Thin Mint Brownies

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I teased these brownies on my Instagram a few weeks back, but I was saving them to share until St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t know if the fact that the Thin Mint box is green or that when you think of mint you associate the color green, but when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day themed treats, several mint chocolate recipes come up.

A mint chocolate St. Patrick’s themed recipe I remember from growing up is when my sisters and I used to make little ice cream sandwiches from a scoop of mint chocolate ice cream between two Thin Mints. You would then wrap them individually in foil and freeze. The snack idea came from a March issue of the American Girl magazine, maybe circa 2000? Did anyone else get the American Girl magazine? Does anyone else associate mint chocolate with St. Patrick’s Day?

These brownies are insanely fudgey, but that’s how I like them. If you can’t do the mint chocolate thing, try my Perfect Fudge Brownies by themself!

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Thin Mint Brownies:
yields 9 brownies

Ingredients:
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 sleeve of Thin Mints, roughly chopped (16 cookies)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until fully melted. Stirring between each 30 seconds. Make sure to scrape the bottom to keep from burning. In a separate bowl, use a whisk to beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla together. With a wooden spoon, stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Fold the flour, cocoa powder and salt into the mix.

Pour half of the batter into your prepared pan. Evenly distribute 1/2 of the chopped Thin Mints over the top. Repeat with the other half of the batter. I use a butter knife to help spread the batter over the cookie layer. Finish by distributing the rest of the chopped cookies over the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Support your co-workers daughter or your neighborhood Girl Scout and pick up a box of thin mints this week! Grab some Samoas while you’re at it for a batch of my Samoa Popcorn.

Annie

Bites of My Life

I took a week off of instagram last week and it felt gooooood. Does anyone else ever do that? I made a mental resolution with myself to take 1 week off, every month for (hopefully) the rest of the year. It was such a mind clearer. Similar to a body detox where you rid your insides of toxins, this was a mind detox. For one week, the comparison game was over, the feeling of having/wanting to document my every moment was gone, the mindless hours spent staring at my phone were minimized. I challenge you to try a week off here and there. 

I logged off instagram last Monday through Saturday. I then sat in church Sunday morning to hear our pastor touch on the effects of social media. How it can lead to depression due to the over comparison, how it can lead to us losing sight of our values. How important it is to know God, know his stories, and walk with him, in order to keep our values in line. Especially in this ever changing world and comparison game we live in. #FoodForThought going into the new week! ...already looking forward to my next insta detox!

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-Green salad on repeat again last week! Added a soft boiled egg for extra protein after an amazing lunch class at Union with Chelsea! My favorite way to break up the day. 
-Blueberry coconut cucumber protein shake is my fave right now! The combo may seem strange but it's weirdly refreshing. The recipe is on my instagram highlights!
-Posted these insane brownies last week. I'm just going to make you go read the post because like I said, they are insane. And borderline healthy! 
-Almond milk capp at TJA while grinding through some work. I love having a built in coffee shop right at my fingertips!
-Addicted to this breakfast. Protein, fiber and probiotics coming from soft scrambled eggs on GG crackers topped with kimchi!
-Dinner with my Stacey girl but really celebrating that Trin has moved back from Florida!
-Batch of steel cut oats for me and for Sarah Beth! SB texted me last week looking for some breakfast inspo. She loves oatmeal but has to be at work super early, so oatmeal is just microwaved from a packet (which honestly I love), but it's nice to indulge in thick and creamy homemade steel cut oats sometimes! I made a big batch of McCann's with cinnamon for her to re-heat at work! I suggest topping with more cinnamon, some blueberries and a spoonful of almond butter! If you need it sweeter add some brown sugar!
-I was trying to re-create these for sunday night dinner, but the frozen shrimp I pulled out of my freezer was more than questionable. Luckily I had some leftover shredded chicken aslo in the freezer so I adapted and ended up with a really delish dinner. 
-Did you read yesterday's post? I'm doing somethin' and celebratin' with healthy protein cake balls!  

Annie

P.S. I updated my OKC City Guide last week! Catch the new new here

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Double Cashew Brownies

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Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Double Cashew Brownies, say that five times fast. I got a little crazy with these guys, and well, it totally worked. And they are like, kinda healthy, cause #glutenfree #dairyfree #fitfam #absaremadeinthekitchen.

No flour means they are seriously fudgey. And the double cashew comes from swirling my favorite cashew butter through the batter and then topping them with my favorite bulk bin item, dark chocolate covered cashews. Now let's just cut to the chase.

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Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Double Cashew Brownies
yields 1, 8x8 pan of brownies

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil, divided
4 Tbsps. Georgia Grinders cashew butter, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate covered cashews, chopped (from the bulk bins)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a 8x8" baking dish with cooking spray.

Whisk cornstarch and cocoa powder in a medium bowl until no lumps remain. Heat chocolate, 3 Tbsp. coconut oil, and 1 Tbsp. cashew butter in a small saucepan over low, stirring, until melted and smooth.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl until light, smooth, about 3–4 minutes. Beat in salt and vanilla to combine. Then pour in melted chocolate mixture, and beat to combine. Scrape sides as needed. Beat in cornstarch mixture, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is thick and holds its shape, about 30 seconds.

