Four and a half years into my Paleo journey, I don’t eat sweet treats very often. But, I do very, very, very much appreciate a decadent treat from time to time, and this recipe is my current fave for filling that occasional need for something just over-the-top amazing.
I developed this brownie recipe by accident one day as I was trying to make a nut-free, dairy-free, seed-free, coconut-free sheet cake recipe, and instead ended up with the perfect dense-and-cakey brownie texture. The idea to add bacon came from a phone call with a friend where we were talking about bacon in desserts. From there, it was only a small creative leap to add caramel sauce to pull the whole thing together!
You can use any percentage of dark chocolate you would like for the brownies. Using bittersweet (72%) yields a sweet treat that a very Paleo-adapted palate might even find to be a bit too sweet (especially if served a la mode and smothered in caramel!). Feel free to make the brownies richer and less sweet by even going up to unsweetened chocolate.
Note that this recipe is divided into three parts, so you’ll want to look at all three ingredients lists before to make your shopping list! Note that the full recipe calls for 2 bags of EPIC Bacon Bits (any flavor), but you can also make your own by chopping up fully cooked bacon.
This recipe also uses my new favorite Paleo flour-substitute, Otto’s Cassava Flour, which is made using the entire cassava root (which is the same thing as yucca, yuca, manioc and tapioca root). Their processing method is to peel, wash, slice, press, bake and then mill. This ensures the potentially toxic cyanide in cassava is totally neutralized. This whole food flour is 80% starch and 7% fiber, which makes it an excellent all purpose flour. Cassava has a low Glycemic Index (46) and a moderate glycemic load (12), and because of its absorptive properties, recipes can typically get away with fairly low flour to liquid ratio, which is great news from a blood sugar regulation perspective. This entire tray of brownies only uses one cup of flour!
For the best use of your time in the kitchen, first get the dates soaking for the brownie batter. Then, start the caramel. While the caramel is bubbling away on the stove top and only requiring the occasional stir, finish making the brownies. That way you can go from beginning to end in about 40 minutes, plus cooling time before serving.
Prep time: 30 minutes + time for everything to cool before serving
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup coconut cream (or use the top thick part of probably 2 cans of chilled full fat coconut milk)
- dash salt
- Combine room temperature honey, coconut cream and salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed pan. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Attach candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
- Turn element on to medium-low. Heat until it reaches 230F (don’t go over 232F). No need to stir initially. Around 220F, it will start to bubble… if it looks like it’s going to bubble over (it probably won’t, but it can be nerve-racking), stir it a little to pop some of the bubbles. This should take 20-30 minutes and is pretty hands off, so be patient (but don’t leave the kitchen!).
- Once it reaches 230F (it’s helpful if you have a thermometer with an alarm), remove from the heat. Let the caramel cool down to under 180F, or better yet room temperature, before drizzling on the brownies.
- 15 Medjool dates, pitted
- 3/4 cups hot water
- 10oz bittersweet (72% or darker) chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cups lard (or sub butter, ghee, or palm shortening)
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup Otto’s cassava flour
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
- 3 oz Epic Bacon Bits, any flavor (or 2/3 cups homemade bacon bits)
- Soak pitted dates in hot water for 20 minutes to reconstitute.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9″x13″ baking pan, line with wax paper, and grease the wax paper. Alternately, use a silicone baking pan.
- Meanwhile, melt chocolate and lard over a double boiler or medium power in the microwave. Let cool while you wait for the dates to finish soaking.
- After dates have soaked, blend dates, water, and eggs together in a blender for 1-2 minutes on high until a completely smooth puree forms.
- While whisking melted chocolate quickly, gradually pour in egg and date mixture. Whisk until fully combined and batter turns shiny, about 30 seconds to a minute.
- Mix in salt, baking soda and cassava flour.
- Fold in chocolate chips and Bacon Bits.
- Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth out into the corners to form a uniform surface.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan.
Ingredients (Caramel-Bacon Double Chocolate Brownies):
- 1 batch caramel (see above)
- 1 batch brownies (see above)
- 3 oz EPIC Bacon Bits, any flavor (or 2/3 cups homemade bacon bits)
- Vanilla Ice Cream, if desired
To Assemble the Whole Shebang:
- Once brownies and caramel have cooled, first cut brownies into squares in the pan. Then drizzle liberally with about 2/3 to 3/4 of the caramel (reserving the extra for serving).
- Sprinkle Bacon Bits over the caramel.
- Serve a la mode with a little extra drizzle of caramel, if desired.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container on the countertop for a couple of days, fridge for up to a week, or freezer for longer storage.