Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chocolate Olive Oil Brownies with Cashew Butter-cream Spread

Chocolate Olive Oil Brownies with Cashew Butter-cream Spread  

As some of you may know, my husband got me a Vitamix for our 3 year anniversary. Isn't he the greatest?? Anywho, I have been experimenting with various nut butters since I got it, and my most recent one is cashew butter. I have had it at the store before, but I don't like that it usually has added safflower oil, salt, and whatever else they put in there. I love making my own nut butters because there is always just one ingredient....nuts! And you may be surprised, but they are super creamy just like store bought ones. Not as sweet, but you could always add a little sweetener if you like.

My husband has been asking me for brownies over the past several days, so I decided to combine my love for nut butter, cashew in particular, with his love for brownies. I must say, they turned out to be delicious! I decided to use almond flour instead of coconut flour, and olive oil instead of my usual coconut oil for the base, and it actually worked out nicely. The brownies are pretty fluffy, but they are a little dry. However, the cashew cream adds a nice moistness and compliments the brownies very well. And best of all, these brownies are gluten-free,dairy-free, and made from natural ingredients, so you don't have to feel so guilty about eating them. :)


*Cashew Butter:
  • 1 & 1/2 Cups Raw, Unsalted Cashews
  • 3/4 Cup Almond Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder (preferably aluminum free)
  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Cacao powder
  • 1/2 Cup + 4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 TBSP Raw Local Honey
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 TBSP Cashew Butter*
Cashew Butter-cream Spread:
  • About 1 Cup Prepared Cashew Butter*
  • 1 Cup Chilled Full-Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp Honey (optional)
  • Cacao nibs for sprinkling (optional, I think nuts would also be good!)
Here is a photo without any toppings

*Cashew Butter:
Before starting on the brownies you'll want to prepare your cashew butter (unless you are using some that's pre-made). Blend together the cashews in a food processor or high speed blender until thick and creamy. If you're using a regular food processor, it will probably take about 10-15 minutes, and you will need to stop and scrape the sides down every so often as well. From my experience making nut butters with a food processor, it is difficult to get it really creamy, but it should still work for this recipe. Using a Vitamix or other high-speed blender works really well to make the butter extra creamy.
Here is what mine looked like
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8x8" baking pan with aluminum foil. I also put a couple dabs of olive oil in the pan and spread it around with a pinch of cacao powder to help keep it from sticking. Sift together the almond flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.

Over low heat, mix together the cacao powder and olive oil until lump-free. Add in 3 TBSP honey and stir until well incorporated and there aren't any crystals. Turn heat down to warm while you prepare your egg mixture.

Blend together the 3 eggs, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract. Slowly add in the chocolate mixture, taking care not to cook the eggs. Once combined, slowly add in the dry ingredients as well until well incorporated. Blend in 1 TBSP of your prepared cashew butter.

Batter should look something like this

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Brownies will look poofy when done, and a toothpick will come out slightly crumby but not wet. Cool completely before frosting.

Cashew Butter-cream Spread:
In a mixing bowl, blend together the remaining cashew butter and coconut milk until thick and creamy. It tastes pretty good on it's own actually, but for a little extra sweetness feel free to add a teaspoon or so of honey. Careful not to add too much though, as the extra liquid may make it more of a sauce than a spread.

It should be thick, but soft and creamy like this
Keep frosting refrigerated until brownies have fully cooled, then spread over top, slice, and enjoy!

I sprinkled mine with a few cacao nibs!

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