ORANGE ESPRESSO PALEO BROWNIES

As you have seen I LOVE love brownies, I consider myself a brownie queen because I started baking brownies when I was 7 years old.

I have made cocoa brownies, chocolate brownies, a combination of chocolate + cocoa, unsweetened chocolate based like these, flourless, garbanzo bean flour, raw brownies, black bean brownies, marbled brownies, keto brownies, etc, etc.

Something about brownies makes me very happy and I am on a constant quest for the next best brownies (I literally have enough recipes to make my next ebook). All my brownie recipes MUST be chewy. I hate cakey brownies and fudgy brownies are way too intense. Chewy and a crackly top is essential. So when Santa Barbara Chocolate asked me to develop a special recipe for them using their impressive unsweetened chocolate I said hell yes! Little did I know I was up for a challenge. I love recipe development and bake every day, every moment I can and while I do have 28 years of extensive recipe development experience I always learn something new.

Once I decided which formula would work, I had to make these brownies twice to get them just right. I started with one of my favorite paleo brownie recipes, but in this case I had to use the unsweetened chocolate as a core ingredient (which meant it was harder to get the chewy texture I craved, because when you substitute a 70 % chocolate for a pure 100 % chocolate (called cacao paste, raw cacao, cacao liquor or unsweetened chocolate) most baked good will get very fudgy, very crumbly and INTENSE due to the lack of sugar and fluidity of the cacao paste. 

So let’s talk about why I adore this cacao paste or unsweetened chocolate from Santa Barbara Chocolate and why it has become a staple ingredient in my baking pantry and in my workshops.

It is called raw chocolate within the health food industry for its robust taste. Under the FDA definition it’s called chocolate liquor, though it’s non-alcoholic. The home baker’s term is unsweetened baking chocolate. Santa Barbara Chocolate calls it Unsweetened Chocolate Pure Cacao because this is the most descriptive.

Santa Barbara Chocolate’s no sugar added baking chocolate has become a favorite among sugar aware people like me and athletes seeking authentic pure cacao. 

  1. There is no sugar added at all (no sugar alcohols nothing!) brilliant! (side note: I don’t  really like “sugar free” chocolates sweetened with stevia or monk fruit or Maltitol) I prefer this! 
  2. Unlike every other 100% chocolate (most are un edible) this one is naturally sweet and creamy and fluid (according to a chocolate expert I talked to this is because of the cacao beans used.
  3. I could eat it by the handful every day. I love it in smoothies, cookies, brownies. 
  4. It is a perfect keto and paleo chocolate with no added sugars !!! WIN/ WIN!!
  5. It is organic.
  6. It comes in small discs (perfect for melting and for using as chocolate chips). BRILLIANT.
  7. It bakes and melts very well. I all applications (cookies, brownies, glazes).

Another great thing I love about Santa Barbara Chocolate is their cocoa powders (my absolute favorite is their Red Cocoa) YOU NEED this in your life! It bakes so well, it tastes amazing, it has the perfect amount of fats, color, texture. It enhances everything. I really can’t use other cocoas after this one. Please note I used 2 types of their cocoa in this brownie because I wanted to make it less intense. So I used half of their Red Cocoa (they also call it vegan cocoa) and half of their Rainforest alkalized cacao. You can use just their red cacao or sub the alkalized Rainforest cacao for a raw cacao powder you like (I use this combo to create a lighter color and flavor).

I was inspired to add orange marmalade to the brownies because an instagram friend suggested it and I love orange + espresso together. It will take your brownies to another level. You can also omit. 

This recipe is perfect for Valentine’s Day. My husband LOVES them! Serve with a salted caramel ice cream and some raspberries and you have a perfect romantic dessert. 

These freeze very well.

Thanks to Santa Barbara Chocolate for sponsoring this blog post and recipe. All opinions are my own.

Thank you for supporting the brands I love. I only share what I use and adore! If you make this recipe please comment, review and share your creations on Instagram and tag me @chefvanessamusi I love seeing your creations. 

