If you love extra fudgy desserts, you must try my Paleo Brownies. Regardless of your affinity for the Paleo diet, these brownies are delicious! The addition of Cordyceps mushroom powder adds a potential therapeutic effect to dessert time.
“Paleo” is short for Paleolithic, a time period also known as the Old Stone Age, think hunter and gatherers and stone tools. The Paleo period was pre-agriculture so the foods eaten were foraged fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and hunted wildlife. Hunter-gatherers may not have made brownies, but my Paleo Brownies follow the Paleo dietary guidelines.1
The Paleo Diet advises us to eat like our Paleolithic ancestors, avoiding grains, cereals, legumes, refined sugars, dairy and anything processed. Advocates of the Paleo Diet say that since humans followed a hunter-gatherer lifestyle for thousands of years, we are adapted to continue this dietary pattern. Whether you follow a Paleo diet or not, my Paleo Brownies are delicious.2
It’s hard to imagine a brownie that is free of dairy, grains and refined sugars, but these Paleo Brownies have done it! Follow along as I breakdown the ingredients substituted to make this chocolate treat, Paleo friendly.
Almond and Coconut Flour
In any baked good, flour is vital to providing structure and shape. The word “flour” is unanimous with wheat, but it is any grain, nut, seed, etc. that is ground into a powder. My Paleo Brownies are made mostly with almond flour, and 2 tablespoons of coconut flour. In a pinch you could use only almond flour, but due to its high fat and protein content it makes for a very dense, flat brownie. Adding coconut flour adds a lightness and softer mouthfeel.
Fat is key to any dessert, it provides moisture, flavor and when mixed with sugar has a leavening effect. I am using coconut oil in replace of butter or vegetable oil Coconuts are paleo friendly because they are a fruit. It is similar to butter in that it is a mostly saturated fat, an easy way to tell, is that it is solid at room temperature.
It’s hard to imagine a dessert without sweetness, which typically comes from white sugar that is made from sugarcane or sugar beets. Certainly not something our Paleolithic ancestors would have access to! I am using my all-time favorite sweetener, maple sugar. It is made from boiling down maple sugar. It is sweeter than white sugar, and has less calories!
Paleo Brownie Nutrition
The main highlight of my Paleo Brownies is the low sugar content and addition of Cordyceps mushroom powder. Read below where I explain what Cordyceps are! The low sugar content is due to using maple sugar and almond/coconut flour. A welcome change from the standard brownie that is super high in added sugars. Compared to all-purpose flour, almond flour is rich in important vitamin, minerals and fiber.
Almond flour is rich in vitamin E, providing about 35% of the Recommended Dietary Intake. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects your body from heart disease, cancer and boosts your immune system. Almond flour is also rich in Magnesium, which can help manage blood pressure and reduce insulin resistance.3
These dense, fudgy brownies are higher in protein and fat due to the use of almond flour and 3 eggs. The nutrient density of my Paleo Brownies makes them much more satiating. This will make it more likely for you to be satisfied from eating just one serving of this treat.
Cordyceps is a diverse species of mushrooms that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is now available for use worldwide! Cordyceps have many health potentials such as anti-cancer and immune boosting effects. They have 2 bioactive compounds that may increase anti-inflammatory and antioxidant levels in our body. This leads to improved cognitive function, gastrointestinal health and may even help with getting a good night’s sleep!4
You can buy cordyceps and other mushroom powders through Qi Traditions. They have a number of great products that I have been playing with in my kitchen. In addition to adding Cordyceps to my Paleo Brownies, I enjoy adding them to smoothies, oatmeal, and cookies.
Let’s Get Baking!
Now that you know the health benefits of Paleo Brownies and how they meet the Paleo diet guidelines, it’s time to mix up a batch! Follow along with the directions, and make sure not to skip on melting the chocolate and oil before mixing with the dry ingredients. Otherwise, they will bake uneven. If you are not into the mushroom powder you can opt to exclude it. Enjoy!
- Paleolithic. Accessed October 26, 2020. https://www.ancient.eu/Paleolithic/
- Tarantino G, Citro V, Finelli C. Hype or Reality: Should Patients with Metabolic Syndrome-related NAFLD be on the Hunter-Gatherer (Paleo) Diet to Decrease Morbidity? Journal of Gastrointestinal & Liver Diseases. 2015;24(3):359-368. doi:10.15403/jgld.2014.1121.243.gta
- Why Almond Flour Is Better Than Most Other Flours. Accessed October 26, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/almond-flour#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3
- Find out about the parasitic fungus that zombifies its prey and can sell for up to $50,000 a piece. Qi Traditions. Accessed October 29, 2020. https://qitraditions.com/blogs/news/cordyceps-an-original-magic-mushroom
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup maple sugar
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder
- 2 teaspoon Cordyceps mushroom powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips divided
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 8x8 or 9x9-inch baking pan (round or square) with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat until fluffy, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
- Mix in almond flour, coconut flour, cacao, Cordyceps, and vanilla and stir until combined.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, add ¾ cup chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave for 1 minute, mix, then microwave in 15-second bursts until melted, stirring between each. Pour into brownie batter and mix well. Stir in remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.
- Pour brownie batter into pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs.
- Allow to cool at least 15 minutes prior to cutting. Use parchment paper to lift out of pan then cut on a cutting board.