Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Baked Almond Pulp Brownies


The question every nut milk aficionado finds themselves asking is "what to do with all the pulp?" When we got our nifty new blender (and subsequently became hooked on these kale and nut milk smoothies) a few months ago, I found myself in the same quandary. Tossing cups and cups of pulp from organic almonds into the compost every week feels a little like throwing wads of cash in the toilet. I managed to get the pulp down to more reasonable amounts by using a combination of cashews and almonds in the milk; since cashews are mostly fat, they have less fiber to leave behind. But still, the nut pulp increased.



During a previous nut milk phase, I had tried making a layer cake comprised of nut pulp mixed with coconut oil, pureed dates, and flavorings. The recipe I tried made about ten gallons of cake, which had an overly-damp texture that I did not find endearing. We reluctantly ate it until we never wanted to think about nut milk or raw cakes again.



So I dried out the nut pulp, whizzed it in a coffee grinder, and baked it into cookies loaded with chocolate chips and spelt flour. But the drying/grinding process was tedious, and the recipe didn't use enough to really put a dent in the growing mountain of pulp.



I needed a solution, and decided that brownies might be a good way to go, since they're mostly held together with eggs, sugar, and chocolate or cocoa powder. But most of the nut pulp recipes I found were both raw and vegan, and I wasn't about to repeat the dreadful cake experience.



Luckily, a couple of recipes set me on the right path: these Grain-Free Fudgy Brownies from The Detoxinista, and this Amazing Chocolate Cake from The Veggie Voyager. I took a stab at a recipe using ingredients I had on hand – unrefined sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, nut pulp, coconut oil, and salt. They were some of the best brownies I've ever tasted – deeply chocolatey with a top note of coconut, and a melt-in-your-mouth texture reminiscent of flourless chocolate cake. (In fact, bake this in a round cake pan and serve wedges with whipped cream, and you'll have yourself one fancy-pants dessert.)



I like to whip the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy, which gives the batter some lift; but I've also successfully made these by simply whisking all the ingredients together. The nut pulp goes in damp – no drying or grinding necessary. It will keep refrigerated for up to a week, or you can freeze it for a month or two. Despite my best efforts, the tops refuse to form a pretty crust on top, but a flutter of cacao nibs disguises this fact, and also adds a habit-forming crunch.



Despite tasting super rich and decadent, these guys are relatively healthy, being free of grains, gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. Best of all, they use up almost a whole cup of almond pulp.



Of course, the best accompaniment to warm, chocolatey brownies is a tall glass of cool, fresh almond milk, so you may find yourself in a bit of a vicious cycle.



Or a virtuous cycle, depending.



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Baked Almond Pulp Brownies {Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free}

The best thing about these brownies, aside from being free of grains, gluten, dairy, and refined sugar, is that they use up the leftover pulp from making Cashew Almond Milk or Vanilla Maple Almond Milk, or any other nut pulp you may have on hand. The pulp should have been firmly squeezed dry but still be slightly damp, similar in texture to clay. 

If you lack a stand mixer or are in a hurry, you can simply whisk together all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Do take the time to warm the almond pulp and bring the eggs to room temperature (you can place them in a bowl of hot tap water for 5 minutes) as this will prevent the batter from seizing once you add the coconut oil. I baked these in a 9-inch square pan; an 8-inch pan will yield thicker brownies. Alternately, bake the batter in a round cake pan and serve wedges on plates topped with whipped cream.

All ounce measurements are by weight.

Makes 16 (2-inch square) brownies

For the brownies:
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (7 ounces / 200 grams) unrefined sugar (such as Alter Eco's Muscobado sugar, or coconut palm sugar)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces / 110 grams) extra-virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed (6 ounces / 170 grams) moist almond or other nut pulp
1 cup (3.25 ounces / 90 grams) cocoa powder (preferably dutch-processed, though natural or raw will work, too)
2-3 tablespoons cacao nibs

Make the brownies:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF (175ºC). Line the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9" square baking pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the eggs, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Meanwhile, gently melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan set over a medium-low flame. Add the nut pulp and stir to combine. Continue to heat, stirring frequently, until the nut pulp mixture is warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. (This prevents the batter from seizing up when all the ingredients are added.)

