This recipe enabled me to finally use (almost) all my new Christmas kitchen toys! A new shiny green hand mixer, fancy knife, and napkins handmade by my mom and sister were all much appreciated today. Not that I need extra motivation to cook, but my new toys definitely gave me an extra pep boost while baking. So this is just a shout-out to the wonderful members of my family who have all contributed immensely to my cooking career! I am a lucky girl.
Now onto the recipe of the day…homemade nutella turned into dairy-free, gluten-free nutella brownies! These are incredibly indulgent tasting without the actual indulgent guilt. The first half of this recipe is dedicated to the making of the dairy-free nutella. Even Whole Foods doesn’t carry this, and I was just craving that rich chocolate-hazelnut taste. Turns out it’s super easy to make! Throw some hazelnuts, cocoa powder, agave, and a couple other little ingredients in a food processor and voila- delicious nutella. My nutella recipe was inspired by one of my favorite “healthy sugar high” blogs, Chocolate-Covered Katie.
The nutella is amazing on its own, on toast, fruit, or whatever else your heart desires. However, I wanted more, aka gooey rich brownies. These are dairy-free and gluten-free. In fact there’s only a half cup of flour in the whole batch, and it’s oat flour. This was my first experience using oat flour, and I really liked how nice of a match it was to normal flour- not as complicated as figuring out the ratios for almond or coconut flour. Much of my “dry” mixture came from cocoa powder though- my personal favorite superfood. Not only is cocoa a decadent treat, but it is low in calories and high in fiber, iron, and magnesium. More importantly it is packed with antioxidants and most importantly it contains a chemical called phenethylamine, which causes your brain to release endorphins to make you feel happy! Yes, there is a neurological reason for the rush of happiness when biting into chocolate, and especially these brownies. 🙂
If you aren’t convinced yet, maybe the addition of hazelnuts will do the trick. Although there’s already hazelnuts in the nutella, I wanted the extra crunch in the brownies so added a whole cup of crushed hazelnuts to the mixture at the very end. These little nuts (and all other kinds) have been big talk in the health news as of late. The New York Times just published two articles last month to endorse snacking on nuts. Here’s one example. So here you go- this is your opportunity to have your cake and eat it too! Each brownie is only 130 calories. Healthy indulgences are the best.
Nutella Ingredients (makes 1 cup):
- 1 heaping cup dry roasted hazelnuts
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp almond milk, unsweetened
- 2 tbsp agave syrup
- Place whole hazelnuts in food processor and grind until it has butter consistency.
- Add in the other ingredients and pulse to combine, until creamy.
- (It’s okay if it’s still grainy- does not affect taste or brownies).
Brownie Ingredients (makes 24 squares):
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1 cup homemade nutella (see above)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup dry roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine dry ingredients (oat flour through baking powder) in a small bowl and whisk to combine well.
- Add melted coconut oil, nutella, and sugars to a large bowl and mix together with an electric mixer.
- Add in vanilla and eggs and mix until well-blended and smooth.
- Slowly add in flour mixture, mixing throughout.
- Stir in chopped hazelnuts by hand.
- Lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan with coconut oil and pour batter into pan, scraping sides of bowl with a spatula.
- Make sure batter is evenly spread around pan and place in oven.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until top is set but when toothpick is inserted, is still just slightly gooey.
- Let cool completely and cut into squares.
- Serve with a tall glass of almond/coconut milk! 🙂