Because sometimes enough is enough and you gotta have some sunshine and nothing will do quite so well as chocolate, I offer this recipe for gluten-free brownies that will knock your socks off and keep your brain and mood fog-free.
San Francisco is traditionally a foggy town in the summer time; I have never fully adapted. To me, summers are supposed to be hot, and if they’re not, something is seriously wrong. So although the fog is deliciously mysterious and wonderfully cooling after a couple of 105 degree months in the dry Sierra foothills, I really love the sun and gotta get me some.
The same is true for chocolate. We know how to build our serotonin – and if you don’t, call me because it is one of my specialties and I would love to help you boost yours naturally – so we don’t go around jonesing for chocolate every afternoon at 4:20 like some other folks spark up their spliffs – still we love our chocolate. Chocolate not only jacks up serotonin levels briefly but sends our endorphin levels temporarily through the roof. Endorphins are our natural feel-good brain chemicals. They activate our reward and pleasure centers. Endorphin levels soar when we are training hard, in love, or having an orgasm. What’s not to love about endorphins? What’s not to love about chocolate? Chocolate is filled with antioxidants, containing as much as three times the amount found in green tea, and thereby offering protection against premature aging, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Cacao is a super source of serotonin and dopamine. Though we wouldn’t want to rely on chocolate for our natural feel-good sensations, and can do this more effectively and sustainably through Neuro-Nutrient Therapy, there is a time and place for our sweet cacao treats.
And while we’re on the subject, what’s the whole deal on gluten anyway? More and more people are turning out to be gluten intolerant. Gluten is a type of protein in wheat, rye, barley and in lesser amounts in several other grains. For people who have Celiac’s disease, an autoimmune condition that commonly features malabsorption, brain fog and mood disorders, consuming even small amounts of gluten can be life threatening. Even people without Celiac’s, however, may find that eating wheat contributes to brain fog, anxiety, depression, fatigue and digestive disorders. Wheat is very hard on the thyroid gland, which is key to our metabolic (energy conversion) system. The reason is that wheat has been highly hybridized in recent years and now contains much higher quantities of the gluten proteins, which have benefit for texture and elasticity, bringing air and rise to bread products. Our bodies may just not have adapted to digesting such large quantities of these proteins. If you are one of those who suspect you are having trouble with wheat, you may eat these brownies without concern. As an added bonus, these brownies are made without sugar, so anyone with adrenal fatigue can have a treat without tanking reserves of those increasingly precious stress hormones!
A note about the Pamela’s gluten-free baking mix: this mix contains some buttermilk, so please choose another favorite gluten-free baking mix if you are following a dairy-free lifestyle. I can recommend the Gluten-Free Pantry baking mix and pie mix for taste and texture.
San Francisco Fog-Free Chocolate Brownies
A chocolatey gluten-free, sugar-free dessert sweetened with agave syrup. *Please note that Pamela’s baking mix does contain some buttermilk so you may substitute another favorite all-purpose baking mix if that doesn’t appeal to you; coconut butter can be substituted for the butter.
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup agave syrup
- 1 heaping Tbs almond butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 3/4 c Pamela’s Gluten & Wheat-Free Baking & Pancake Mix
- ½ cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a small baking pan.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from heat.
3. Combine baking mix and cocoa and smooth out any lumps with the back of a spoon.
4. Stir in the agave syrup, then eggs, almond butter & vanilla.
5. Add melted butter and nuts.
6. Smooth the batter into the pan.
7. Bake 24-26 minutes.