Turn the mixer to low, and add the nut pulp mixture, stirring just to combine. Sift the cocoa powder over the egg mixture and mix on low until just combined; the batter will deflate a lot.

Spread the batter in the lined pan and bake until the brownies are matte on top, slightly puffed, and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging, 15-20 minutes. Don't overbake.

Let cool completely, then lift the brownie out of the pan and cut into 16 squares. The brownies keep well, airtight at room temperature, for up to three days.


61 comments:

  1. At first glance, I was wondering why it was necessary to call these baked brownies--and then I read the article. It's definitely true--so many of the suggested recipes for nut pulps are raw! I am usually content to eat mine in smoothies and oatmeal, but I think my next batch of pulp may just have to go into a big pan of these. :)

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    1. Oatmeal! That's a great idea. Thanks for reading and for the sweet note, Eileen!

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    2. Perhaps I did something wrong, but I made these last weekend and a friend described them as tasting more like "chocolate quiche" than brownies.

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    3. Sorry to hear it! If you tell me what changes you made, I'm happy to help problem solve. I've made these several times with success, as have other testers.

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  2. Healthy brownies? I'm in! These look soooo good!!! What a great recipe Alanna :)
    xox Amy

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  3. I too have had some failed experiences with trying to use leftover nut pulp. I totally agree that all the no bake recipes I've tried ended up soggy and just not ideal - can't wait to try this one!

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    1. Oh no! I'm sorry you've suffered the soggy nut pulp treats too, Shelly. Please let me know how you like this one if you get around to trying it. :)

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  4. These are just glorious! I have a friend who makes the best nut milks. I can't wait to send this to her...and then to taste her work! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Aw! Thanks, Monet! I hope your friend (and you!) enjoy these. :)

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  5. What a great idea! I had a freezer full of pulp for awhile .. I finally threw it out because I didn't know what to do with it. This is a great remedy!

    Whenever I do use nuts or nut/pulp though I have to go easy on the oil (and usually don't use any, if that) because of the oily, soggy factor. Instead, I rely on dates for the moisture .. even then they can sometimes get pretty moist. So I feel ya on the soggy brownie issue!

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    1. I've totally been there - freezer full of nut pulp that you keep moving around and finally...into the compost. I'm determined not to let that happen anymore, though I don't always succeed. :) (Another great recipe is the almond pulp crackers on Elana's Pantry.) Thanks for the tip re: using dates in place of oil. That's brilliant! Let me know if you give that a shot. And thank you for the note - I'm loving your blog and all the recipes look fantastic!

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  6. I made these with 1/4 a cup of olive oil plus two tablespoons, instead of coconut oil, and they came out great! The texture was delicious and so was the flavor! Thank you for the amazing recipe that helps me get rid of my leftover almond pulp. This is the best healthier brownie recipe I've tried yet.

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    1. Thanks for the note! I'm so glad you're enjoying this recipe, and it's great to know it can be made with olive oil. That sounds yummy. :)

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    2. thanks for idea about olive oil; i wanted to try with grapeseed oil or without oil... I will let you know how it turned out. But BIG Thank you to the author for great recipe

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    3. You're welcome! Please let me know how the come out.

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    4. Thanks so much for the tip! I can't have coconut oil in the house (partner has a severe allergy) so it's beautiful when folks put out alternatives!

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  7. Thank you for the recipe! I just enjoyed a piece of the brownies and I love them. The almond pulp jar is empty :) Almond pulp crackers are next in line.

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    1. I'm so happy to hear that! Thanks for the note. Hope you enjoy the crackers, too!

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  8. Great recipe! Thank you. I feel like I recycled. Followed it exactly, loved the result. Delicious!

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    1. That's awesome! Thanks for the note, and hooray for recycling, esp. when it involves chocolate. ;)

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  9. Yum!!!! My 3 year old and I followed the recipe pretty closely, but used a combo of almond and hazel nut pulp because that is what we had on hand. Didn't have cacao nibs either. The main difference in our preparation is that we only had a 6 x 8 baking dish so I baked them at more like 340ºF for about 25 min. They came out slightly crumbly and very moist and VERY delicious. Thank you for inspiring me to "recycle" my pulp while getting in my baking/chocolate fix :)

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad that you and your baking assistant gave these a go and liked them! Thanks a bunch for the note!

