Deep Chocolate Black Forest Brownies

Vegan. Grain free (paleo). Brownies.

So…. that pervasive day of chocolate and flowers is drawing near, you know the one. Here are three (generalized) camps you might park yourself in:

1. You love it, love to love it, love all it stands for, get out all the pink and red and roses and hearts and glitter and go for it.

2. Whatever, a nice meal out, drink wine, smooches if you give me flowers. Pass me the chocolate.

3. Go away. Valentines day was created by card and gift companies and has nothing what-so-ever to do with real love. Cupid, who was that anyway? Real love cannot be bought. And I don’t eat that crap.



Seriously, camp 3, lighten up and just honor the chocolate.

When I had young kids at home Valentine’s Day was my favorite. We’d decorate the windows with clear conatct paper hearts that had spoonfulls of glitter in them (that shit’s like pine needles at Christmas.. every where until next September), invite friends over and have an all out dessert (sugar) party: Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake, heart shaped cookies, homemade marshmallows, shirley temples…you know the drill. Gifts of lip gloss and underware (what? all that cute Valentine’s Day underware, how could I not?). I am so grateful for those memories

Now that my girls are grown, the meaning just doesn’t hold up for me. They were absolutely the reason holdiays were special at all. Now, whatever, I try. The man is more camp 3, though he definitely appreciates a good meal and dessert. [Also, when you’ve gone grain, nut, dairy and egg free that Cherry Cheesecake is a bit of a big challenge].

So here we are at dessert, or treats, snacks, lunch box surprises.  Make these for the healthy die-hard Valentine’s Day fan. Make these for the one who likes a good sweet with out the sappy love stuff. Make these to soften up camp 3 ( give them the whole pan full).



Black Forest Brownies  (vegan, paleo)

2/3 cup tigernut flour
1/3 cup good quality cocoa or raw cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 Tbsp arrowroot flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp flax seed meal
1/4 cup liquid (cherry juice for Black Forest, water or dairy free milk choice)
6 oz (1 cup) dairy free dark chocolate, either in chunks or chips
1/2 cup firm coconut oil

Optional: 1 cup thawed frozen sweet cherries, drained, juice reserved

Pre-heat oven to 350*

Whisk flax meal into a 1/4 cup cherry juice ( or chosen liquid), set aside.

Prepare a square baking pan with 2 rectangles of parchment paper crossing over each other,  allowing the paper to go up the sides. Use a light coating of coconut oil to help the paper stick.

Place all remaining dry ingredients in a fine mesh sieve set over a medium size bowl, stir the dry ingredients to combine and press through the sieve, this helps remove any gritty tigernut skin out of the flour.

Melt chocolate and coconut oil together over a double boiler or in the microwave in 30 second increments. Stir well to combine, add flax meal mixture and stir again.

Combine wet ingredients into dry, stir well until incorporated.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, if using cherries, press approximately half of them into the batter. Bake for 15 minutes then turn pan, bake another 15 minutes. Let brownies cool then place the whole pan in the freezer until cold, this helps them keep their shape and adds to their gooey texture.
To remove brownies lift the parchment paper, loosening all four sides before lifting. Cut brownies. Store in refrigerator or freezer, they will soften at room temp.

Serve with the additional cherries and a sprinkling of cocoa powder.



Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake

Have you all recovered from the holidays? Eaten and drank your way through a gazillion pounds of salad and fruit? Good, now you’re ready to get back to real life, and just in time too, your poor body is starving for chocolate (I’m basing this solely on a singular experience, mine, and generalizing because I can’t possibly be alone in this, right?).

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The Devil resides here.

I compromise with my body, I get to fill my desperate chocolate craving and it gets to stay healthy. ish (the word on the healthyness of chocolate is not terribly convincing but it MAKES US HAPPY).

It’s time for a little devilish play.

This cake recipe is free of all grains (and therefore gluten free, yes I’ve been asked that),  free of dairy, free of nuts, it uses coconut sugar and maple syrup to sweeten (except the donut glaze). It does contain eggs, I haven’t been successful (yet) in the grain free vegan catagory.

This cake calls for coconut milk yogurt, see my excellent recipe here and here to make delicious additive-free VEGAN yogurt at home. You will also need tiger nut flour which is a wonderful flour made from a pre-biotic fibre rich teeny tuber, so you’ll want it anyway.

And it makes killer donuts:

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The Devil as a donut.

I don’t have pretty step-by-step pictures. You’ll be fine.


(grain free, dairy free, nut free)

Makes one round cake, 8 cupcakes or 12 donuts

Dry ingredients:

1 cup tiger nut flour

1/3 cup good quality cocoa powder

1/2 cup arrowroot powder

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

2 tsp psyllium husk powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon (if desired)

Wet ingredients:

3 eggs at room temperature, beaten

1/4 cup maple syrup (or coconut nectar)

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup coconut milk yogurt 

Method: Pre-heat oven to 350*

Coat your chosen pan with a baking spray or coconut oil (8-9 inch springform, donut mold, or muffin tin for cupcakes, or use liners).

In a small bowl whisk to combine all dry ingredients, pressing out any lumps, set aside.

In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk room temperature eggs. If your eggs are cold the coconut oil will not emulsify into the wet batter (you can warm cold eggs by placing them in warm water 30 minutes before cracking them open, changing the water after 15 min). Add remaining wet ingredients and whisk until fully blended and thick, a minute or two.

Combine dry and wet ingredients blending until completely incorporated. Pour batter into spring form pan or spoon evenly into donut mold, filling nearly full.

Bake cake for 50-60 minutes, bake donuts 20-30 min and bake cupcakes 30-40 min; until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with crumbs but not wet. Let cool before unmolding.

Leave cake whole or, once cooled, slice in two through the center to create a layer.

Coconut Milk Ganache

Makes enough for a cake with one layer, cupcakes, donuts with some leftover (but that is no problem, right?)

1 cup dairy free chopped chocolate or chocolate chunks

1 cup full fat coconut milk, using all the firm coconut milk and enough of the thin milk to equal one cup

2 Tbsp coconut oil


Place chocolate and coconut oil in a heat proof or stainless bowl. Bring coconut milk almost to a boil then pour over chocolate. Stir well to combine, let cool to room temperature then refrigerate.  Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the ganache until thick and fluffy. This ganache will soften at room temperature, so keep it refrgerated until ready to use.

Once cake or cupcakes have cooled use a spatula to spread frosting fancifully.



Coconut Milk Glaze with Raspberries

2 cups organic powdered sugar (plus more if needed to acheive desired consistancy)

1/4 cup warm full fat coconut milk (stirred well)

2 Tbsps crushed freeze dried raspberries, plus more for topping


Whisk powdered sugar into warmed coconut milk, add crushed raspberries, adjust consistency by adding more powdered sugar a teaspoonful at a time, or adding water a few drops at a time. The glaze should be thick but still pourable.

Once donuts are cool enoungh to pop out of their molds, place them on a rack set over  parchment paper or a baking sheet. Spoon glaze over each one, letting it drip down the sides a bit ( it shouldn’t be so thin that it runs over the donut). Press freeze dried raspberries onto tops of donuts.

EAT. Share. Enjoy.