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For the last year, Vancouver Aquarium visitors have been indulging in Ocean Wise executive chef Ned Bell’s kelp brownies – a unique and tasty addition to the Aquarium Café menu and the inspiration for latest Ocean Wise Seafood assessment. This week, the Ocean Wise Seafood team announced that B.C. kelp is now a sustainable choice for diners, chefs, and seafood shoppers alike. (Learn more here.)

And because sharing is caring, Chef Ned is giving a taste of his forthcoming cookbook Lure so you can try this delicious, nutritious, AND sustainable treat not only at the Aquarium but at home too.

Seaweed Brownies Recipe:

Makes 2 dozen

With two nutrient-dense star ingredients—dark chocolate and kelp—these fudgy brownies slathered in chocolate icing could almost be considered a health food. The inspiration for the sole dessert in this book comes from my love of salted caramel—not from my misspent youth, I swear! Kelp has a delicate saltiness that opens the taste buds and enhances the rich and sweet flavors of this special brownie—no hallucinogens required.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter

6 oz chopped high-quality dark chocolate, such as Cacao Barry, Valrhona, or Scharffen Berger

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

6 eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 2/3 cups cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)

1 oz (about 1/4 cup) kelp powder or flaked seaweed, plus extra for garnish

1 Tbsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet (12 × 18 × 2 inches) with parchment paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir until melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder together over the chocolate mixture, and stir until incorporated. Stir in the kelp powder (or flaked seaweed) and sea salt.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

 Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup honey

1 Tbsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract

1 tsp sea salt

5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a handheld mixer), and whip until smooth and creamy.

When the brownies have cooled, spread the frosting on top and garnish with kelp powder (or flaked seaweed). They’re at their best warm, so don’t hesitate to throw them in the microwave for 30 seconds before serving.

For readers interested in trying these creations at home, Chef Ned recommends buying B.C. kelp online from Canadian Kelp Co., Dakini Tidal Wilds, or North Pacific Kelp, or from your local Ocean Wise retailer.

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