organic powdered sugar, which is available on Amazon, has the same ingredients.
Vanilla Bean Buttercream Brownies
Yield: 16 brownies
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook time: 30 minutes
For the brownies (adapated from Elana’s Pantry):
1 cup sunflower seed butter or almond butter*
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
*This recipe should work with any nut butter. Of course, use sunflower seed butter for nut-free brownies.
For the vanilla bean buttercream:
1 stick (1/4 pound or 1/2 cup) butter, softened (use salted butter or add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt if using unsalted)
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted after measuring
1 teaspoon vanilla
Seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean**
2 tablespoons cranberry juice (optional)***
**If you don’t have a vanilla bean, you can omit it and add another teaspoon of vanilla extract. You won’t have gorgeous flecks in your frosting, but it will still be delicious. I recommend buying some, though. They are reasonable in bulk and you can use any leftover vanilla beans to make extract or other desserts.
***I wanted to see if I could use juice to tint my frosting pink. As you can see, it did not really work, but I liked the rich cream color I ended up with. The frosting will not taste like cranberry.
To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 325 and line an 8×8″ glass pan with parchment paper or greased tinfoil.
In a medium bowl, beat together the nut or sunflower seed butter, honey, melted chocolate, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Beat in the baking soda and egg until well-combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, using a spatula to smooth the top and help the batter reach all four corners of the pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Cool completely in the pan, then remove using the parchment paper.
To make the frosting, cream the softened butter with a fork or mixer until smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat until combined (I do this by hand, but a mixer makes it easier). Stir in the vanilla, vanilla bean seeds, and cranberry juice, if using. If the frosting appears too thin, refrigerate it for a little while. If it appears too thick, add a splash of juice or milk until it reaches the desired consistency.
Use a spatula to frost the cooled brownies, then slice into 16 squares and serve.
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