The stormy winter weather has officially set in, which means more indoor time, and subsequent indoor activities that involve baking. And chocolate. And baking with chocolate. And if you haven't yet dusted off that brownie dish, now is the time, because today also happens to be National Brownie Day!

Christmas is less than a month away, and if you're not yet in the holiday spirit, you certainly will be after sinking your teeth into one of these bad boys. If you love mint chocolate, this recipe will definitely do it for you. Just a heads-up -  these are definitely not a moist, cake-like brownie, they are dense, fudge-like, and sinfully chocolatey. Just as a brownie should be (in our humble opinion!) The mint is subtle enough to not overwhelm the situation (they are brownies after-all - and it should be all about that dark chocolate!), but it's enough to delight the senses and give the recipe a magical holiday-feel. We used our new Rawmio Hazelnut Mint Spread as a fudge-like chocolate mint ganache, and topped things off with a festive touch of organic crushed candy canes. Because the holidays come but once a year, and you might as well go all out. If you happen to make this recipe - be sure to tag us on social media @windycityorganics - we would love to see and give you some love right back!

The Recipe

Vegan, Gluten-Free Mint Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Makes 6 large or 8 small brownie squares

Dry Ingredients

3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour - we used Bob's Red Mill brand

1/4 cup blanched almond flour - we used Bob's Red Mill brand

1/2 cup raw cacao powder 

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet, dark, vegan chocolate chips (or raw chocolate chunks)

1 heaped tablespoon tapioca starch

1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

 Wet Ingredients

1/2 cup pure grade B maple syrup, room temperature

3/4 cup gently melted Dastony Stone Ground Coconut Butter (not coconut oil!)

1/3 cup Dastony Stone Ground Almond Butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 tsp pure organic peppermint extract  - or 3 drops peppermint essential oil

1/2 cup unsweetened nut milk, preferably raw and homemade

Toppings:

Rawmio Hazelnut Mint Raw Chocolate Spread gently warmed up and stirred to silky smooth perfection

Crush organic, dye-free and corn syrup-free candy canes - we used TruJoy brand 

Instructions

1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.

2. Melt and soften your nut butters. Do this by immersing the actual jars of nut butter in a bowl of warm water, or you can scoop out the nut butters and use a double boiler or place the butters in a heat-safe bowl submerged in another bowl of hot water. You want your coconut butter to be completely liquified and the almond butter to be as runny as possible. 

3. Mix your dry ingredients together. 

4. Once your butters are all melty, combine them with the maple syrup, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, the coconut butter may start to harden back up very quickly. You may find it easier to mix these ingredients in a heat safe bowl submerged in hot water, it will prevent it from hardening before you can mix it with the dry ingredients.

5. Pour your sweetened nut butter mixture into your dry ingredients, and start to mix. It will be too dry at this point, so add in your 1/2 cup nut milk. Add an additional splash if needed. 

6. Scoop out mixture into a brownie pan greased with coconut oil to prevent sticking.

7. Bake for 28-30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Check to make sure they're done by sticking a toothpick into a brownie - it should come out with a few crumbs only, the edges of the brownies will be pulled slightly from the pan, and the top will have begun to crackle slightly. Let cool for at least 45 minutes so that the coconut butter helps bind them together. You can eat them sooner than this, but they will be a bit more crumbly. 

7. Prior to serving spread on a thin (or thick!) layer of Rawmio Hazelnut Mint Raw Chocolate Spread and sprinkle crushed candy canes on top if you'd like. ENJOY!

Store in foil at room temperature, or in the fridge if you want an even more dense fudgy texture.