered the tacos and coffee and finally, digging into our breakfast, we were on vacation.

    Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Tacos

    This taco recipe is my home rendition: chorizo crumbles, scrambled eggs, fresh cilantro, tomatoes, and queso fresco. I replaced the pickled red onions with minced fresh red onions that star on Root Down’s menu, because at home it’s easier (and I like the fresh flavor). And added avocado, because we weren’t going to make tacos without avocado.

    When you make these, it might be easier to just cook up an entire pound of chorizo versus the exact amount you need. It will store well in your fridge, and can go into future meals (great in soups!) or make it easier for you to get breakfast going tomorrow. You could also plan to serve a crowd: make a breakfast taco bar!

    Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but these tacos for breakfast feel a bit like a vacation. Enjoy!

    Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Tacos

    Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Tacos

    Published November 8, 2018 by
       Print This Recipe

    Yield: 3   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 6 six-inch corn tortillas
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chorizo crumbles, cooked and heated
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup queso fresco crumbles
  • 1 tablespoon minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • Optional: hot sauce of choice, to taste
  • Optional, for serving: lime wedges

  • Directions:

    1. Prep your ingredients first in this recipe, as once the eggs are cooked, you’ll want to immediately start assembling your tacos. So, dice that tomato, slice the avocado, and mince the cilantro and red onion now. Reheat or cook the chorizo.
    2. Warm the tortillas. There are plenty of ways you can get this done: place them in a preheated oven for a few minutes, warm them in a toaster oven, or heat them in a dry skillet. Whatever you do, watch them closely so as to avoid burning them or drying them out too much. Just a few minutes will do.
    3. Now, crack eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper and whisk until they are a creamy yellow color and slightly frothy.
    4. Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a 10-inch skillet. When oil sizzles, pour in eggs. As eggs begin to set (it will take a minute or two), use a wooden spatula, to pull the eggs across the pan, stirring them. Continue until no visible liquid egg white remains, and then move the pan off the heat. (Tip: If there are other things to do or prepare, I sometimes will pull the pan from the heat a little bit early, say 30 seconds, to avoid over cooked eggs. They will continue to cook in the pan until you serve them.)
    5. Assemble tacos: take tortillas out of the toaster, and top each with a heaping tablespoonful of chorizo. Divide egg mixture evenly amongst tortillas, and then top each with diced tomato, a slice of avocado, queso fresco, minced red onion, and cilantro.
    6. Serve hot with hot sauce on the side, and lime wedges if using.

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

    This post was written three times over, which is two times more than the norm. First I wrote about something so unremarkable I can’t even remember it. Later that night I read an article on climate change and it left me unsatisfied. Shouldn’t I write about something worth taking action on? Something that actually matters? So then I wrote the post again, and attempted to find that perfect balance you need to strike when writing a post like this — but I’m not sure I ever found it. So, fair warning: it is a bit of a rant. If you’d prefer to just scroll right on by and get the recipe, I won’t even know it.

    “Perfection is the enemy of good and done,” so let’s just get down to it.

    8,030. That’s how many days are in twenty-two years.

    It will be the year 2040. By then, I’ll be 49.

    How about you?

    By 2040, the International Panel on Climate Change predicts the planet will increase in temperature by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (you may already know this, it’s not the newest of news). It’s a minuscule difference, something that seems like nothing — barely discernible to the human body - but oh, it is most certainly not nothing.

    The impact of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit? “Worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs.”

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet
    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

    This blog has never touched on political issues before. That was intentional. And that’s not likely to change, aside from this one blog post. (TBH, it's absurd to me that keeping our planet live-able is even a political issue.) But I felt a need to say something, to spread the word, so here we are.

    Because in the end all of us — you, me, and 7.2 billion other people - have to face this together. And while it feels, in so many ways, out of our hands (I get it), it doesn’t mean we can’t try.

    I am a fairly environmentally conscious person but have never been an extremist by any definition, so I’ve been thinking about what I can do that still fits into my life. Tiny things that will add up. I already drive a hybrid car (though I could take the time to walk more places!), and we compost and recycle regularly. But what else?

    Here is my running list so far — things that have just been on my mind.

    • No food waste. I have already been much more aware of food waste and what it means to eat “root to stem” in the last few months. We are still eating crops harvested from the garden, but our first frost hit earlier this month so very few crops are still growing. Of course I knew this would happen, but going from growing most of our own food to figuring out how to preserve what we have has made me super aware of how the first homesteaders had their work cut out for them just to get through winter — and here I can just pop over to the store when our pile of squash runs out (or when we just don’t want to eat squash!!). So what? Eating local is on just about every “how to live an eco-friendly life” list,  but it’s just not realistic in every location. Our Farmer’s Market is only around in the fair weather months, and all I’ll be harvesting for the next six months is hearty greens. I’ll have to buy some food that was produced far, far away, and that’s just reality (at least for me, in the suburbs, where growing tons of grow beans, grain, or livestock isn’t realistic). But when I do, I’ll do my absolute best to make sure not a bit of it goes to waste. (Eh-hem, like that suuuupper crusty sourdough I made last week, which was basically a giant bread cracker. Strata, stuffing, bread crumbs... here we come!)

    • Buy less. In college, I had a self-enforced rule that when I wanted to buy something (new clothes, jewelry, etc), I would put it on a list and wait for a month. If I still wanted it in a month, then I really wanted it — it wasn’t just an impulse buy. Back then, the rule was put into place because of financial reasons (college student making minimum wage!), but it’s a really practical rule. It is easy to get just about anything delivered to your door overnight now, and sometimes our recycling bin fills up over the course of just a few days! It’s not just the packaging thought — the amount of energy that goes into getting something from point A to B is a lot!

    • Tame my wanderlust. I get this craving to see new places — to see the world. (Typical Millennial of me). But one round trip cross-country is a lot of greenhouse gases, and driving — or better yet carpooling - is more efficient in terms of CO2 emissions. I am very lucky to have travel a lot over the last twenty years, which I am so thankful for. Those trips molded my mind and made me who I am. But! There is no denying that all those plane tickets fuel an industry that’s putting of a lot of greenhouse gases. So, next time a case of wanderlust creeps up on me, I’m going to try to remember this paragraph, and go somewhere local instead. (Just this last weekend, we did a biking brewery tour of a near-by town and it was like being on vacation — so many places right here I’ve never seen!)

    • Support brands making eco-friendly decisions. I am just one person, but companies are made up of dozens (if not hundreds) of people, and are serving many many more. When they make eco-friendly decisions (like using recycled packaging, buying organic ingredients, or avoiding harsh chemicals) they make a big difference faster.

    • Collect and reuse water. For a long time in the state of Colorado, collecting rainwater was not permitted, but that changed two years ago. I’ve considered getting water barrels for watering my plants several times, but have never actually done it. Recently, I’ve been pondering what other water can be collected — for example, using water from rinsing dishes (avoiding harsh soaps) to water trees. A half baked plan, just something in my head.

    We’re also considering getting solar panels on our house, but that’s not so much a resolution as it is something we’ve always planned to do.

    That’s it for today. Just a rant and a resolution. And a breakfast!! Something that you can totally make from local ingredients almost no matter where you live, all year round.

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

    Published October 18, 2018 by
       Print This Recipe

    Serves: 3   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 packed cup kale, chopped small
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles

  • Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion, minced garlic, and cubed sweet potato to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
    2. Add chopped kale, and cook for 2 minutes, allowing greens to wilt.
    3. Crack the eggs into the pan. Cook for 3-5 more minutes, until egg whites are cooked through and yolks are cooked to your preferences. Top with crumbled goat cheese, and season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve hot.

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet