Today is one of those days. I neeeed a gooey brownie with rich chestnut flavor. Chestnuts aren’t even in season. Just give it to me Paleo, free of gluten, grain, dairy, and sugar, and I’m your friend forever! Europeans know about chestnuts, but they’re still uncommon in the US. Their soft pulp grinds into a smooth flavorful paste, and the flavor blends beautifully with chocolate. Since they’re also gluten and grain-free, chestnuts are perfect for Paleo baking. Chestnut flour can turn bitter after a few months, so I look for whole chestnuts when they’re fresh in the Fall. However, it’s easy to find whole chestnuts year-round in most healthy groceries – vacuum packed! Although technically it is a tree nut, chestnut allergies are virtually unknown. A food processor is helpful, but not required. Makes one 8 x 8 pan.
Tip: To cook whole chestnuts, cut the in-shell chestnuts in half. Boil them in a pan of water, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. If you’re lucky the chestnuts will pop out of the shells.
I used 200 grams of vacuum packed chestnuts.
- Chestnuts, cooked and shelled- 200 grams or about 1 cup packed tight. (I used a 200-gram vacuum-packed package by Cueillette Descours. Or you can use 1 1/2 cups chestnut flour)
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- Paleo sweetener (3/4 cup honey, or 11/4 cup Just Like Sugar Table Top natural chicory root sweetener, or 3 tablespoons PureLo Lo Han Sweetener by Swanson, or your favorite sweetener.)
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 6 tablespoons pure cacao powder
- Zest of one orange
- 1/4 heaping teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, almonds, or pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Get out an 8-inch square baking pan. Line it with parchment paper so it hangs over the sides like handles.
- In a food processor, or superblender with small container, grind the chestnuts into a fine powder. (This took 2 minutes in my food processor)
- In a food processor or a mixing bowl, add the eggs, water, coconut oil, sweetener, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix until smooth and creamy.
- Add the cacao powder, orange zest, salt, soda, and mix well until it’s a smooth ganache with a pudding-like texture.
- Pulse in the walnuts so they remain in large pieces.
- Spoon into baking pan. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Allow to cool 15 minutes, cut into squares and eat.