Salted Caramel Brownies

I’m halfway done with this 30 day no dairy crap. Can you tell it’s getting old? It is. The problem is more that I want the option to have dairy, not necessarily that I need it. I’m not real good with living with boundaries and rules. They’re just not my thing. I want to be able to go to a restaurant and not have to be a pain in the ass about it, you know? It’s stressful. I can tell you, come February 1st, there will be a gigantic cheese party at my house with brie being the guest of honor.

Anyway…..so I was hunting around trying to find something that I could make that would calm the monthly beast that is my hormones. Ladies, I’m sure you know what that’s like. I saw the picture for this recipe and it said “Paleo” on it. I thought there was no way that was Paleo and it must be a mistake. I clicked on it and read the ingredients. My first thought:

What? No. No No No

So yesterday I thought that I’d be brave and try it with an open mind and no expectations.

I made the first layer and tasted it. It was pretty darn good. Then, I don’t know what came over me, but I was about to lick the blade of the food processor to get the remaining bits off of it. Thankfully, I came to my senses and realized that I, in fact, didn’t need a forked tongue. I continued on making the next layer and thought that it seemed impossible to make caramel out of these ingredients. Lo and behold, it was pretty close to caramel in texture and taste. I was confident I’d like the next layer because it’s basically straight up chocolate and coffee. Combine all these layers and they make for a fantastic Paleo dessert.  Hell, if no one told me what was in it, there’s no way I’d know. Mr. Coconut Detector (my husband) tasted slight hints of coconut, so he will not be eating them. What a shame! Now they’re all for me!

If you’re doing this dairy-free Paleo challenge with me, you’ll for sure want to try these. *Note: they are hard to make look pretty, but I assure you they taste great.

Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies

Bottom Layer:

12 pitted dates
1/2 c. almond butter
1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
2 T. honey
3 T. cocoa powder
1 t. cinnamon
pinch of salt

Middle Layer:

12-14 pitted dates that have been soaked in water for 1 hr.
5-6 T. full fat coconut milk
3 T. water
1 t. vanilla
pinch of salt

Top Layer:

1 c. dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
1/2 c. full fat coconut milk
2 t. instant coffee granules [Next time, I would use instant espresso because it's not as gritty.]
pinch of sea salt

Put all of the Bottom Layer ingredients in a food processor and blend until all are combined. It will form a ball. Press the mixture into a large bread loaf pan. You don’t even need to clean the food processor at this point.

Put the dates from the Middle Layer list into a food processor and pulse until they are broken down (about 30 seconds). While the food processor is still running, add coconut milk tablespoon by tablespoon. Then do the same for the water. Now add the vanilla and salt and keep it running until it makes a smooth caramel. This will take 3-5 minutes. Pour caramel over the bottom layer and spread evenly.

To make the top layer, carefully melt the chocolate chips and coconut milk in the microwave. I’d do it in 20 second intervals, stirring in between each interval. Once it’s completely melted, add the coffee (or espresso) and stir to dissolve. Pour over caramel layer and spread evenly. Now put it in the freezer for about half an hour to set. Sprinkle with sea salt.Cut into desired size and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from PaleOMG

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