My sister, Shannon, told me about a Paleo candy bar her friend made the other day that was DELICIOUS and shared that they seemed much healthier for you than other bars or sweets. I’ve seen the word “Paleo” all over, especially on Pinterest, but had no clue what it was. Shannon told me that it was low-to-no-carb, no-gluten, and non-dairy which interested me because I avoid dairy and as I’m trying to lose weight, the low-carb thing might be a good thing. That was the extent of my Paleo research! Well, a bit more, the other night I was at Natural Grocers and overheard a woman tell another woman that the Paleo lifestyle is “eating how cavemen ate”. Huh?
Anyway, I was intrigued by Shannon’s experience so I looked into Paleo candy bar recipes on Pinterest. Then I remembered that I had also seen Paleo Brownies so I checked out those recipes too. Interesting that cavemen ate candy bars and brownies, right?
I thought I might as well pin both recipes and decide later which one to try out. One night when I was in the mood to experiment in the kitchen (and had a hankering for dessert—let’s be honest, that hankering happens pretty often), I checked in with Ryan to see what he was in the mood for. We both agreed that the brownie option sounded better so that’s the direction I headed. Here’s the original posting for the recipe I used: Easy Peas-y Paleo Brownies.
I didn’t think much of the ingredient list when I first read through it. Then I ran to pick up the two ingredients I needed and it started to sink in. Here’s the ingredient list, see what sticks out to you:
1 cup pure maple syrup ($8.35)
¾ cup natural cocoa powder (had in our pantry)
1 cup almond butter ($8.79)
2 tsp vanilla extract (had in our pantry)
½ tsp baking powder (had in our pantry)
½ tsp salt (had in our pantry)
1 egg (in our fridge)
¼ cup dark chocolate chips (in our pantry)
So those of you who know my thrifty, couponing ways are probably thinking, “why in the heck
did you go ahead with these brownies?” Well, two reasons, 1.) I was curious about how in the
world you’d get yummy, “healthier” brownies from these ingredients and 2.) I was now
cravingbrownies! But look at the prices of the two of the ingredients I ran to get, they total
$17.00! The syrup was 8 ½ ounces and you needed to use 8 ounces (one cup) in your recipe.
The recipe called for about half of almond butter in the container I bought. So I guess you could
say that the almond butter cost $4.40 for this recipe….but that is still $12.00 brownies! My
thoughts…they’d better be worth it!
I’ve included the recipe’s instructions with my own comments in italics.
1.) Heat syrup on low heat on the stove. Stir in cocoa powder over low heat until smooth. This was weird. At first my cocoa powder just sat on top of the syrup. It kind of looked like an oil spill! Even stirring it round and round, it just hung out on top. I decided to “fold” the powder into the syrup and that seemed to help the two ingredients mix together.
2.) Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Adding the salt, vanilla, and baking powder didn’t seem like a big deal, but adding the large amount of almond butter was very interesting! It was a big glob that required a lot of stirring to blend in, but eventually it disappeared into the dark batter.
3.) Pour into an 8×8 baking pan greased with olive oil or coconut oil. Or spray Pam on it quickly. Bake at 325F for 40-50 minutes. Why is the temperature underlined? Well because I added 100 degrees to it…yep, I cooked our EXPENSIVE brownies at 425. And even when it smelled like something was BURNING in the oven, I didn’t think anything of it…just thought, “huh, must be the weird ingredients cooking which makes it smell different”…it probably didn’t help that I was juggling cleaning the kitchen, putting Evan to bed, putting Evan back in bed (2x), and keeping an eye on the brownies at the same time! I guess I’m lucky I didn’t burn down the house, right?
4.) Use a toothpick to make sure it’s cooked through. I could definitely SKIP this step, ours was not just done, but OVERDONE! Cool before cutting/serving. For us, I needed to make sure I cut and served it BEFORE it cooled and hardened!
So how did it all end?
Ryan was game for trying out the messed-up, expensive brownies! And I was definitely going to
try them because I wasn’t going to make them again after realizing how much they’d cost!!! They
were not going to go to waste.
|The square portion was an edge piece we each tried, the lumpy portion was the chewy stuff from the
middle of the pan! Ice cream brought some moisture to drier-than-normal brownies…
We were both surprised that the brownies were still good. They were more cakey than they
should have been but the middle part of the brownie pan was moist and chewy, in my opinion,
yummy! There was also a slightly bitter taste at times—likely from some of the edges burning.
But maybe we’ll just call that a dark, dark, dark chocolate flavor or a hint of espresso? Maybe
not. In the end, Ryan concluded that the $2.00 brownie mix bought at the local grocery store
was just fine for him.
After all of this, I went back to the original posting to see if anyone else had concerns about how
much it cost to make these brownies and I found some interesting things in the comment
section. Some suggested using honey or agave nectar instead of syrup not just for the cost
effective element but also because either may be lower on the glycemic index. The author also
said that instead of using almond butter, you could use any other nut butter, including peanut
butter, which sounded not only cheaper and definitely yummy to me. So we’ll see, I might take
another shot at Paleo Brownies, using this recipe with the adaptations, or try out another recipe
found on Pinterest because just because I have to avoid dairy shouldn’t mean that I have to give
brownies up, right?
And for those of you who are wondering how many calories were in these brownies made with
so much syrup and almond butter, someone in the comments section indicated that there may
be as much as 1730 calories in the whole pan. That seemed crazy to me, but Ryan calculated
that it’d probably be about 200 calories per serving.
Ever had a Pinterest idea go wrong? Would love to hear about your experience. I’ve heard there
are actual blogs devoted to these types of adventures! : )