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  10. These are DELICIOUS!! Thank you for this recipe.

    Have you tried freezing the brownies? Do you know how they turn out if you do?

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    1. Ah ok - I just re-read your post, and you said it freezes for a couple of months. Excellent!

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    2. Hi Mia, I believe I said that the almond pulp itself can be frozen for a couple months. I haven't tried freezing the brownies themselves. But most brownies freeze well, so I think they should be fine. Please let me know!

      I'm SO glad you like these!! Thanks for giving them a go, and for the note!

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  11. Oh I see - well I popped them in the freezer and they froze beautifully. They are a little firmer post-freeze, which was great because that means they travel better! I gave the brownies to a few taste testers and they all loved it as well, both fresh and post-freeze.

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    1. Sweet! I'm so glad to know that these freeze well, and that you and your tasters are loving them! Thanks so much for the notes. :)

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  12. These are delicious! I tried vanilla instead of cocoa as well and it was fantastic too. Love both kinds though!

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    1. Oh, how cool! Like blondies! I'll have to give that a try, too. :)

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    2. Yum!
      I tried vanilla with grape seed oil (gave a bit less oil than in the original recipe) and have to tell you that they turned out very delicious with moist texture.
      I am sure that it can turn out into a vegan cake...
      My family and friends said that they loved it and proved by leaving an empty plate.
      Oh, I also used fructose this time and used cocoa nibs as with original recipe. Alanna, thanks again for sharing your great recipe! Now I have healthy cookies with almond milk for a treat!

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    3. I'm so glad that those modifications worked out! Thank you for sharing them here. Did you use a different flour in place of the cocoa powder, or just omit it? (Ps. I'm writing this while eating a piece of almond pulp bread - a new recipe I'm working on.)

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    4. No, I did not add any different flour at all in place of cocoa powder. Just those modifications I shared about. Next time I will try without any oil... I think it might turn out well as I give only few spoons of grapeseed oil, which is insignificant amount. Oh, but I added a bit more of almond pulp.

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    5. Too cool. Thanks so much for sharing your mods. :)

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  13. Hi! These look really good...can't wait to try :) One question: How do you like your Breville blender? I'm new to the blender/food processor scene and debating between a few options. I'd love to hear your thoughts if possible :)

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    1. Hi! Overall, I love it. It's smaller than the other Vita Mix knock-offs, which I like. I use it every day to make smoothies, and twice a week to make almond milk, and it handles those well. I don't think it gets the smoothies quite as smooth as the Vita Mix, but I'm not sure. The only thing that I dislike about it is the plastic top that fits into the rubbery lid. It comes loose during use and rattles annoyingly, so I have to drape a damp kitchen towel over it to keep it from making noise. I hope they fix that because otherwise it's a fabulous blender. Let me know what you decide to do - I'm curious!

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    2. Thanks for your honest feedback :) I'm leaning towards a Cuisinart 11-cup food processor to start out, but I'm not positive about a blender yet. It's definitely next on my list. :) Thanks for being so helpful!

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  14. I love this recipe! Brownies is super yummy. Thank you for the recipe and inspiration! Happy Day :)

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  15. Hi Alanna--I love your site! Such gorgeous photographs. I made these brownies last night and trashed them up a little (with a stick of butter instead of coconut oil, regular sugar, mini chocolate chips instead of cacao nibs, and a teaspoon of vanilla). I just tried one and they are SO good! The tops came out pretty nice, but that was probably from the butter. They did not slice cleanly like yours, though. I love this way of using up almond pulp! I'm allergic to coconut, and am thinking about trying these with ghee next to make them a bit healthier.

