Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
As someone who Irish Step danced throughout high school, I miss this day of dancing + merriment often.
Someone I also think about on this day is my “little sister,” who I met during those dancing years when I was the rehearsal captain of our company and she was our youngest dancer. We became friends, and later, sisters. As only children – I am biologically and she has two older half siblings, but we’re closer in age – she’s the closest relationship I’ve had that would mimic a sibling bond. There were days she’d run into the house after school, locking me out just like an annoying sister. She’d pull on me or tease me to the nth degree, but we’d also have a lot of fun together and have been there for each other through all of the rocky patches navigating life.
When I was a senior in high school, we started to bake a lot together and grasshopper brownies were our favorite. You know, the dense brownie with a green mint layer and then a chocolate top? They were intricate and full of butter, sugar, and chocolate. My 18th birthday landed on a day I was at her house and again, she ran out of the car and into the house, locking it. I wasn’t in the mood to play this game on my birthday, but she begged me to just wait because she had something for me. When she let me in, there was a banner, cards and the grasshopper brownies we loved with 18 candles.
These are those grasshopper brownies reimagined to be healthier and more nutrient dense, but with just as much richness and flavor!
Not only are they gluten free, but also grain free, which can be great for guests with allergies or intolerances, but sometimes harder on the wallet. Cashew butter (or nut butter in general) can be expensive so you’ll see that I added the weights of the cashews so you can make the layers with cashew pieces from the bulk bins instead. Before using, soak the cashews for at least 2-4 hours in water. Drain completely and then use in the recipe.
For the brownies, instead of a hand mixer, place all of the wet ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Whisk in the dry ingredients before moving forward. Enjoy!
½ cup (7 ounces) cashew or almond butter*
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) melted coconut oil or cacao butter
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup cacao, sifted
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup (7 ounces) cashew butter*
¼ cup (2 ounces) melted coconut oil or cacao butter
¼ cup maple syrup
2 ½ teaspoons mint extract
½ teaspoon vanilla
10 leaves fresh mint (optional)
¼ teaspoon spirulina (optional for the traditional green color)
chocolate ganache frosting
1 cup (6 ounces) 75-80% chocolate chips
½ cup coconut milk
¼ cup water
pinch of sea salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line an 8” square pan with parchment.
Using a hand mixer, whip the nut butter, cacao butter or oil, maple syrup, eggs and extracts together until smooth and glossy. In another bowl, add the dry ingredients, and give a whisk so they’re incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and whip to combine. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are set and start to pull away from the side of the pan. Cool fully.
While the brownies are cooling, make your mint frosting. Place all of your ingredients into a high speed blender starting with the maple syrup and coconut oil and ending with the butters. Add the spirulina if you’d like that classic green mint color. Blend until smooth. Pour onto the cooled brownies and spread into a nice layer. Place brownies in the fridge to set for 15-20 minutes.
Make your ganache frosting. Place the chocolate chips into a heat safe bowl. Heat the coconut milk and water over medium heat until just before a light simmer. Pour the milk over the chocolate chips. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before whisking smooth. Pour the ganache over the set brownies. Smooth the top, and again, let the brownies set for 15-20 minutes in the fridge.
To get a nice slice before when serving, run or dip your knife under hot, hot water. Dry the blade and make a slice while the blade is still warm. Do this before each slice.