 

ORANGE ESPRESSO PALEO BROWNIES
 
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Best paleo brownies made with unsweetened chocolate and cocoa. Chewy, perfect gooey brownies with orange and espresso. A match made in heaven. These are my new favorite brownies!!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 9 medium
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ large organic, pasture raised eggs (to get ½ an egg : beat 1 egg use half)
  • 10 grams vanilla
  • 75 grams Santa Barbara Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 50 grams avocado oil
  • 115 grams coconut sugar
  • 100 grams fine almond flour
  • ¾ teaspoon (3 gr) baking powder: gluten free, aluminium free such as Rumford (at high altitude use half of this)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 12 grams Red Cocoa Santa Barbara Chocolate
  • 13 grams organic natural process cacao powder Santa Barbara
  • 20 grams unsweetened chocolate Santa Barbara Chocolate (to garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon best orange marmalade (you can add more to taste)
  • ¼ -½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or more to taste)
Method
  1. Prepare a 6 or 7 inch square brownie pan or baking tray such as American Metalcraft, grease lightly and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a medium bowl: sift: almond flour, cacao, salt and baking powder. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl; melt the 75 gr unsweetened chocolate and combine with the avocado oil.
  2. In another large bowl: whisk eggs + vanilla + coconut sugar, add chocolate + oil mixture and combine well. Add the marmalade and coffee.
  3. Add the almond, cocoa mixture and mix well.
  4. Put the batter in the prepared pan. Level the batter with an offset spatula and sprinkle the rest of the chocolate. Bake for aprox 15 mins: this depends on your oven and the pan used. Make sure you test it out during baking with a toothpick which must come out with very moist crumbs (not wet or dry). These brownies are a bit tricky to gage the exact time. Don’t over bake or they will be dry, crumbly and fudgy cakey in a bad way!
  5. You ideally want them moist and as they cool and set up they have a chewy consistency. If by any chance you under bake them (it has happened to me 🙂 just put them back in the pan and bake them a bit longer. Cool for several hours so that they set well and cut into 9 pieces. These keep well for about 3 days max. Store in a covered container.

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SWEET POTATO TURTLE CAKE

Happy New Year guys! 2018 was quite a year! Hope 2019 is amazing for you all!

2018 had SO many highs and lows. On the plus side the highs were finding and buying our baking school a mixed use property which is REALLY hard to find here in Central East Austin (and when you do it’s super expensive), I still pinch my arm that I found this UNICORN property and that it’s in a great neighborhood and it was affordable. Now we need to remodel and get a commercial permit. I am blessed to have met the right people. It does take a village to create the first healthy baking school in the world. 

We also celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary in NYC which was awesome!!!

On the low side: I was diagnosed with pre diabetes. As many of you know I have had hypoglycemia for 27 years but in November I had a messenger come on the form of a lovely student who has diabetes and works for One Drop a wonderful company that created a very cool glucometer that my student so kindly sent me as a present. So when it arrived I pinched my finger and tested my fasting blood sugar and it came out to 186 I was horrified to say the least because I had never crossed the 100 line. So basically in 6 months I had become pre diabetic. My A1C (A1C is a blood test that reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. TheA1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1C, HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test. Hemoglobin is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells.) was 6.3 (a diabetic’s is 6.5 an above). So I rushed of to the doctor and had more blood work done and was diagnosed as pre diabetic. Word of advice here: after going to a specialist in diabetes most doctors will tell you the “normal” range as if this is the ideal or the ok place to be, be ware it’s not. I am still working on lowering my numbers and pinch my finger every day. It has been challenging to control and lower my blood sugar because: 1. I am a healthy pastry chef 2. I do a LOT of recipe development and taste many recipes 3. I have a sweet tooth (more than I would like to acknowledge). 3. I am a HUGE foodie and savor the world.

What has helped me lower my blood sugar is: 1. Sleeping 8 hours 2. Eating a plant based keto diet (5 cups veggies/ mostly greens) reducing carbs a lot and not eating after 6 pm 3. walking 10,000 steps every day 4. No added sugars 

Hope these tips help you as I do get a lot of messages from diabetic and pre diabetic and hypoglycemics. 

So here is a recipe I love and so many of you have asked me for. It’s not KETO but  paleo and here is my perspective: eat clean and if you are going to have a dessert make it paleo or keto.

 

 

