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Baking Soothes the Soul.

TheCreativeMama_KimberlyPeck

I should have been a baker. One of my very favorite ways to unwind is to head into my kitchen and bake up something delicious. I love the meditative quality of measuring, mixing and creating – Muffins, cakes, and cookies are staples around here. When the reality set in that most bakers wake up in the dark, in those wee early morning hours to start their day, I dropped my ‘I should open a bakery’ dream like a just out of the oven hot cake. I am not a morning person, especially one that starts before the sun is even up. Thankfully I can bake any time of the day in my small but functional kitchen, making treats and messes along the way. And, with the holidays just around the corner, my Must-Have Holiday Baking list is being written down.

This recipe is certainly at the top of the list – the wonderful union of almond butter and chocolate in brownie form makes me very happy indeed. And others too…these do not last long in my house. They are perfect for a little treat during your day, or, to bring to the million holiday gatherings we all have at this time of the year. Yum.

I adapted this recipe from the new quarterly publication, Simple Scratch Cooking, put out by In Jennie’s Kitchen. I have made it gluten-free, with less sugar, and replaced the butter with coconut oil. Heaven on earth!

Enjoy your holiday season and remember to treat yourself to a little something!

This article was written by Kimberly.

TheCreativeMama_KimberlyPeck

Chocolate Almond Butter Swirl Brownies (gluten-free)
All ingredients listed are GF in my kitchen...if you are looking to bake totally gluten free, make sure you check and research all of your ingredients. And, as always, the quality of your baked goods depends on the quality of your ingredients.
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For the brownies
  1. 6 ounces chocolate chips (any flavor, though I like milk chocolate)
  2. 1/2 cup refined coconut oil, somewhat soft but not melted
  3. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  4. 1/3 cup GF all purpose flour
  5. 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1/2 cup cane sugar
For the almond butter swirl
  1. 1/2 cup smooth almond butter (or chunky, if you prefer)
  2. 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, somewhat soft
  4. 1/2 cup cane sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, grease top of parchment paper (where batter will go).
  2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add chocolate and coconut oil and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until they are both melted. Add vanilla extract and stir to combine. Set bowl aside to cool.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of electric mixer, add the eggs and sugar and beat on medium until thick and pale yellow, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Blend cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and mix on low speed. Slowly add in the flour mixture on low speed, careful not to over mix.
  6. Combine the almond butter swirl ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds, until coconut oil is completely melted. Stir until mixture is smooth.
  7. Spread the brownie batter in the prepared baking dish. Add almond swirl in dollops over the top of the batter, and use a butter knife to swirl it in circles into the brownie batter.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven), until the center is set and a toothpick inserted will come out with a few crumbs. Your kitchen will smell heavenly. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
Notes
  1. You can replace the coconut oil with butter, or the almond butter with peanut butter. Either way, delicious!
Adapted from Simple Scratch Cooking, vol. 1, Fall 2014
The Creative Mama http://www.thecreativemama.com/

About Kimberly


Artist Kimberly Peck received her first camera at the age of seven, fell in love with farms in the first grade, and now creates organic free-range photography in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. Making an art-filled home with her husband and three children, she seeks to capture the honesty and serendipity of the everyday. Her photographs have been exhibited around New England, and her work has appeared in Taproot, Monadnock Table, and Yankee magazines. In 2013, Kimberly published her first book, Farm, Food, Life: Photographs + Recipes Inspired by Local Farms. Motivated by her artistic desire to create a visual documentary of hard-working New England farmers, Farm, Food, Life deepens our connection to local farmers and producers.

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