This ultra-moist and gluten-free banana bread has just the right amount of honey-nut sweetness.
Brazil Nut Brownies
Dietary Compliance: Gluten-free, Dairy and Soy-free depending on chocolate used
When I set out to create a Brazil nut brownie recipe, I had ulterior motives. I was trying to find an enjoyable way to eat what used to be my least favorite nut. My motivation came from the knowledge that Brazil nuts are a thyroid superfood, and blow any other food out of the water when it comes to selenium content. Nothing comes close, and just one a day may exceed the recommended daily value (though be aware, selenium content in Brazil nuts can vary widely).
In looking up food pairings for Brazil nuts, chocolate, coconut, and vanilla topped the list. Brownies seemed like a perfect excuse to get those Brazil nuts down, no problem.
With a crackly top and crisp-chewy edges, these decadent, ultra-fudgy, brownies are the stuff chocolate dreams are made of. They also happen to be gluten-free and if you use chocolate that is free of soy lecithin and milk solids, they’re dairy and soy-free, too.
An added bonus, at least in my opinion, is the 8×8-inch pan. I mean, 9×13? Who on earth is going to eat all that?
I am. That’s the problem.
Here’s some info about they thyroid-friendly nutrients in this dish:
- When cut into 16 squares, each brownie contains roughly 1 1/2 Brazil nuts, or approximately 190% DV for Selenium. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Selenium, in adults, is 55 micrograms (mcg) per day, so you can feel good about that. In addition to supporting the synthesis of thyroid hormone, selenium is essential to the conversion of T4 to T3 and protects the thyroid from stress. It also protects the thyroid from an overabundance of iodine. It’s like the thyroid gland’s bodyguard.
- Coconut oil has been touted as a thyroid, metabolism, energy, endurance, and weight loss booster by many health professionals, including Dr. Oz.
- Sea salt is a natural source of iodine as well as numerous other bioavailable trace minerals.
- Chocolate is usually high in sugar and can contain soy lecithin, which some people with an underactive thyroid choose to avoid; however, dark chocolate, when consumed in moderation, can be a good source of trace minerals like copper and manganese. Chocolate, esp. dark, also contains flavonols, a type of antioxidant that can reduce the cell damage caused by heart disease, and help to lower blood pressure and promote vascular function.
Brazil Nut Brownies
Adapted from David Lebovitz.
- 6 tbsp. coconut oil, organic, unrefined, plus extra for greasing
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds only*
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp. cornstarch, non-GMO
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup Brazil nuts, roughly chopped
- 1 pinch sea salt, coarse, like Maldon
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 8x8-inch square baking pan with coconut oil.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt coconut oil. Add sugar and vanilla bean seeds, and stir to combine. Add the chopped chocolate and cook, stirring until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and beat for 2 minutes with a hand mixer or whisk. Add eggs one at a time, mixing each until incorporated.
Using a mesh strainer, sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch into the pan. Add the fine sea salt. Mix slowly until dry ingredients are incorporated, then beat on medium speed (or vigorously, by hand), for 1 - 2 minutes. Fold in chopped Brazil nuts.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle top of batter with a pinch of coarse sea salt.
Bake 22 minutes or just until the brownies feel set in the center. Do not overbake or they will be dry and crumbly. Remove from oven and let cool 45 minutes. Slice into 16 squares and enjoy!
To remove the seeds from a vanilla bean, lay the bean on a cutting surface, and with the tip of a paring knife, split the bean lengthwise all the way down the middle. Use the dull side of the knife to scrape along the inside of the pod, removing the sticky, tiny, black vanilla seeds. Repeat with the other half of the pod.