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
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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.

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    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping
    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

    I grew up on the sort of sweet potato casserole that is topped with marshmallows, and I love the stuff.

    One Thanksgiving in California is vividly stamped in my mind — the year we visited my grandparents and I realized for the first time that my grandma cooked almost every dish for Thanksgiving dinner in the microwave. IN THE MICROWAVE! Coming from rather culinary parents, it was a bit of a shock, and I’m not sure why I hadn’t noticed in previous years (I don’t even remember other Thanksgiving dinners at their house; maybe this was a first).

    Anyways… this sweet potato casserole is not made in the microwave (do I even need to say that?) and so it’s off to a far superior start already! But it’s also been revised in other ways, calling for less sugar and being topped with crumbly, crispy pecans and oats instead of marshmallows. Because, sugar and marshmallows just don’t leave me feeling my best.

    Sweet potatoes are quite sweet as they are, so adding sugar to the filling feels unnecessary (most recipes call for 1/4 to 1/2 cup of added sugar). In this version the filling is “natural,” meaning all the sweetness comes from the sweet potatoes, and the topping is made with maple syrup and cinnamon (which has sweet notes of it’s own!).

    As Oliver would say, this dish comes out of the oven “smelling sweeter than a plate of yams with extra syrup.”

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping
    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

    Tip: Cook the sweet potatoes ahead of time! You can cook the potatoes up to three days before you’re going to make this casserole. Here are a couple of ways to cook them (affiliate links ahead!):

    • In an Instant Pot: Place whole sweet potatoes in your Instant Pot with 1 cup of water (use a steamer basket if you have one). Use manual mode and set to high for 15 minutes (vent in sealed position). Allow pressure to release naturally, then open pot. Allow potatoes to cool, and then remove skins, which should easily pull off at this point.

    • In an oven: Preheat oven to 425°F. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and rub with oil (such as coconut oil). Place potatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or a sil-pat and bake for 45 minutes.

    In both of these methods, the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes will caramelize so that your sweet potato casserole tastes sweet without the added sugar.

    Thanksgiving is THIS WEEK. What else are you making? What’s your favorite thing once you sit down at the table?

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

    Published November 20, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 4 hours



    Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups mashed sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup half and half or canned coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • For Crumble Topping:
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 heaping cup rolled oats
  • 1 heaping cup pecan halves

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Combine the first five ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well incorporated.
    3. Spread sweet potato mixture in an even layer in a 9x9 baking dish.
    4. In a separate bowl, combine ingredients for crumble topping. Spread crumble topping in an even layer over the sweet potatoes.
    5. Place baking dish in the middle rack of the oven and bake 25-30 minutes. Sweet potatoes should be warmed through and pecans on top should be lightly toasted. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

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    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast

    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast

    This recipe for roasted chicken in a Cranberry-Pinot Noir Sauce is fit for a dinner party, but only takes four steps to make …and one of those steps is preheating the oven. 🙌

    Coq au vin (chicken stewed in wine sauce) is usually made on the stove stop or in a dutch oven, and while it’s not an overly complicated dish, making it on a sheet pan is way easier. Which, sometimes you just need.

    So, while you’re off doing whatever else you need to do — making a side salad, getting house chores done, watching Netflix - the combination of onions, garlic, and wine simmers away in your oven. And that combo, if you are not already familiar with it, is magical. The is alcohol in wine actually helps make the dish feel more flavorful, even though it burns off. As the sauce simmers in the oven, all those flavors become more concentrated.

    The chicken thighs soak up all those juices, and the potatoes get crispy edges. And finally, when you pull the pan out of the oven 30 minutes later, that wine has become herbaceous and if you can imagine it, almost creamy. And the chicken juicy and tender.

    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast
    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast

    There is something about roasting chicken with potatoes that feels fit for cold weather days. We just had our first real snow — snow that actually stuck to the ground. Isn’t funny how after 27 years of Colorado winters snow still gives me this giddy, “It’s snowing!” feeling?

    For me, what’s missing in classic wintertime dishes is a splash of brightness — you know what I mean, a pop of fresh. Herbs can totally help, but in this case cranberries are the star, adding spots of tart and fresh flavor. And add so much beauty, too! Even after being roasted, the cranberries add some beauty to this pan.

    We ate this along side some roasted brussels sprouts (why not take advantage of having the oven on?), but a side salad or steamed veggies would be great, too! Traditional coq au vin is served over pasta, but this is far from traditional, so don’t feel bad about breaking any rules.

    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast

    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast

    Published November 13, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 50 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 cup baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh or dried cranberries (Fresh will add a touch of bright tartness, while dried will add a bit of sweetness. Both work well in the dish!)
  • 1/2 cup Pinot Noir
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 springs thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    2. Arrange chicken thighs, onion wedges, quartered potatoes, and cranberries in a single layer in the dish.
    3. In a jar, combine remaining 9 ingredients. Place lid on jar, and shake briefly to mix. Then, pour wine mixture over chicken and potatoes.
    4. Place pan in middle rack in oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until the middle of the chicken thighs reach 165°F. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, remove bay leaves and then garnish with additional thyme and serve hot.

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