Jumbo shrimp. Airline food. Boneless ribs. Fuzzy logic. Some words just don’t seem to belong together. I’m betting you’d say healthy brownie falls into that category. Au contraire! How do I know that isn’t the case? Because there was a lot of “yumming” in my kitchen as a gaggle of brownie aficionados devoured these. Refined white sugar out; Grade B maple syrup in. See ya white flour; hello almond flour and brown rice flour. Fare-thee-well butter; come-on-down olive oil! Add dark chocolate, walnuts, and cinnamon, and the result is a decadent culinary oxymoron for the ages.
Makes 16 brownies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
You can also use a 9 by 6-inch baking pan. If you do, the baking time will be only about 25 minutes.
Cacao content is the amount of pure cacao products (chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder) used in the chocolate; the higher the percentage, the more antioxidants the chocolate contains. And if you’re into addition by subtraction, higher cacao percentages mean lower sugar content.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan (see note) with two pieces of foil long enough to overlap on all four sides. Lightly oil the foil.
Put the almond flour, brown rice flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
Put half of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring often, just until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the olive oil.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until frothy. Slowly add the maple syrup and maple sugar, whisking all the while, and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla extract, then gradually add the chocolate, whisking vigorously all the while, and continue whisking until smooth and glossy.
Add the flour mixture and beat for about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining chocolate and the walnuts. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature in the pan, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into 16 brownies.
Variation: For brownies that are more fudgy, replace the rice flour with another 1/3 cup of almond flour.
You can learn a lot sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck. That’s where my buddy Chris, from Zuckerman’s Farm, used to sit me down and teach me about all things asparagus. Chris worked hard--awfully hard--as a farmer. He was true salt of the earth, and as generous as they come. Normally, there’s an invisible line: farmers behind their wares and buyers on the other side, but Chris always insisted I “step into his parlor.” Both of us were always so excited when the first asparagus of the season showed up. He’d put aside a bunch for me, and then we’d both hop up on that tailgate and talk—about recipes, how amazingly nutritious asparagus is, and, a lot of the time, about life and family.
Chris passed away not long ago, and I felt the best way I could honor him was to create a recipe featuring his favorite veggie. I think he would have enjoyed this, and I hope you will too.
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Peeling the asparagus gets rid of the stringy, sometimes tough outer layer and exposes the sweet flesh underneath. To peel it, use a regular vegetable peeler with a light touch to shave off just the skin. This technique is not necessary with thin asparagus spears.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Put the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Put them in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes as it preheats, until aromatic and browned. Transfer to a plate or, if you’d like to remove the skins for a more refined texture and appearance, wrap them in a towel and give them a good rub. The majority of the skins will come right off. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts.
Put the asparagus on the same baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt. Toss gently to evenly coat the asparagus. Bake for 8 minutes, until just barely tender.
Put the lemon juice, the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl and mix well with a small whisk.
ut the arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss until evenly coated. Mound the arugula on individual plates or a platter and arrange the asparagus on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top.
Variation: Substitute toasted pistachios or walnuts for the hazelnuts.