Melt 1 Tbsp. coconut oil and remaining 3 Tbsp. cashew butter in a small microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Scrape batter into your prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Working quickly becasue the coconut oil in this recipe can start to re-harden, drop melted cashew butter mixture in 5 spots and swirl into top of batter with a skewer or toothpick. Sprinkle chopped dark chocolate cashews over the top.

Bake brownies for 21-24 minutes until tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist spots. Being careful not to insert tester into the melted chocolate covered cashew, but into the actual brownie. For an accurate read.

Store in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap for up to 3 days.

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Annie

Bites of My Life

We are about half way through February. How does this happen? Last week was busy which meant it flew by. This weekend was busy in a fun way, meaning it also flew by. I didn't have enough hours in the day today to get everything done to prep for this week. I'm typing as fast as I can, barely keeping my eyes open as I write this post with the Grammy's in the background, my computer at 13% and precisely 24 minutes past my bedtime (It's currently 9:24pm on Sunday night, yes I go to bed at 9pm like a grandma). 

So let's keep it brief since sister needs to get in bed. Last week was work, workout, eat repeat; per usual. This week looks the same, but I'm so excited to head down to Dallas on Friday for a little BFF reunion. I won't mind another speedy week!!

-Real life I love having time to make breakfast, but I secretly love protein and energy bars as much as homemade smoothies. Green tea and an almond butter Kize bar on the go!
-This brussels sprout salad was a treat last week. It had a brown butter vinaigrette which is being recreated so soon. 
-Smoothie bowl hack using a pre-made smoothie from Pure Food + Juice.
-Lunch last week and this week will look like this. Kale/romaine taco salad with turkey meat, avo, green onions, tomato, salsa and crushed plantain chips. So good and whole 30!
-Perfected these dense fudgey brownies. The recipe got posted last week so you can enjoy them too. P.S. these are a perfy chocolate treat for that holiday that happens on Tuesday.
-The best part of StudioHop is getting back into hot yoga. I have been pretty devoted to just Barre3 and cardio with some interval classes mixed in, but I've missed hot yoga. The flexibility of SH allows me to go to so many studios and classes with just one membership. Sign up before 3/6/17 and use my code 'anniehopokc' to get $20 off your first month!
-Beyond obsessed with Beyond Studios. Their 500 class is a butt kicker and I can't get enough. I've been dropping in their classes thanks to none other than, StudioHop.
-I was first introduced to 88 Acres by my friend Dana. She sent me some of there chocolate sunflower seed butter and it knock nutella out of the park. Dana got me hooked up with the company and now I'm hooked on their seed bars. They are a 100% nut free brand-kudos.
-It hit 90 degrees on Saturday in OKC. Hello taste of spring!
-With Valentine's/Galentine's/Single Awareness day on the horizon it means all the sweets and treats and pink things. After my timehop reminded me that I posted these Snickerdoodles a year ago I was craving them. I made them along with these for my gal pal celebration.
-This week's meal prep looks like this: roasted delicata squash (first timer!!) tossed with parsley, shallot, lime juice and red pepper flakes. 
-Squash to go with these crispy skillet turmeric chicken thighs. Comment if you want the recipe!

Annie

Perfect Fudge Brownies

If you've been reading my blog or following me on Instagram you probably remember last year when I set out on a quest to find my perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I found it, and you can get the recipe here. Well now I have put it on myself to find my perfect brownie recipe. Like CCCs, people differ in how they like their brownies. My brother-in-law is a brownie connoisseur. He even had brownies and milk instead of a groom's cake he and my sister's wedding. 

I was excited and he was excited as I began my brownie recipe testing, only to find out we have very different opinions when it comes to brownies. I like mine dense, fudgy and super chocolatey. He likes his cakey and fluffy. I'm sorry John, but no. 

With my flavor and texture profile in mind, I did some research, developed a recipe, and to my excitement I found it on the first try! My cookie quest took four rounds of testing... This brownie recipe checked all of my required boxes. Dense, fudgy, strong chocolate flavor, and makes more than an 8x8 in pan. I know that is a funny requirement, but I always feel like 9 square brownies from an 8x8 is not enough. This recipe fills a whole 9x13 pan! 

I gave out lots of samples to gain feedback (completely ignoring my B-I-L's opinion). There was a "Stop testing, you found it" and my favorite compliment, "These remind me of 501's." Cafe 501 is a local restaurant that has my favorite brownies. I had them in mind the whole time I was developing this recipe. So, if you are like me and want your brownies, dense, fudgy and chocolatey, keep reading. 

Perfect Fudge Brownies
yields 9x13 pan, 18 brownies

Ingredients:
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. ground coffee (enhances the chocolate flavor)
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolates in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until fully melted. Stirring between each 30 seconds. Make sure to scrape the bottom to keep from burning. In a separate bowl, use a hand held mixer or a whisk to beat sugar, eggs, coffee and vanilla together. With a wooden spoon, stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Fold the flour and salt into the mix. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 25 to 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Annie