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
SWEET POTATO TURTLE CAKE
 
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I love this Sweet Potato Turtle Cake! I actually prefer sweet potato desserts to pumpkin ones! This cake is a perfect balance of textures, spice, chocolate and pecans I hope it will become your go to recipe for a great paleo cake
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 medium loaf cake
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs I love and use Vital Farms organic and pasture raised
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree (roast a medium large potato with skin until soft/ peel and blend)
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup refined coconut oil, melted or avocado oil
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup arrowroot (60 gr)
  • 1 cup (110 gr) almond flour (always scale for best results)
  • 58 gr cassava flour
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda I used and love Bobs Red Mill (at high altitude use ½ teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Pecan muscovado crumble:
  • 50 gr chopped pecan halves
  • 12 gr grass fed butter such as Kerry Gold
  • 12 gr Light or dark moscovado sugar
  • Maldon Salt to taste (aprox ¼ teaspoon)
  • Mix all ingredients
  • ½ cup 70 % Chocolate chunks such as Guittard, Valrhona
Method
  1. Pre heat oven to 350 F, grease and line a large loaf pan (or 3 small loaf pans) with paper. In a large bowl: whisk all the wet ingredients: sweet potato, oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar: mix with a whisk. In another bowl: sift all the dry ingredients: flours, salt and baking soda. Add to wet ingredients and use a plastic spatula to finish mixing. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle pecan moscovado crumble on top.
  2. Bake for aprox 50 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. You may need to lower the baking temperature to 340 F so it doesn’t over brown. Towards the end of baking add the chocolate chunks. Let cool, un mold. Cool completely and cut with a serrated knife.

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MY FAVORITE CHOCOLATE MADELEINES

Do you LOVE chocolate cake? I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t.  And I get a TON of requests for vegan and gluten free chocolate cakes or pastries that taste the same as traditional cakes, so I went on a quest to create the chocolate vegan gluten free madeleines of my dreams. And voilà here they are. 

Really! These are delicious and so easy to make. They are like that little black dress that you can dress up or down. The texture is just perfect. I developed this recipe for one of my favorite brands: Flexipan for their launch of their new line of Silpat molds they made exclusively for Williams Sonoma (they are beautiful and very functional). Thanks to Flexipan by Demarle for sponsoring the molds for this recipe. 

This recipe is a perfect example of how important a well balanced recipe is: and how great baking is all about proportions. Plus this chocolate glaze is the bomb! And it’s a timeless recipe I learned from one of my favorite Pastry Chefs: Sarah Kosikowski from Valrhona. 

Save this glaze recipe because it is the perfect back pocket recipe and you can have it made beforehand. It is life changing. 

Chocolate glaze:

134 gr 75 % chocolate, chopped (use the best quality such as Valrhona)

41 gr avocado oil

11 gr cacao nibs

In a glass bowl: melt chocolate in a microwave, add the oil and cocoa nibs and mix well. Use warm

 

MY FAVORITE CHOCOLATE MADELEINES
 
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Soft, moist, tender madeleines that are seriously divine! Plus they are vegan and gluten free and low in sugar!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16 large
Ingredients
  • 135 gr my gluten free flour blend (see recipe bellow)
  • 30 gr red cocoa (I love Santa Barbara Chocolate!)
  • ½ cup organic cane sugar/ or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (at high altitude use ½ teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅔ cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut yogurt, unsweetened
  • 1 tablespoon applesauce, unsweetened (I made my own in Thermomix using Granny Smith apples
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (or avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Put a Madeleine Silpat mold onto a perforated tray. In a bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add sugar, mix. Add almond milk, vanilla, apple sauce yogurt, oil and vinegar. Mix with a whisk by hand until integrated. Put the batter into a pastry bag fill the madeleine mold ⅔ -¾ full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean aprox 15 mins depends on your oven. Remove and un mold. Let cool. Freeze madeleines and decorate with Chocolate Glaze
Notes
My all purpose gluten-free flour
672 gr glutinous rice flour: buy in oriental stores
672 gr brown rice flour: (Bobs Red Mill brand preferably)
672 gr white rice flour: (Bobs Red Mill brand preferred)
2 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
Mix well all the flours in a bowl with a balloon whisk, store the flours in a closed container in a dry, cool and dark place preferably. Use what recipe calls for

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HEALTHY CONDENSED MILK

Paleo, vegan, keto, healthy?

Even more than that I believe 95% of the time that health tastes better. I know that is hard to envision and taste but ever since I can remember healthier ingredients and wholesome products have always tasted better, not to mention that they make me feel better. And being such a FOODIE that is a big claim. Because I do savor the world: ALL THE TIME. I honestly have met few foodies like me.

And sometimes I wake up dreaming about a recipe like this one! I literally dreamt about it..  formula and all.. So I had to make it ASAP. Which I did because when you follow your gut magic happens ALWAYS. Plus I am loving my Thermomix and using it for everything because it makes life easier and I can multitask more and I only need one appliance. If you haven’t gotten on the Thermomix band wagon you are missing out! It has been called a GENIUS FOOD PROCESSOR by Dr Oz, the next frontier of cutting edge technology.  Which I kind of saw coming 13 years ago since I bought my first.

