Dark chocolate mint brownies (dairy-free, gluten/wheat free)

Sooo I’ve been given over a kilo of chocolate this Christmas. I’m not kidding. So in a bid to create some cakey bakey goodness, I’ve been using a lot of it up in chocolatey baked goods.Don’t worry, I’ve eaten some of the chocolate, but it’s the temptation of it sitting in my kitchen, calling to me…

I also must apologise for my lateness of posts. Somehow December slipped by, and with 3 deadlines, two part time jobs, multiple hospital visits and a small operation, baking was very much behind the scenes. I made mince pies, gingerbread, white chocolate, orange and cranberry oatmeal cookies, brownie bites and homemade chocolates. To photograph them all, edit them, write out the recipes, whilst dealing with my final year project and being in pain was a lot to deal with, so I figured I’d get back into it once I was all recovered, which I am. It’s been almost 3 weeks now and I feel so much better and almost back to my usual self!

And I know that with the new year brings ‘weight loss’ and ‘clean eating’ but I’m a firm believer in balance, and one brownie is January is not going to kill you. I’d rather just eat it than obsess over it all month and eventually binge on all the junk food! Moderation is key my friends. dsc_0807The story behind these brownies was that I tried to bake choc mint cookies with almond flour (as one of my close friends is gluten and wheat intolerant) and they were an epic fail. They stuck to the tray, spread ad merged into each other, crumbled, and weren’t pretty looking enough to give away as a gift at all. So I do what I usually do with failed baked goods that still taste alright, I folded them into brownies. Brownies are my lifesaver for recycling baked goods, just crumble in your broken cookies, bits of cake scraps, whatever. It usually brings something good to them as the moistness of a brownie covers up a multitude of sins. And holy moly, these brownies brought the cast off cookies to a whole new level of incredible. The crumb was moist, cakey, but also fudgy enough to please both sides of the brownie party. dsc_0784I made them dairy and gluten free just by chance, because I didn’t have any flour in the house, only the leftover almond flour from making a wheat free dessert for my friend, and the dairy free butter because I’m not great with dairy anyway and my post Christmas stomach is crying for a break. It’s super easy to make anything dairy free with the dairy free spreads you can get, they don’t change the flavour of a cake too much and they bake the same as a normal baking spread would! My biggest calamity was that I had no baking powder in the house, only baking soda, and I couldn’t find a recipe for almond flour brownies that used baking soda anywhere. So you know what I did? I improvised with my baking knowledge, and these beautiful brownies were born.dsc_0812

Ingredients:
75 grams (dairy free) butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups almond flour/ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp white wine vinegar
Dark chocolate mints, such as Bendicks, after eights, thin mints
(Basically any dark chocolate mints, I used a mix of mint chocolate and the chocolate covered mint fondants)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350°F. Grease and line a 9×13 tin with butter and a dusting of cocoa powder or baking parchment.

Cream the butter, vanilla, salt and sugars together. Add in the baking soda and mix through. Add in the vinegar and mix again.

Beat in the cocoa powder with one egg. Add half the almond flour and the second egg. Add the rest of the almond flour and the last egg. Fold the mint chocolates into the mixture and dollop into your lined tin. Spread the mixture out evenly to the corners.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out almost clean. The brownies will continue to cook a little in the pan once taken out so make sure there is a really small amount of batter left on the skewer. Cool on the side and drizzle with dark chocolate melted with a splash of milk.

Cut into squares and serve!

dsc_0826dsc_0782dsc_0789If you want to mix these up a little, how about trying another flavour of chocolate, such as orange or strawberry? So long as you use a mixture of fondant based sweets and flavoured chocolate, the flavour will come through and work really well with the dark chocolatey brownie mix. Give it a go and let me know!

Until next time, keep baking!

Love Sian xxx

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