We're not going to lie, this recipe was a complete accident. As we were testing out a different recipe for blondies, something went wrong. Not wanting to waste all the ingredients, we tried to fix it and what came out was so delicious and so perfect for the upcoming fall season. If you haven't already noticed, this time of year you cannot go to a coffee shop or the grocery store without seeing pumpkin flavored goodies everywhere. We so happened to have a few cans of pumpkin puree sitting in our pantry and decided to get in on the pumpkin action too. With the pumpkin puree, we were able to make a pumpkin hazelnut butter that ended up being the key ingredient in these brownies.
You can certainly roast your own pumpkin and puree it but we found it is really easy to use canned organic pumpkin puree for this recipe. If you choose to roast your own, make sure you use the small kind that are meant for pureeing and making pies, not the kind you use to carve a jack-o-lantern. Pumpkins may look fantastic carved on your front door but they also provide a lot of health benefits. They are most known for the antioxidant, beta-carotene which is converted by the body to Vitamin A once ingested. Beta-carotene can play a role in cancer prevention as well as help keep your skin wrinkle free. Pumpkins also boast a good amount of Potassium, Vitamin C and a good amount of fiber, making it great food for post workouts. A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.
If you have read our post on How to Make Homemade Healthy Nutella then you know we are big fans of hazelnuts as well since they contain many nutrients that positively impact our bodies. If you haven't read the post, it is a must because you will not only learn about the health benefits of hazelnuts, but you will also get a fabulous recipe for a chocolate hazelnut spread (AKA "Nutella").
Now that you know how good pumpkin can be for your body lets get back to the delicious pumpkin hazelnut butter. We found ourselves with a little bit left over after using a cup for the recipe and instead of throwing it away we decided to keep it. We added 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to the butter to sweeten it up and we have been using it as a spread on toast for a quick morning breakfast. You can top it on oatmeal, smoothie bowl or even your favorite dairy-free ice cream or "nice cream" for an easy dessert!
So you will see, this is not just any ordinary brownie. This recipe is grain-free, gluten-free and filled with nutrients your body needs.
For Hazelnut Pumpkin Butter:
2 cups blanched hazelnuts**
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 T pumpkin spice
For Brownie Batter:
1 cup Hazelnut Pumpkin Butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 T coconut flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (we used dairy free but use what you like) plus more chips to sprinkle on top.
Sea salt to sprinkle on top (optional)
1.) Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper and spray with coconut cooking spray or another type of cooking spray.
2.) Place blanched hazelnuts on a baking sheet and place in oven for 8-10 minutes or until toasted. Making sure not to burn them. Places toasted hazelnuts in a high-speed blender or a food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground. Add in pumpkin puree and spices and blend until combined.
3.) In a large bowl combine 1 cup of hazelnut pumpkin butter with eggs, vanilla extract, and maple syrup and stir together.
4.) Add in baking soda, salt, coconut sugar and coconut flour and stir to combine - making sure to stir out any lumps.
5.) Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and combine well. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Sprinkle extra chips and sea salt on top.
6.) Pour batter into prepared pan and place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. These brownies are best when they are just under cooked. Each oven is different but ours turned our delicious at 25 minutes.
** The skins on hazelnut can be bitter so you will want to use them without the skins. If you cannot find blanched hazelnuts in your grocery store, here is a link to blanch them and remove the skins. How to Blanch Hazelnuts