And now for my contribution! I originally wanted to make a paleo brownie version of these grain-free spiderweb cupcakes. In those, white chocolate is used to make spiderwebs but since white chocolate is pretty far from paleo, I tried making the same spiderweb effect using a coconut butter based frosting. It just doesn’t flow like white chocolate, making spiderwebs impossible.
So I came up with these bloody eyeball brownies which I think are way more fun than spiderwebs! Don’t you just love it when something like that turns around for the better?! I first made the eyeballs with bananas but they didn’t look all that convincing.
Then I remembered Shanna’s creepy eyeball martinis from last year and got myself down to the store to get some canned lychees! They look SO much better than bananas. Lychees + chocolate + strawberry is admittedly a weird combination but I went with it because it looks so creepy. I recommend eating the eyeball first before going to town on the brownie!
The coconut butter frosting is super simple but I prefer to avoid added steps and ingredients when possible. So I assembled a few eyeball brownies without the frosting but the red didn’t pop at all. If you don’t have coconut butter, you can use any firm frosting you’d like. What was great about this one was that it hardened in the refrigerator and when it came time to decorate the brownies in the morning, it was like a canvas. If I didn’t like how the strawberry jam blood fell, I could just start over.
I assembled my brownies in the morning and when I looked at them again around 10pm, they still looked perfect. But I can’t guarantee yours will! I think it’ll probably depend on your jam.
As written, this recipe only makes 9 brownies. If you want to use a 9″x13″ pan, you can double the recipe and bake them for about 30 minutes. That results in some ridiculously thick brownies which you can see in the second picture. If I needed a ton of eyeball brownies, I’d probably double the recipe and bake them in TWO 9″x13″ pans and reduce the baking time. These are so dense and fudgy (you can’t tell by the pictures, but they’re almost like straight up fudge!) that it may not be the best idea for little ones to be eating such huge brownies. Or you could simply use a smaller circular cookie cutter! And if you hate this whole bloody eyeball thing, you can enjoy the brownies as is. They don’t need any add-ins, frosting, or anything.
If you’d like a different base, try these Paleo Delicata Squash Brownies from Fearless Dining!
Bloody Eyeball Brownies (paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 9 brownies
- 1 cup (100 grams) almond flour or almond meal
- 2 tablespoons (16 grams) coconut flour, sifted if lumpy
- 3/4 cup (86 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy (you could also use Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (196 grams) coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly (unsalted butter works for a non-paleo / dairy-free version)
- 1 1/3 cups (267 grams) coconut sugar (or granulated sugar for a non-paleo version)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 6 tablespoons (90 grams) coconut butter (not coconut oil!)
- 1 tablespoon (20 grams) honey
- 3 tablespoons canned coconut milk
- a dash of salt, optional
- Canned lychees
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup strawberry jam
For the brownies:
For the frosting:
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line an 8"×8" (20cmx20cm) pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted coconut oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Once combined, add the eggs one at a time, and stir just until combined.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir just until almost no streaks of flour remain. Do not overmix!
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 23-26 minutes or until the brownies have formed a thin crust and appear set in the middle. A toothpick inserted into the center will come out wet. A toothpick inserted into the sides will come out with some moist crumbs on it, but not totally raw batter. The brownies will continue to bake as they sit in the pan and will firm up as they cool. Let cool completely before frosting.
- If your coconut butter is hard, very gently heat it until it's soft enough to combine with the other ingredients. I did mine at 30% power in the microwave for a few seconds. It just needs to be soft! Not melted. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. If your coconut butter melted a little bit, the frosting may look clumpy and greyish. Don't worry as it it'll turn white and solid looking once it comes to room temperature!
- Cut out circles using a biscuit cutter (mine was 2.5"). Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over the top of the brownies. Place the brownies in the refrigerator for at least an hour so that the frosting firms up. This isn't necessary but it makes the decorating process easier. Refrigerate until almost ready to serve.
- Rinse the lychees and pat them dry with paper towels. Place a blueberry in the center of the lychee and place on a paper towel lined plate until all the eyeballs are ready. Place the eyeballs on the frosted cupcakes. Spread about 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons of jam over the eye.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.