I would like to start a petition. It’s the holidays, and I’d love nothing more than for the “Crazy Target Lady” to come back. Having lived overseas for nearly eight years and with most of my friends now being from all over the world, whenever I mention her, they just don’t understand. But, if you are American, you know who she is (well, if you watch TV chances are pretty good). The super jolly, overly enthusiastic, bundle of Christmas joy Target shopper. It’s been a few years and perhaps you’ve forgotten, or you chose to remove her from your memory. Either which, I miss her. The first time I saw her commercials I was scared and tempted to change the channel. Then she sort of became the train wreck you can’t look away from; but, this train wreck was decked out in tinsel and holly. And, then she was the annoying, but really funny relative you’re embarrassed to invite over, but whom you secretly really like and will miss when they’re gone. Yup, that’s where I’m at. She’s my crazy aunt and I miss her. She made me laugh and she kicked off a jolly-filled, fruit cake-covered, wrapped in a big giant red bow, enthusiastic kind of season. Actually, I do know that a petition has already been created, so if your holiday heart feels a little empty without her too, go check it out. We’re not alone!
So if you can’t tell already, I do love the holidays (Right. Only a Xmas enthusiast would love the Target lady). Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving with three wonderful families, none of whom are American, but who gladly accepted our “please share our American holiday with us, because we are one of few Americans who live on island and we haven’t yet found the others” invitation. We quickly followed that up with decorating our Christmas tree, and yes, they actually do ship real trees to our little island. And, now we are preparing for school shows, company parties, gingerbread decorating, and one of my favorites, the beloved cookie exchange. It’s a fabulous idea, hosting/attending a party and swapping cookies. You get all the benefits of holiday cookies, but you only need to bake once!
Last year, I took a slightly different approach and provided brownies. But, not just any brownies, they were gluten-free, nut-free, paleo brownies. I’m doing the same this year and thought I’d share the recipe. It gives the whole cookie exchange thing a creative, healthy twist. Oh! And, don’t tell your friends at first what they have in them. It’s fun to see them be amazed!
Paleo Chocolatey Goodness Holiday Brownies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35-45 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Serves: 16 2×2 brownies
- 1/3 cup real butter
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 6 eggs (or equivalent substitute)
- 2/3 cup agave nectar (or 1 cup of sugar)
- 1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract (holiday version) OR 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (year-round version)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips (high cocoa %, not milk or semi)
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, blend well the butter and cocoa powder. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla or peppermint. Mix this into the cocoa mixture.
- Using a mixer, add the coconut flour, and mix until the batter is no longer lumpy and becomes a thick consistency.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Bake in pre-greased 8×8 pan for about 35-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean. Required baking can vary depending on your oven, mine take nearly 50 minutes.
- Allow to cool, serve and enjoy!
These brownies are fabulous all year round! If you’d like the holiday-free version, simply omit the peppermint and add vanilla instead, which is, actually, my favorite way to enjoy them. I bake them at least once a month and they keep wonderfully. Store them in the fridge and microwave them for 30 seconds whenever you decide to indulge. My four year old absolutely loves them, and my husband and I can finish off an entire batch in a couple days!
So, what will you be bringing to your cookie exchange this year? I’d love to try out your creations. It’s still early so there’s plenty of baking time left=)