Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dark Chocolate Chia Cherry Brownies

This recipe was found in a magazine.. that I was reading... at the gym. For those who know me, they  understand why that sentence is a bit awkward. For starters, I have never been a magazine reader. Okay, I take that back. I used to receive one magazine when I was younger: "Bird Talk." It was about birds. We had a pet cocktail for a period of time and well, I wanted to understand Mr. Sunshine better. He was a very angry bird. 

The other part that's strange (as if Bird Talk confession wasn't bad enough) is that I would be reading at the gym.  Working out has always been a form of release. Ever since high school track, running has been the best way to clear my head and come out of a slump. It's a time to sweat and exert. I could barely hold still trying Yoga in college because it was such a slower pace. 

So what ended up happening was an agitated calf muscle. I rather not look at the televisions because I get enough screen time with work. I plucked a magazine and put it on the dashboard so the clock wouldn't tick constantly in the peripheral. As I walked to warm up, I started thumbing through the pages and so started my new gym warm-up ritual. The go-to magazines are health related or reflective. I am constantly creeping for new recipes!

These brownies are the fruits of my gym rat labors! Are they not lovely? I found them in Self Magazine and snapped a picture with my phone for later use. Their health plus is that the cherries and oat flour add fiber to make them extra filling. Plus, the the eggs are rich in protein which helps your body burn calories. Don't be mistaken, these are no substitute for real cherries! We all need a little happy nom though and at least it these brownies have some benefits. 

My version has a few alterations. I reduced the all purpose flour and substituted with chia seeds. You don't even know that they're there! Feel free to add more if you so desire just know that it will make the texture have some crumble.  I also used some coconut sugar which I love. It has a natural earthy taste that goes great with just about everything. I used instant espresso instead of ground coffee and almond milk over the half and half. Either way you decided to make them, they are win.

In terms of flavor, these bad boys are RICH. My goodness, between the cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, you are in for decadent delight. Mike kept putting a heap of vanilla ice cream on his portion. Ours came out thick and moist. The cherries on to pare the stars of the show; their slight tartness really appreciates the chocolate. Make these for sharing or freeze half of the batch! They're meant to be  enjoyed slowly. 

PS Thanks again for the hella cute cupcake stand Mrs. Sullivan!

Dark Chocolate Chia Cherry Brownies
slightly modified from Self Magazine

1 cup oat flour
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 generous tablespoons chia seeds
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons finely ground instant espresso or coffee
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk or almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cherries, chopped

Heat oven to 350°. 

Coat an 8" x 8" baking dish with cooking spray. In a bowl, whisk together flours, chia seeds, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside. 

In another bowl, beat butter, sugar and espresso with an electric mixer on high until crumbly, about 30 seconds. Add eggs one at a time; beat on medium until a thick mocha-colored mixture forms. Add milk, vanilla and chocolate chips; beat on low until just combined. Add flour mixture; beat on low until a thick batter forms. 

Pour into baking dish and top with cherries. Bake until edges are slightly firm but center is soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 30 minutes; cut into 12 pieces.