The Peanut Butter to my Chocolate
It’s been ages since I’ve made brownies. Because brownies are just too delicious. I try *not* to bake all the time these days, because when I do it’s hard *not* to eat the whole batch in two days. And because it’s hard to bake yummy treats without all the yucky ingredients.
But I’ve really had the urge to bake lately and my gluten-free dairy-free sugar-free baking skills are improving, so I went ahead and made some paleo double chocolate chunk cookies the other week. And yup, they went fast! But there was no reason to feel guilty because they were clean and sugar-free.
Then I had some peanut butter on hand that I was trying not to eat straight out of the jar. So I was like hm maybe I’ll throw some peanut butter and chocolate together somehow… peanut butter chocolate brownies! Because the peanut butter- chocolate combo just makes life SO much better, amiright?
Long gone are my days of craving Reese’s, but my love of that peanut butter-chocolate combo will never die. Ever. And frankly, if you get the right kind of peanuts and chocolate, it’s not actually bad for you.
Wait, what? Brownies that can actually enhance your brain power? Yeah, it just might now be a thing. This recipes nixes the inflammation-including ingredients like refined flour and sugar, and replaces them with healing, health-benefit containing ingredients. Think almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch (which is actually healing for the gut), pure cacao, and maple syrup (or a sugar-free version if you want to keep it really sugar-free).
Plus ground flax seed eggs: flax contains a super high quantity of Omega 3s, which is seriously lacking in our modern-day diets, and which is super essential for brain health. Our brains need healthy fats. Flax provides that. Eggs also contain a solid amount of omegas plus choline, so if you prefer you can keep normal eggs in the recipe. I decided to go the flax route as it has extra omegas.
Then I topped mine with a half-made, two-minute version of avocado frosting – not dissimilar from my mousse. I just used avocado, cacao powder, lakanto, and vanilla extract. That avocado adds healthy fats and loads of potassium, folate, and Vitamins K, C, E and B5 and B6. Your brain will love you.
And then we have the peanut butter.
Health Benefits of Peanuts
First off, obviously some people have severe peanut allergies. So they’re clearly not great for those people. In that case, swap out peanut butter for any other nut or seed butter and the recipe will still work. It just obviously won’t taste like peanuts.
But if you’re up on the ins and outs of the paleo diet, you may be also aware that peanuts are actually rather controversial as a health food. They are not paleo. Peanuts are legumes and legumes are not typically considered paleo. Peanuts even less so. But. Putting that aside for now, peanuts in their pure natural form do in fact contain a solid bunch of health benefits.
Most interesting to me are the brain-boosting benefits of peanuts. Niacin, or B3, improves brain functioning and boosts memory. Peanuts also contain resveratrol, which improves blood flow to the brain by 30 percent. They also contain tryptophan which is an essential amino acid precursor for serotonin, helping to fight depression. Additionally, peanut consumption has been linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. A veritable brain-boosting bonanza! 😉
There is also evidence that peanuts help prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as gallstones. Furthermore, the folic acid contained in peanuts is a key nutrient for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. The nutrients in peanuts are also linked to improved nails, skin, and hair.
In addition to fiber, protein, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, peanuts contain a slew of minerals like copper, iron, and magnesium, phytonutrients, antioxidants, potassium, and vitamins like vitamin E and thiamine.
Eat At Your Own Risk
But back to the controversy. When you boil it down, there are plenty of ‘health foods’ that contain less than savory toxic anti-nutrients like lectins and pectins, and in the case of peanuts, the even more insidious aflatoxin. Honestly, the evidence is most definitely not in favor of peanut consumption, ever. Even if you eat organic peanut butter from glass jars (as I do), the risk of contamination and exposure is extremely high.
So why on earth am I posting a recipe with peanut butter and going on about how healthy peanuts are…? Well sometimes ya just gotta live. And nutrition is very complex. Aside from pure H2O, the ‘perfect’ food might not exist. Even finding perfectly pure water is pretty much impossible these days anyway – unless you reverse osmosis the crap out of it. Literally.
When it comes to questionable health foods like legumes and even kale, moderation is key. Personally, I feel that once in a while, taste buds can trump logic. Just not every day. And be sure to choose organic foods in safe packaging as much as possible.
The best way to determine if a food works for you is to test it. Eliminate the crap from your diet, do a detox to cleanse your system, and then add questionable foods back, one at a time. Yeah, it’s a process. But your health is worth it!
All that said, if you’re actually healing from cancer or any other disease, it’s best to avoid peanuts! It’s just not worth the risk. This does not mean you have to avoid them forever, but it is crucial to avoid any food that causes inflammation or has a high risk of toxic contamination when your body is in healing mode.
…. still want the recipe? Of course you do! Because this 100% works with other nut or seed butters, like almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or peanut-free mixed nut and seed butter which is deeeelicious. And these are all paleo-approved.
So here ya go and have at it!
PeaNut Butter Brownies: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Recipe
Your favorite nut butter in a brain-boosting brownie recipe, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and vegan!
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 6 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup 100% dark chocolate bits you can use your favorite chocolate chips, but the darker the better and be aware that they might not be free of dairy or soy
- 1/2 cup peanut butter, or nut butter of choice
- 3/8 cup maple syrup or Lakanto* maple flavored syrup for sugar-free
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp monk fruit can sub 1/8 cup coconut sugar
Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper or lightly coat with coconut oil. Make flax eggs by combing the ground flax with the water in a small bowl. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.
While flax eggs are setting, melt the dark chocolate, nut butter, and maple syrup in a double boiler on the stove. Stir regularly to make sure it doesn't burn or seize up and combine thoroughly.
Remove the melted mixture from the stove. Add vanilla and flax eggs and mix until thoroughly combined.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients until thoroughly combine.
Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix until just combined. The mixture will be thick.
Spread the mixture evenly so it covers the bottom of the pan. These brownies will not be super thick (portion control!).
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting.
Optional: top with avocado frosting/ mousse and eat up!
Lakanto syrup is 100% sugar-free, gluten-free, and suitable for Keto, Diabetics, Candida, Paleo, Vegan, Low Carb, Low Sugar, All Natural diets. It does contain erythritol so it may not be suitable for those who experience digestive upset with sugar alcohols. I wanted to test it out out of curiosity, and honestly it tastes pretty good and doesn't really give me digestive upset.