Holidays, as awesome as they are, can be a stressor for those of us that have loved ones with food sensitivities/allergies; especially the holidays that really revolve around food and candy (hmmmmm....I think that is like ALL of them!) Even if you are not trying to avoid food irritants, all parents can relate to the effect that too much sugar and dyes can have on the kiddos. And if your family is like mine, couple all that with autism, ADHD... there is a reason you'll be toasting with that bottle of wine tonight!
So should you just avoid this LOVELY day altogether. NO way! You can still share in the sweet celebration, share your love, avoid food intolerances and GMOs, and maintain the sanity in your household.
This was my quick solution for this day of LOVE!
So here's your easy steps to these divine chocolate hearts...
I said this was quick, right? So, not totally from scratch but totally in line with our food allergy profile. No Gluten, no Casein, no GMOs, no dyes... you get the idea.
I started out with a bag of Bob Red Mill's gluten free brownie mix. The directions are straight forward, but I used Earth Balance dairy & soy free butter instead of margarine, and a DUCK EGG to replace the chicken egg. There is an egg free suggestion on the bag that you can use if all eggs are not an option. For the chocolate chips, I used a new favorite: Equal Exchange Chocolate Chips (they are sooooooooooooooo good ... too good!) I did not measure, just threw in about 1/3 of the bag. The other thing I did differently was use a fresh vanilla bean instead of the vanilla extract .. you've got to try it! (If you are not sure how to extract the beans, check out the demonstration in The Air Diet cookbook.)
I mixed it all together as suggested and baked it according to the directions. (If you love chocolate, as we do, or just want that added antioxidant, mood enhancing blissfulness that cocao provides ... sprinkle the top of the brownies with a few more chocolate chips, YUM!)
After a few hours of cooling, the fun begins! Grab your kiddos and a couple heart shaped cookie cutters, and start sharing the joy of Valentine's day ... fun family time, love, and CHOCOLATE!
Had I not been trying to be super quick, I think outlining these chocolate heart brownies with some vanilla icing would have been a fabulous touch.
I hope you enjoy these as much a we did. (Notice I said...we did. They didn't stick around too long!)