Thursday, July 12, 2018

PALEO ESPRESSO BROWNIES: Guest post by Libby Klein

If you follow my blog, you know I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Well, here's another instance. Today I welcome Libby Klein, author of the Poppy McAlister Mysteries, with a recipe for Paleo Espresso Brownies! The second in her series, Midnight Snacks are Murder, will be out July 31.

Libby Klein:

I have had a long love affair with chocolate. I know the experts say a true chocolate aficionado goes for very dark chocolate, but I love a creamy melty milk chocolate. My favorite form of chocolate is the truffle. Add some boozy filling or praline and I want to swoon. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease where I can’t have gluten or dairy. Well holy mackerel! Just cut off my hand instead! I’ve made a lot of adjustments to my diet, and I was so happy to discover that chocolate is one of the easiest ingredients to work with when going Paleo or Gluten Free. Cocoa powder can magically replace much of the flour in a recipe, and brownies and flourless chocolate cake can be built on the foundation of sugar and eggs. And there are plenty of dairy free chocolate ingredients to work with.

In my Poppy McAllister Mysteries, Poppy also has an autoimmune disease and can’t have gluten or dairy (What a coincidence!) When she’s not wrangling Aunt Ginny or Figaro to keep them out of trouble, she’s baking up Paleo and Gluten Free yummies. This is a gluten free chocolate recipe from Poppy’s kitchen in Midnight Snacks Are Murder, release date July 31 2018. It would be very easy to modify this for cheesecake brownies (if you can have dairy) or Peanut butter Brownies (if you can have peanuts.) Poppy likes to add a shot of espresso to deepen the chocolate flavor. Even though she has her own espresso machine, it still gives her an excuse to go see Gia at La Dolce Vida.

Paleo Espresso Brownies 

 Ingredients:
4 large eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
1 cup honey
*8 ounces melted butter or coconut oil
1 ¼ cups cocoa, sifted
1 scraped vanilla bean
½ cup tapioca starch
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 shot espresso (use 1 teaspoon of coffee extract or ¼ cup coffee if you don’t have espresso)
pinch cayenne
1 pkg allergy friendly chocolate chips (or 1 ½ cups of chopped dark chocolate)

*Use coconut oil if you are a Paleo purist. Refined coconut oil has no taste and won’t influence the flavor of the brownies.

Directions: 
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour (or PAM) an 8-inch square pan. (or line the pan with parchment paper)
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add sugars and honey. Beat until well combined.
Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
Pour the batter into a prepared 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes.
Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it's done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it's mostly cool.

***

Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She has worked as a stay at home mom, climbing the ladder up the ranks to the coveted position of Grandma. She also dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets and taking out the trash. She writes from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.

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