Anytime it snows, even just a little bit, I want to make brownies. I'm not sure how the tradition began, but in my mind snow always equals brownies. And it's been snowing a lot lately. While I don't necessarily think one can ever have too many brownies, I am also trying to be more mindful of my eating habits and I found myself thinking I should find a healthier alternative to the store-bought brownie mixes I usually buy.
Luckily I know just who to turn to when a problem like this pops up. Julia LeRoy of Produce & Provide is an Atlanta-based chef and educator. She also happens to be a dear friend of mine. If you were at our opening party back in 2018, you might remember the elevated stoner snacks Julia and her partner Chris served. I met Julia almost 18 years ago at a weekly chicken wing night our mutual friends used to host. We hit it off right away, and I don't think I would have made it through my 20s without Julia's friendship and support. Come to think of it, I don't know if I'd make it through my 30s without her either.
We've been there for each other through break ups, make ups, career achievements and setbacks, and all the other life stuff that happens while you're in the process of adulting for the first time. Even though I don't live in Atlanta anymore, our friendship has endured. Julia's is always the advice I want to hear first, because I know she will give it to me honestly but with kindness and care. We're always able to pick up right where we left off, which is either in deep conversation about our lives or laughing hysterically with one another. And lucky for me, she is an absolute force in the kitchen. These days you can find Julia cooking for private clients, hosting events with her sister Rosa at El Ponce, or on Saturdays at the Freedom Farmer's Market sharing her love of food and cooking with specially made market treats and demos.
So obviously when I told Julia I had a brownie "problem," I knew I'd be in good hands. She knew exactly what recipe to send my way, and it's so damn good that I had to share it here too. Julia's Almond Chocolate Therapy Brownies are nothing short of amazing--they taste delicious, and the ingredients are naturally energizing and uplifting. Of course, I wanted to make it a Garden Party, so we did add in an optional dose of Standard Canna Co's Full Spectrum Hemp Tincture. The result is similar to the Recess drinks we all know and love--the brownies gave me the feeling of having just had small enough caffeine boost in the afternoon to complete the day, with some added clarity and focus coming from the CBD.
Almond Chocolate Therapy Brownies by Julia LeRoy of Produce & Provide.
From Julia: "This brownie is adapted from a recipe in the amazing Moon Juice cookbook, and what I love about it is that it’s decadent and sweet without any refined sugar or fake sugar substitutes, and it’s naturally gluten free. It also includes a dosing guide in case you’d like to make these brownies even more therapeutic."
10 medjool dates, pitted
1 cup almond flour
½ cup + coconut cream
½ cup cacao powder
2 tbsp pecan or your favorite nut butter
1 tbsp hemp seeds
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup granola, for garnish
6 x 3/4 dropperful of CBD***
In a food processor, mix together the dates, almond flour, coconut cream (start with ½ a cup), cacao powder, pecan butter, hemp seeds, salt, coconut oil, and CBD if using.
Combine until it all mixes together. If it looks a little sandy, add more coconut cream. The consistency should be slightly sticky, but shapeable. Like a really fudgey brownie batter.
Place it on a parchment lined dehydrator tray or a baking tray, and shape it into a rectangle.
Turn your dehydrator to 120˚, or turn your oven to its lowest setting.You can cook the brownie anywhere from 2-8 hours, depending on how “fudgey” you like it. After it’s been cooking for about an hour, go ahead and sprinkle your granola onto the top and gently press it in a little.
***Optional CBD Dosage: We recommend using any full spectrum, flavorless CBD tincture you've got on hand. Again, we used the 2400mg Standard tincture we carry at the shop. You'll want to adjust your dose according to the strength and amount of mg per bottle of whichever CBD you decide to use. We made these brownies two ways in a 9x9 baking dish. First, we cut them into regular sized squares for about 9 brownies total, equaling 40mg of CBD. Then we used the same dish to cut and shape smaller, bite size portions that yield 20mg of CBD.
P.S. Extra special thanks to Annie and Thomas Shaumbach for allowing us to share a Saturday morning at their house making these brownies together, masked up of course.