From the hint of coconut oil mingling with the chocolate and Brazil nuts, to the luscious perfume of real vanilla bean, to the little kicks of sea salt that set it all off, I officially give these brownies the Hypothyroid Chef seal of approval. Not only are they gluten-free. Not only are they made with thyroid-nourishing coconut oil. Not only does each brownie contain more than your entire DV for Selenium. They are also unbelievably delicious. Without a doubt, this is the yummiest recipe on my blog so far. I’m kind of obsessed. It’s simply a bonus that you could almost call them healthy. No compromises here.
Simply put, these brownies hit all the spots and are heretofore a staple in my kitchen, hypothyroid or not.
I’ve had my mind set on creating a Brazil nut brownie recipe for Hypothyroid Chef for a while now. One of the reasons was that to be honest, I don’t love Brazil nuts. I don’t loathe them by any means, but they’re not my favorite. They are, however, a thyroid superfood, and they blow any other food out of the water when it comes to selenium content. Nothing comes close, and just one a day exceeds the daily value, boasting highly bioavailable (i.e. absorbable by the body) selenium.
A New Zealand study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concluded that eating two Brazil nuts a day could cancel the need for selenium supplementation.
In looking up food pairings for Brazil nuts, chocolate, coconut, and vanilla topped the list. Brownies seemed like a perfect excuse to get my Brazil nuts down, no problem.
Like many of you, I grew up on boxed brownies, and my ideal brownie is reminiscent of that: moist and fudgy, with crisp-chewy corners and a crackly top. Now that I’m a grown woman, they also need to be super duper chocolaty.
The first batch of gluten-free Brazil nut brownies I experimented with used shredded zucchini for moisture, and replaced wheat flour with coconut flour. The result was like eating a crumbly handful of chocolate-flavored sawdust. Unacceptable! If that’s the way it’s going to be, I’d rather not eat brownies at all. That pan of disappointment went straight into the trash can.
Driven by my undying love for chocolate, I kept searching and came across this recipe for Rich Fudgy Flourless Brownies on Life Made Simple. Baking blogger and photographer extraordinaire, Natalie, had gone through her own disappointing gluten-free brownie attempts, and finally found success by adapting this bomber recipe from David Lebovitz. I liked the look of it. This recipe wasn’t about being gluten-free, it just happened to be. So I gave it my hypothyroid-specific thumbprint, and SHAZAM! Super success.
An added bonus, at least in my opinion, is the 8 x 8-inch pan. I mean, 9 x 13? Who on earth is going to eat all that?
I am. That’s the problem.
Let’s break it down, shall we?
- When cut into 16 squares, each brownie contains roughly 1 1/2 Brazil nuts, or approxomately 190% DV for Selenium.The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Selenium, in adults, is 55 micrograms (mcg) per day. In addition to supporting the synthesis of thyroid hormone, selenium is essential to the conversion of T4 to T3, and protects the thyroid from stress. It also protects the thyroid from an overabundance of iodine. You might think of selenium as the thyroid gland’s security guard.
- Coconut oil has been touted as a thyroid, metabolism, energy, endurance, and weight loss booster by many health professionals, including Dr. Oz.
- Sea salt is a natural source of iodine as well as numerous other bioavailable trace minerals.
- Chocolate is usually high in sugar and can contain soy lecithin, which some people with an underactive thyroid choose to avoid; however, dark chocolate, when consumed in moderation, can be a good source of trace minerals like copper and manganese. Chocolate, esp. dark, also contains flavonols, a type of antioxidant that can reduce the cell damage caused by heart disease, and help to lower blood pressure, and promote vascular function.
I hope you enjoy these brownies as much as I do. Happy Valentines Day from Hypothyroid Chef. I wish you a day filled with abundant love, good health, and chocolate.