So if you cook and bake you need a Thermomix ASAP! Get yours here: and when you add it to your cart be sure to select the 6 month interest free option with PayPal

 

HEALTHY CONDENSED MILK
 
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Healthy condensed milk! So perfect! Just 3 ingredients. So simple! Vegan, Paleo, Keto, Low Carb, no added sugar.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2 cups coconut milk powder I used Enature brand (you can buy a dairy free vegan creamer powder also: just check the ingredient list so that there are no funky ingredients) most can be found on Amazon
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 generous pinches of Maldon Salt or any flaky sea salt
Method
  1. Sift coconut milk, put in a Thermomix and add water, salt and vanilla and mix at medium low speed. Cook at 80 C until thick. Put in a sterilized Mason Jar. Alternatively you can make this in a stainless steel pot and mix at medium heat. But making it in your Thermomix is so much easier, faster and you can almost forget about it while you do something else.

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THE BEST GLUTEN FREE PEANUT BUTTER OAT COOKIES

Over the Summer we visited Waco Texas home of Magnolia Market and Magnolia Silos bakery and the city that the fixer uppers: Joanna and Chip Gaines have taken to another level which was a total #bucketlist for me. I spent all last year in the Real Estate industry looking for my baking school and became obsessed with watching every fixer upper show on TV (and I rarely watch TV) so living the Waco life for a day was awesome! I highly recommend the visit!

The best part of Magnolia Silos Bakery were these peanut butter gluten free oat cookies which where by far better than any other pastry in the bakery (I tried many) and are even better than any “traditional” peanut butter cookie I have ever had. And I don’t say this lightly because if you know me you know that I go to a lot of bakeries!

So naturally I came back home and IMMEDIATELY wanted to recreate this cookie as soon as we drove back to Austin it was that life changing. So after making 4 really bad attempts and failing miserably at the texture and proportions I had to let it go (that seems to be my strategy for when things don’t go well: I surrender and let go: for a while..).

I then went to Mexico City to visit my Dad and teach 12 classes and workshops and since I had 7 awesome assistants and we had time and a lot of amazing ingredients we made the a killer recipe and I am thrilled to share it with you today. And I apologize in advance as my sharing of recipes is not that consistent as I want it to be but that is my creative process (plus I do a lot of other events, classes, collaborations that take time). So enjoy! This recipe is worth gold. And it’s not that “healthy” but a delicious alternative indulgence for those who can’t or don’t want to eat gluten. Just don’t say anything just make them and share!

 

THE BEST PEANUT BUTTER OAT COOKIES
 
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A chewy peanut butter oat cookie that will change your life regardless if it's gluten free! My personal favorite!
Author:
Cuisine: Desserts
Serves: 14 medium
Ingredients
  • INGREDIENTS:
  • 120 grams European butter, unsalted at room temperature but still cold
  • 170 grams brown sugar (use only the very soft kind, I like the less dark one)
  • 4 grams fine sea salt
  • 60 grams eggs (mix and scale)
  • 8 ml vanilla extract
  • 15 grams almond milk
  • 180 grams my gluten free flour * (it is amazing!)
  • 6 grams gluten free and aluminum free baking powder (at high altitude use half)
  • 3 grams baking soda (at high altitude use half)
  • 150 grams gluten free oats such as Bobs Red Mill
  • 50 grams peanuts chopped
  • 100 grams peanut butter (I love Trader Joes Valencia peanut butter most of all).
  • @jacobsensaltco to sprinkle on top
Method
  1. Preheat convection oven to 350°F. Line a baking tray with a Silpat. Sift flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. In the mixer with a paddle, mix butter and sugar just until combined. Add egg, vanilla and mix well. Add oats and milk and mix well, add peanut butter and mix until combined.
  3. Add the sifted flour and combine just until incorporating—add the peanuts—mix well.
  4. Use a #24 Scoop and place the cookies onto the prepared cookie + flatten lightly onto the tray leaving enough room between them. Sprinkle with salt. Bake aprox 12 mins. Time depends on your oven.
  5. Cookies should be golden and crisp on the edges and ​tender​ inside. Don't over bake! Remember cookies will continue to bake when you remove them from the oven as they sit on the hot tray. Let cool for about 10 -12 minutes, remove and let cool on a cookie rack or place on a perforated tray.
Notes
Gluten Free flour blend: mix then measure what the recipe requires
INGREDIENTS: MAKES: 1,176 grams (you can make ½ recipe)
672 grams oat flour (must be #glutenfree) such as Bobs Red Mill
210 grams brown rice flour such as Bobs Red Mill
196 grams potato or arrowroot starch (any works)
84 grams tapioca starch
21 grams powdered coconut milk (as an emulsifier)
METHOD:
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Measure the appropriate quantity called for in the recipe.

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