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    1. Hi Becky! I'm loving your site, too (esp. the punny name)! I'm so glad you gave these a go, especially because it made me realize a hideous oversight - I had left the vanilla out of the recipe. I've added it back in up top. Otherwise, I'm the hugest butter fan there is and would never object to it making its way into these brownies! In fact, I'm going to try these with butter next time. I bet melty chocolate chips are fantastic here, too, along with regular white sugar. I bet they'd be delicious with ghee, too. For clean slices, you can usually chill the brownies and cut them with a sharp chef's knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean and dry between cuts.

      Thanks again for the lovely note and for sharing your modifications!!

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  16. Best brownies I've EVER eaten, thank you so much! Just wanted to share one small adjustment I made to sequence of recipe:

    - Sift the cocoa powder over the egg mixture and mix on low until just combined.

    - Add the nut pulp mixture, stirring just to combine.

    Great Fullness!
    Alana

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    1. That's terrific - thanks so much for the note! I will give your mixing technique a shot next time. I appreciate your letting me know of it!

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  17. Hi Alanna, truly the best healthy brownie I've tried to date. and believe me I've tried them all and made a few recipes up myself. Though I used half and half of cocoa and carob and Rapadura Sugar and only half the quantity, they still turned out really delicious. Thank you, thank you, brownie satisfaction at last!

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad you like them - your sweet note makes my day. Those modifications sound yummy, too. :)

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  18. OMG halved the sweetener (I use dextrose powder as we are low fructose) and added a cup of raspberries in the last step. Divine!

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    1. Ooooh, raspberries sound completely divine here! I'm so doing that next time. Really glad to know dextrose powder can work here, too.

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  19. Hi there, just wanted to say thanks for the recipe, Have used it quite a few times. Its nice, and I always feel better not throwing out my almond pulp.

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  20. excellent texture in these..love the dense feel with no leavening! I am going to try no cocoa powder next time, the 1 cup was even a little dark for by tastes...and I am a dark chocolate fiend!@ Thanks for a great way to use up almond pulp!

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    1. Thanks for giving these a go! I'm glad you liked the texture, but sorry about the over-chocolateness. Out of curiosity, did you use natural or dutch processed cocoa?

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  21. These tasted so delicious! I made them tonight, and after baking 20 minutes and cooling for an hour, they are still a gooey mess. I can't imagine trying to cut them. Any idea what I did wrong?

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    1. Oh no! If you followed the directions and used the same ingredients, it's possible that your oven may run cold. Do you have a thermometer in there? I would suggest putting them back in the oven to bake them out some more. Chilling the baked brownies will make them easier to cut, too. But I'm guessing the oven's the culprit. So sorry!

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  22. Thank you. What a great idea. Now I can make guilt free almond milk. The first batch were very well received. This time I only have two large duck eggs so I have reduced the other ingredients, I hope, appropriately. I've also put in a wee sprinkle of chilli flakes and some blueberries (because they were there). Looking forward to trying them. Thanks again.

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    1. Hi Dee,

      Thanks so much for the note! I'm so glad you all liked batch #1. Batch #2 sounds amazing! Cheers. :) -A

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  23. Thank you for this amazing recipe, I wasn't sure what to do with my leftover almond pulp and this was the perfect solution! My hubby sitting on the front porch could smell them baking, and they were delicious, we ate them warm and I bet they will be even better when they cool and are a little firmer. This is a keeper! :)

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    1. Yay!!! That makes me so happy! I'm glad you two like the brownies and that they gave you something do with all that pesky almond pulp. :)

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  24. I just made these for my coworkers because we have so many people on restricted diets. They were such a hit! I recommend making "whip cream" out of coconut cream on the side!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that - thanks! Coconut cream sounds fantastic with these - yum!

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  25. Now I need to make a new batch of almond milk now that I know what to do with the pulp. Do you do anything to your pulp before saving and storing as a general rule? New to your blog but I don't see any Pin button and really. Want to save this! Am I missing something?

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    1. Hi Mary! I don't do anything to the pulp before storing it - just squeeze it as dry as I can through a nut milk bag, and stick it in a jar in the fridge or freezer. I don't have Pin buttons on my images; I use this Pin It bookmarklet that I put in my tool bar (https://about.pinterest.com/en/goodies#browser). I will look into adding buttons to my site if it will make it easier for readers to save recipes, since that's important to me. Thank you for the great questions!

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