November 11, 2014 1 Comment
OK, so I was planning this recipe for Halloween (otherwise known as my best friend Natalie’s birthday), but that wound up just not happening. Conveniently, Halloween was also the end of the academic quarter, which meant that I had at least one test or essay for every class the week prior.
Oh well. I don’t think anyone would ever say no to brownies, even if they were two weeks late…right?
Honestly, brownies are one of the hardest desserts to make exciting. I mean, there’s plenty you can do with chocolate chip cookies, for example: change up the add-ins (perhaps make them cranberry-almond cookies, or white chocolate macadamia nut cookies), use different flours (hazelnut flour or add in cocoa powder), flavor with a special extract (peppermint or coconut, maybe)…but brownies? I suppose you could add extra chocolate or some nuts, but other than that, brownies are neither the most stunning nor the most creative of desserts.
That’s what I thought until now, at least.
Chocolate and coconut are a match made in heaven. Chocolate-covered almonds are glorious. So why not combine chocolate, coconut, and almond?! Genius. While I called these Almond Joy Brownies to appeal to my (primarily) American crowd, they were also inspired by a Bounty bar, which is really popular in Europe.
As you may (or probably don’t) recall, the Bounty ice cream I had at Fenocchio in Nice two summers ago was heavenly…and these brownies taste faintly like that incredible frozen treat.
Oh, France. I miss you and your ice cream dearly.
Anyway, even though it isn’t Halloween anymore, these brownies will still make your day ten times better. Maybe a tasty Thanksgiving dessert for those who hate anything with cinnamon, apples, and pumpkin? (Do those people even exist?)
These might seem complicated to make, but they’re actually quite easy! Simply make up the brownie batter…
…bake it, top with a yummy coconut mixture and some almonds…
…then drizzle with chocolate and say HALLELUJAH!
And you really want to get to that hallelujah part, right?
Yield 16 brownies
FOR THE BROWNIE (recipe adapted from here):
3.5 ounces of dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of coconut flour, sifted
1/4 cup of tapioca flour
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
A generous pinch of salt
FOR THE COCONUT LAYER (recipe adapted from here):
2 1/2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
A pinch of cinnamon
A pinch of salt
16 dry-roasted, unsalted almonds
1 ounce of dark chocolate, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Grease well with coconut oil and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate with the unsweetened almond milk and 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. Heat over medium-low, and once the chocolate just melts, take it off.
Pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, coconut flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and a generous pinch of salt. Mix on low to combine, scraping down the bowl once or twice to make sure everything gets incorporated.
Using a spatula, spread the brownie batter into the prepared pan, then place in the preheated oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the brownies comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Let cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, then transfer to the fridge to cool for 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the coconut layer.
In the bowl of a food processor, process 1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until the consistency of a thick paste, about 3 minutes. Next, add the coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt along with the remaining 1 cup of shredded coconut, and pulse several times to combine. If necessary, add more shredded coconut to thicken and more coconut milk to thin.
Once the brownies have finished cooling, remove them from the fridge and, using a combination of your hands and a spatula, spread the coconut layer on top. Top with the 16 almonds, placed in whatever positions you desire. Put the pan with the cooked brownies, coconut layer, and almonds in the freezer for 30 minutes to cool further and harden slightly.
After the 30 minutes have elapsed, drizzle the pan with the melted chocolate. Let harden in the fridge for 1 hour more before slicing and enjoying.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
What are some of your favorite ways to make simple brownies a little more exciting? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!