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.


For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, subscribe to receive posts via email, or make a donation.  

Choco-love:

One year ago:
Two years ago:
Three years ago:
Four years ago:

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)
1/2 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.

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.

23 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. :)

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

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

    ReplyDelete
  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!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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. :)

      Delete
  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!

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

      Delete
  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!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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!

      Delete
  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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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. :)

      Delete
  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.

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

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

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

      Delete
  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 :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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!

      Delete
  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?

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

      Delete
    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!

      Delete
  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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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. :)

      Delete

Nice comments make me warm and fuzzy!