Yesterday was glorious as I sat by the pool, drank iced tea (free refills) & devoured a new book I got just in time for vacation. It's A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester. What I can tell you is that I love it, absolutely love it. I feel like Chester encapsulates exactly what my blog is about (& what I hope it continues to be about). There are many scribbles, stars, & underlined phrases throughout the book, in order to come back to the words, phrases & ideas that I want to feast on more. Here is just one of those underlined sentences:
The feeding of the five thousand not only looks forward in hope to the messianic banquet. In receiving the bread with thanksgiving, Jesus affirms the goodness of creation. And by affirming the goodness of God's creation as he promises a new world, Jesus reminds us that this world is not going to be trashed, but redeemed.
He goes on to say that food matters because it's part of God's good creation & new creation.
I love the image that one day it will all be redeemed. There won't be some dining at a 5-Star restaurant while others have bellies growling wondering where their next meal will come from. There won't be a person requesting a gluten-free entree while the other eats a gluten filled pastry. This feast has been paid for by Jesus and we are invited to eat free of charge.
In a world where one neighbor is vegan and the other is paleo, Jesus gives us a glimpse of his provision, as he fed five thousand with five loaves of bread & two fish (with leftovers to spare). Then, I think of my friend Tina, who is gluten-intolerant & a true lover of brownies, telling me once, "I believe heaven is going to have brownies!" I think she's right. But, I would also add, that those brownies can be eaten by anyone. There will be no dietary restrictions or regulations at this Table. The only requirement is to feast with the King.
Most Amazing Brownies (printable recipe)
This recipe is inspired by Elana's Pantry Almond Butter Brownies. I use a fruit sweetener, which is a combination of pear & pineapple juice concentrated. I purchase it through Azure Standard. If you don't have access to fruit sweetener, then you can use honey.
1 jar of roasted almond butter (16 ounces)
3/4 cup fruit sweetener (if you are using honey, 1/2-2/3 cup)
2 large eggs
1 Tb vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 -1/3 cup chopped 72% cacao chocolate bar
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan with a thin layer of coconut oil. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add all of the roasted almond butter. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the fruit sweetener & vanilla and mix on low for 20-30 seconds, or until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs and mix on low until thoroughly combined. Turn off mixer.
Add the cocoa powder, baking soda & salt, turn the mixer to low and begin to mix for 20 seconds (or so) and increase speed to medium and mix for another 40 seconds. Add the chopped chocolate and mix for 10-15 seconds, just to disburse the chocolate.
With a rubber spatula, mix the ingredients to ensure the almond butter is thoroughly mixed and none left hidden below the yummy brownie goodness. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes for fudgy like middle. If you prefer a more cakey brownie, then bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and after however long you can wait, cut into them & enjoy.
Tips for Success:
- Purchase an oven thermometer for accurate oven temperature (they're really cheap).
- I have found that 23 minutes created that fudgy center, while anything over 25 minutes began to create cake-like brownies.
- If you cannot have nuts, try substituting sunbutter.
- If you cannot have eggs, try substituting ground flax seeds as a binder.
- Although there is no sugar outside of the chocolate, there is fat in the almond butter and these little guys are rather addictive & can add pounds on the scale (not that I speak from experience).