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Naturally Sweet Paleo Protein Brownies With Coconut-Almond 'Frosting'

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by guest blogger Stephanie Eckelkamp, senior associate editor at Prevention magazine

Ah, sugar... If you're like me, you're in a bit of a love-hate relationship with this addictively sweet ingredient. It's not your fault though--sugar seems to have somehow weaseled its way into just about everything delicious... and it now knows you by your first name (and isn't afraid to use it!).

That's why last month, after an indulgent holiday season, I decided to break up with sugar for a few weeks. Sounds drastic, but I'm a firm believer that everyone needs a periodic "palate reset," where they cut out processed junk and added sweeteners, to remind themselves that, yes, whole foods are pretty darn delicious, too.

To say it's been a bit of a learning curve for my taste buds is an understatement--I've definitely dreamt of donuts. But now, a couple weeks in, I'm noticing that my perception of what's "sweet" has totally changed, and my once epic cravings have significantly diminished.

I do, however, love the ritual of dessert, so last week, I decided to make this cleaned up version of brownies sweetened with nothing but bananas. Verdict: They don't suck! In fact, they're pretty darn delicious, especially after topping them with a "frosting" of whipped coconut cream and almond butter.

The coolest part: Not only are these brownies super low in sugar, but they're packed with ultra satiating protein, fiber, and good fats, thanks to ingredients like almond butter, collagen protein, and coconut. Enjoy them for a totally guilt-free dessert or even as a legitimately wholesome breakfast.

Paleo Protein Brownies with Coconut-Almond "Frosting"

Makes 8 brownies

Ingredients:

Brownies
  • 3 bananas (use green-tipped bananas for a lower sugar brownie, or ultra ripe for a sweeter treat)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 scoops protein powder (optional, I used 2 scoops Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides)
Frosting
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream
  • 3 Tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all brownie ingredients in food processor and puree until smooth. Pour into an 8x8" greased baking pan. Bake brownies for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

2. Clean food processor. Add all frosting ingredients and puree until light and fluffy (this will have a whipped cream frosting-like consistency). Spread frosting onto brownies and sprinkle with slivered almonds.

3. Chill in refrigerator for about an hour. Slice into 16 squares and serve.

Nutrition (per 2 brownies): 250 calories, 10 g protein, 20 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 15 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 90 mg sodium.

Stephanie Eckelkamp is a senior associate editor covering food and nutrition at Prevention magazine and is also a certified holistic-health coach. She's obsessed with her pup, Milo, and loves to get a little crazy in the kitchen. For more from Stephanie, visit StephEckelkamp.com.

For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com