We've been SO busy and have packing on the brain as Cecelia is in the process of moving into her new home in Chicago. Besides the busyness, packing and moving require energy and strength (she's already starting to question the decision of a second floor walk up, ha!). But jokes and moving grumbles aside we decided to focus on protein this week and found a way to pack tons of protein into a beloved dessert - brownies! These bites are chocolatey and delicious and contain a good dose of protein from a variety of sources - one being hemp butter. Yes, hemp butter!
So now you're probably thinking "what is hemp butter and why have I never heard about it?" Well, hemp butter is just like any other nut/seed butters in that it is a blended version of hemp seeds. However, it is different than other nut/seed butters because the color, taste, and texture change significantly, in our opinion, once the hemp seeds are blended. As you can see from the picture above, hemp seed butter is a dull green which may not look all that appetizing. The hemp seed flavor is also enhanced in the butter which has a stronger flavor than the plain hemp seeds and the texture becomes quite thick. These changes may make hemp seed butter less appealing and underutilized in the kitchen - probably why you've never heard about it! We found that adding hemp butter to recipes for additional protein and nutrient value was a great use of this underused product. But if you find that you love hemp butter plain on toast - go for it!
Hemp Protein Brownie Bites
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 55 minutes
Servings: 26-30 bites
Each bite contains ~2.8 grams protein
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
3 Tbsp hemp seed butter (make by blending hemp seeds in a high speed blender or purchase at your local specialty grocer, also available online, here)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup cacao powder
6 oz coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate + 1/3 cup 60% cacao chocolate shavings
1/4 cup hemp seeds + 1 Tbsp reserved for top
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8"X 8" pan with parchment paper allowing 2 sides to hang over the edges for easy removal. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of the prepared pan with a dab of unsalted butter then set aside.
Place 3 Tbsp butter, 3 Tbsp hemp seed butter, 6 oz chopped chocolate, and 1/4 cup cacao powder in a double boiler or a heat proof bowl placed over a pan with an inch or two of simmering water. Allow the butters and chocolate to fully melt, stirring often then set aside to slightly cool.
Combine the flour, baking soda and sea salt in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
Combine the coconut sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on medium until light in color, about 3-4 minutes. Add the cooled melted butter and chocolate mixture then continue to whisk. Add in the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated, avoid over mixing the batter. Stir in 1/3 cup chocolate shavings and 1/4 cup hemp seeds into the batter.
Pour batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle 1 Tbsp hemp seeds over the top of the batter and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow brownies to cool for 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into 1" X 1" bites. Store leftover brownie bites in an air tight container at room temperature for 2 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Thoughts? Is your mind blown that there is such a thing as hemp seed butter? Are you excited that you can now make "hemp brownies" that would be appropriate to eat at work (unlike another type of hemp brownie that may come to mind)? We are most excited that we can now ditch processed protein bars and make our own high protein goodies to keep us fueled during Cecelia's move and beyond.
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.