Energy Brownies with Power Spices
At the moment I'm really into super- and powerfoods. I'm fascinated with food that gives my body energy and strength. Everything we eat influences our health and mood, so the powerfood list includes quite a few special ingredients.
The so-called superfoods and powerfoods are at the top of the food list: they are chia seeds, basil seeds, goji berries, beetroot, green foods like algae, grasses, spinach etc., almonds, sauerkraut, pumpkin seeds, berries in general, acerola, pomegranate, ginger, avocado and many more. A real superfood provides a lot more nutrients than regular foods.
Little-known fact: superfoods don't necessarily have to be exotic, some of them grow right outside our front door, such as oregano, parsley, nettles, dandelion, homegrown broccoli sprouts, raw sauerkraut, barley grass and many more.
Food can have a medicinal effect and give our bodies an energy boost. And it's a myth that healthy foods are boring, taste gross, are too expensive or hard to get. Changing your diet and starting your day with more energy only requires a little change in attitude!
At the moment, I'm very inspired by spices and trying to create recipes from the ground up by starting with them. I particularly love Sonnentor's spice mixes. Spices don't just enhance dishes, they also influence brain function. It's been established that herbs and spices don't just increase our concentration but also our perception and short term memory. One of my favourites is the Aladins Kaffeegewürz-Mischung, a coffee spice mix combining cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, vanilla and mace (which is obtained from the seed coat of the nutmeg tree).
This particular mixture brought on the idea of a healthy energy brownie. The cinnamon contained in the spice mix increases brain activity even when you just smell it. It can sharpen our concentration and elevate our visual motor speed. Also good to know: cinnamon helps convert ingested carbohydrates into energy more quickly.
Cloves contain many antioxidants and help protect our bodies from oxidative stress and the damage from free radicals. They can help flush out toxins and support cellular health as well as boost concentration and memory.
Ginger packs a real punch! You can ingest the root cut into pieces, unpeeled, peeled or ground and it will act as a stimulant, anticonvulsant and combat nausea and travel sickness. Ginger also alleviates stomach cramps, fever and circulatory disorders and promotes digestion.
Many people use ginger for colds and sore throats - just chop up a piece of ginger and pour hot water over it. The previously described spicy oils contained in ginger (like zingerone and gingerols) will promote blood flow in the mucous membranes of throat and nose. Ginger activates the body's own thermoreceptors, which helps combat various infections. Germs are flushed out more quickly, which preempts colds or, if you already have one, speeds up recovery. The root's essential oils have all kinds of germ-killing properties, which also makes them ideal to fight inflammations of all kinds.
Amaranth is part of the amaranthacea family. It's a so-called pseudocereal - meaning it looks and acts like grain, but isn't one. To the Incas, amaranth was some kind of magic wondergrain. It's very versatile and can be used in cereals, soups, stews, casseroles, vegetable pan-fries and sweet dishes. It contains protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, provitamin A and vitamin C. Amaranth kernels are very high in fibre but are gluten-free, which makes them ideal for coeliacs and people with non-specific gluten-intolerance or auto-immune conditions.
But now, here's my recipe for the Energie Brownies with a load of herbs that raise our mental capacity, concentration and energy levels. The beautiful plate in the picture and the exquisite blue bowls in my Sago Post were created by ceramic artist Gerti Schneider.
Aladdin's Energy Brownie
- 2 TBSP coconut oil
- 1 TBSP Sonnentor's "Aladins Kaffeegewürz" (coffee spice mix) or cinnamon
- 10 deseeded dates
- 250g peanut butter
- 60g pumpkin seeds
- 80g puffed amaranth
- 3 TBSP chopped almonds
- 200g organic dark chocolate (70%)
- 40g grated coconut
- fruit to garnish (such as berries)
- Deseed the dates and mash with a fork. Put them in a pan, add coconut oil and peanut butter and let the mixture simmer briefly over a medium heat. Be careful not to let it burn!
- Remove from the heat. Chop the almonds and combine with the date mixture along with the amaranth, spices and pumpkin seeds. Mix well.
- Line a baking form with parchment, pour in the batter and spread evenly. Let it rest in the fridge for a little while.
- Chop the chocolate and melt it using a double-boiler or self-made bain-marie. Pour the melted chocolate over the batter and spread evenly. Put the form in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
- Cut the brownies into squares, top with coconut flakes and spices and serve with berries, to taste.