Have you been searching high and low for a festive treat – that’s not scarily unhealthy – to help you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved ones? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
We CNEers are big fans of cacao and all its benefits, so made-from-scratch chocolate treats are a favourite around these parts. With so many potential (and equally delicious) chocolatey variations, who can blame us?
This is Valentine’s Day dessert done the Culinary Nutrition way. These brownies are made almost entirely of aphrodisiacs for you (and that special someone) to enjoy. Here are a few of the reasons why they’ll give you that lovin’ feeling:
Chocolate. Cacao contains PEA – phenethylamine – which has been touted as a bliss chemical. The compounds in chocolate actually mimic the brain-chemistry of love.
Cinnamon. It seems every time we turn around, cinnamon has yet another medicinal quality. Cinnamon has been studied to increase appetite – of the sexual variety.
Cherries. Cherries are an iconic symbol of sexuality – and for good reason. Cherries stimulate the production of pheromone, which is a chemical that contributes to sexual attraction.
Vanilla. There’s a reason vanilla-scented body products abound: the aroma draws us in. Whether you eat, drink or smell vanilla – it escalates your amorous proclivities.
Whoever you’re sharing these succulent treats with this Valentine’s Day, they’ll be sure to show you some love.
- For the brownies:
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup butternut squash puree
- ½ cup coconut milk or cream
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp vanilla powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup brown rice flour
- ¾ cup almond meal
- ¾ cup cacao powder
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- For the cherry topping:
- 2 ½ cups frozen cherries, pitted
- 2 Tbsp coconut nectar/syrup
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9x9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer (or large bowl if you don't have a mixer), combine oil, squash, coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Once thoroughly combined, add coconut sugar, and mix well.
- Add dry ingredients in ¼ cup increments and ensure everything is combined.
- Add apple cider vinegar, and mix on medium high speed for 15 seconds. If you're baking by hand, use those muscles!
- Pour batter into the cake pan.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow brownies to cool before serving.
- While brownies are baking, add cherries to a small sauce pot on medium heat. Smash cherries and warm through.
- Add lemon juice and coconut syrup, stirring well.
- Once mixture comes to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer. Reduce to a jelly consistency, stirring often to avoid burning.
- If you prefer a smooth consistency, quickly run the cherry mixture through a small blender once reduced.