Cocoa Nib Brownies

Cocoa Nibs + Brownies
As a dietitian, I value eating healthy. Luckily, part of eating healthy is indulging every once and a while. These brownies are my go-to when I want something sweet and delicious. The only thing healthy about these brownies is how happy you will feel when you eat them. I’ve made these brownies for a couple of gatherings over the past few months and they have caused the same reaction – everyone asks me for the recipe! So I’m here to share my recipe to ensure you always end up with the most decadent fudge-y brownies; completed with a glossy, sugar topping. Trust me, you don’t need icing, they are rich enough on their own.

Three different types of chocolate go into creating the wonderful balance in this recipe – dark cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and crunchy cocoa nibs.

Cocoa Nibs

Cocoa nibs are roasted cocoa beans which have been chopped into small pieces.  They are bitter and crunchy and are great as a topping on yogurt or oatmeal (chocolate oatmeal – yes please!). My preference is to surround them in this rich brownie batter.  Cocoa nibs are more of a specialty item, so if you have trouble finding them you can always substitute chopped walnuts or pecans to add a similar texture.

The recipe is really easy to put together as it’s all made in one pot. You start by melting the butter and sugar together; this is the secret to achieving that beautiful crispy top sugar layer. After the sugar starts to dissolve you will need to let mixture cool down slightly before you add the eggs. Nobody wants scrambled eggs in their brownies.

Finally, whatever you do, DO NOT OVERCOOK the brownies.  This is how you achieve that fudge-y, almost truffle-like texture. No cake brownies here. You’ll know the brownies are ready when the edges are puffed and set, but the centre should still be gooey.

You will need to be patient and let the brownies cool and have a chance to set before you try to cut into them. Waiting for them to cool is the hardest part, but a very necessary step. Cutting them too soon will leave you with a brownie disaster on your hands.   These brownies are rich so I usually cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces, but most people go back for seconds!

 

Cocoa Nibs Brownies

 

Cocoa Nib Brownies

Recipe by Kirsten.  Makes one 9×13 pan.

Ingredients:

1 cup of butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup cocoa nibs

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper or foil.
2. In a large sauce pan, melt butter and sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar starts to dissolve, about 3-5 minutes.  Set aside to cool while you gather the other ingredients.
3. Add one egg at a time to the sugar/butter mixture, and stir after each addition. Next stir in the vanilla and cocoa powder until you get a glossy and smooth batter.
4. Into the chocolate mixture add the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir until you get a smooth, lump free mixture. Then stir in the chocolate chips and cocoa nibs (or nuts if using).
5. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared 9×13 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
6.  Allow brownies to cool and set before cutting. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

If you’re in need of an easy, ultra decadent, no-bake dessert I have the perfect recipe for you.  I made this dessert for a good friend’s birthday and everyone asked me to share the recipe, so here it is.  It’s almost embarrassing how simple it is to prepare.  Basically you throw all the ingredients together in a food processor and then pour into a pre-baked graham cracker crust.  The hardest part is probably waiting for the pie to set.  If you don’t have a blender/food processor you can always whisk the ingredients together by hand, but it may take a little while longer.

This pie filling has a surprise ingredient…..silken tofu! But trust me, you won’t be able to taste the tofu at all, so all you tofu haters out there please don’t stop reading here. Tofu’s flavour is fairly neutral and in this recipe it helps create a wonderful silky smooth texture, and helps the filling keep it’s shape.

This is a very rich dessert so a small piece will usually suffice. I think next time I’ll top it with some chopped peanuts for an added crunch or maybe some sliced bananas.


Chocolate Peanut Butter (Tofu) Pie

Serves 12+ people.

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons melted butter

1 300g package silken (or soft) tofu
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Prepare the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter.  Stir until evenly mixed.  Press into a 9 inch spring form pan or pie dish making sure to create a crust up the sides to hold the filling.
2. Bake crust at 375F for 8-10 minutes of until edges start to brown.  Set aside to cool.
3. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring frequently until completed melted.
4. Prepare the filling in your food processor by mixing the silken tofu and maple syrup together.  Blend on high for 1-2 minutes.  Next add peanut butter and melted chocolate and salt.  Mix on high for another 1-2 minutes or until evenly mixed
5. Poor filling into the cooled crust, smooth top with the back of a spatula, and place in fridge for at least 1 hour to allow the filling to set.
6. This pie can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Whole Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cranberries and Toffee

This is going to be a big year for me.  I’m running my first 10 km race, writing an exam, and getting married! But right now, I’m taking a break from all the studying/wedding planning/training to share this delicious cookie recipe with you. I can confidently say that these are the BEST oatmeal cookies; I know it’s a bold statement but these cookies are deserving of the title.  The recipe starts out with a basic oatmeal cookie recipe, to which I’ve added, tart dried cranberries, bittersweet chocolate chips, and finally toffee pieces to make them a truly delicious and addictive cookie.  

The secret for achieving super chewy cookies is to take them out of the oven when the cookies are just starting to brown on the edges and are still doughy in the middle. Allow the cookies to set on the cookie sheet for a least 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. The cookies will continue to bake and firm up on the cookie sheet, so don’t worry if they look underdone when you pull them out of the oven.

These cookies can be frozen after baking, but I prefer to freeze the raw cookie dough into balls and keep them in a freezer safe bag. That way I can make freshly baked gooey cookies whenever I need them – say if I need a quick dessert to bring to a pot-luck or if unexpected guests show up. It also helps with portion control. Most cookie recipes have quite large yields and with just two of us at home we don’t need 2-3 dozen cookies tempting us on the counter!  When ready to bake, simply place the frozen cookie dough balls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and allow them to thaw on the counter for 5-10 minutes. Cook at the same temperature and for the same amount of time as the original recipe.

The Best Oatmeal Cookies

Aka Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cranberries and Toffee.
Recipe by Kirsten, makes ~3 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal – I used a combination of quick and large flake oatmeal
1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
½ cup toffee bits
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Beat butter with brown and white sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until combined.
  4. Add oatmeal, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, beat until well combined.
  5. By hand stir in chocolate chips, dried cranberries and toffee pieces.
  6. Portion dough into 1 ½ inch balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet, ensuring you leave about 2 inches between cookies to allow the cookies to spread out.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cookies are brown on the edges and just starting to get golden on top.
  8. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes.

Raw cookie dough ready for the oven (or freezer!).