I turned fifteen yesterday.
Let me just reiterate that my birthday was on a Saturday. I mean, that fact already makes it great, but with the house full of girls and boys I am lucky to call my friends for three hours, it was my greatest birthday yet. There was cake – if you didn’t know, I run a cake decorating business and it’s the only half artistic thing I’m capable of – and there was pizza. There was laughter, there was fun, and there was sunshine.
One year ago that day, I was admitted to hospital. On the morning of my fourteenth birthday, I boarded a plane with my mother and left behind my father and brother. We flew to Holland and took a taxi directly from the airport to the hospital. I recall the heavy curtain of sleep falling over me seemingly all the time; in the plane, the taxi, and even talking to the doctors. I was just so, so tired. For three months, in varying states of health, I walked around that small, disinfectant scented hospital room.
They never did find out what was wrong with me in those three months. They talked, they watched, they speculated. Celiac? Impossible. Food allergies? No way. After those three moths, I left that hospital no better than when I had entered it. But we didn’t give up. Doctor after doctor, we travelled around until we had an answer. And a year later, we have it, and I feel better than ever. Coeliac and fifty-three food allergies – most people offer their condolences upon learning about my allergies, but I’m determined to celebrate them. My life has changed so much for the better, and in a way I could never have imagined.
I mean, without my diagnosis I would never have made these brownies! And that would just have been detrimental to humankind everywhere. Chewy, fudgy, and rich chocolate cake studded with crunchy pecans drizzled with a sweet ribbon of dark salted caramel sauce and lashings of melted chocolate. They are exactly what a good brownie should be – fudgy and dense with a crispy top, sweet and deliciously salty with flakes of Maldon sea salt sprinkled over the top, and drizzled with caramel sauce.
Oh, and since it’s my birthday weekend, you totally have permission to eat two. Or three…
Adapted from the wonderful Brittany!
double chocolate pecan salted caramel brownies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients (serves 16)
For the Brownies
- 3 cups finely ground almond flour
- 2/3 cup cacao powder
- pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
For the Caramel
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
- 3 tablespoons coconut cream from the top of a chilled can of coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).
2. Line a 8×8 inch pan with baking parchment.
3. Mix together all brownie ingredients except chopped pecans and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Press mixture in to the lined pan.
4. Bake for around 40 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.
5. Let cool for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with pecan pieces.
6. To make the caramel, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk until everything is melted and combined. Let cool in a glass jar until slightly thickened.
7. Drizzle the brownies with lashings of caramel sauce.
8. Optional: melt some more chocolate chips to drizzle over the brownies.