Coconut Shortbread–Double Brownie Delight

With Labor Day around the corner and baking season about to launch into action, I thought there was no better time to share one of my new favorite brownie recipes from Matt and Joshua’s new book, Superfoods for Life, Cacao. The perfect combination of shortbread, coconut, and cacao, these brownie hybrids are certain to get rave reviews at any end of summer party or get together. It’s almost the long weekend, so go ahead and indulge.

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Coconut Shortbread–Double Brownie Delight
Excerpted from Superfoods for Life, Cacao by Matt Ruscigno and Josh Ploeg


This has been my potluck special of late. An amazing coconut shortbread combines with an extra-chocolaty, moist brownie to make a decadent, delicious, double-decked delight. Desserts need not be totally avoided in a healthy diet; discretionary calories exist, and a cacao-coconut treat is a great way to use them. This treat is
so rich and delicious, you only need a small piece to satisfy your sweet tooth.

For the shortbread layer:
1⅔ cups (200 g) unbleached white flour
⅓ cup (27 g) cocoa powder
⅔ cup (133 g) sugar
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ cup (112 g) coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons (28 ml) coconut milk or water, or as needed

For the brownie layer:
½ cup (40 g) cocoa powder
½ cup (62.5 g) unbleached white flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup (64 g) coconut oil
⅔ cup (133 g) sugar
½ cup (120 ml) soy or coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces (115 g) chopped bittersweet or dark chocolate pieces

Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C, gas mark 5).

To make the shortbread layer: Mix the dry shortbread ingredients in a large mixing bowl and then add the coconut oil and incorporate with your hands to make crumbs. Add the rest of the liquid and press into a lightly greased 8 × 8-inch (20 × 20 cm) pan. Score with a fork.

To make the brownie layer: Mix the dry brownie ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, then add the wet ingredients and the chocolate chips and combine to make a nice batter. Pour over the top of the shortbread. Bake for about 35 minutes or until done to your liking. Cool on a wire rack and then cut
into 16 squares.

Yield: 8 servings

Superfoods for Life, Cacao

Are you craving chocolate? Go ahead, give in! Cacao–raw chocolate–often referred to as “food of the gods” is high in antioxidants. It is also an excellent source of magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, and copper. A good source of omega-6 fatty acids and rich in heart-healthy oleic acids, it will boost your mood, improve cognition and help lessen stress! Sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t! As author Matt Ruscigno explains, this hot superfood has powerful benefits. Then Matt gives you what you really want–recipes for chocolate! Superfoods for Life, Cacao contains 75 recipes for sweet and savory cacao recipes–from main dishes to desserts–including Huitlacoche-Chocolate Empanadas, Cocoa Buffalo Tempura Vegetables, Dolmathes with Currant-Chocolate Rice and Cacao Tzatziki.