The other day I came home and was desperate for some kind of warm, gooey, chocolatey goodness. I really wanted GOOD brownies.
You know those days?
I’ve made many different brownies before, but these are by far one of the best. Although they are ‘healthy’, they still taste like a complete indulgence. Super chocolatey, as gooey as you like, decadent…but without any grains, gluten, dairy or refined sugars. And no junk at all.
That’s not to say you should eat half a tray for lunch, because there is still sugar in here (although a much healthier option), but this is about as good as you can get.
The ingredients include good quality dark chocolate (I recommend 80-90% dark chocolate for the adult version, or perhaps 70% if you are making this for kids), real cocoa or cacao, coconut oil, eggs, almonds, walnuts, coconut syrup/nectar, and vanilla. That’s it.
I actually used a Nigella recipe for inspiration and modified it to what you see below!
- 200g dark chocolate, 70-90% cocoa solids
- 1 heaped tablespoon cacao or good quality cocoa powder
- 210g coconut oil (or butter or ghee or combination)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 180-200g coconut syrup/nectar
- 3 eggs
- 150g ground almonds
- 120g chopped walnuts + more to go on top if you wish
What you do
- Preheat your oven to 170°C/340°F and line a 24cm (or close-ish) baking tin/tray.
- Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together on very low heat in a pan or double boiler or any other method and stir. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. (I used a Thermomix to grate chocolate, then added the oil and melted for a couple of minutes on 80°C or so).
- Take off the heat and add the vanilla and coconut syrup. Then either pour this mixture into a food processor, add the eggs and ground almonds and whiz until smooth, OR, separately hand beat the eggs, then add them to mixture along with ground almonds and stir/mix very thoroughly.
- Taste the batter and add a tiny bit more syrup if you need to.
- Add the chopped walnuts and stir by hand.
- Pour into pan and sprinkle more walnuts on top if you wish.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Check that you do not overcook, or they won’t be so gooey. This may take more or less time than 25 min. They should look set on top but still wobbly underneath. That is ok – these are brownies, not a cake.
- Remove from oven and let cool a bit before tasting or you will burn your mouth like I did :-P Delicious warm or cold.
My advice and tips…
- If you use 80% or high dark chocolate it is more rich, dark (obviously), and perhaps not as suitable for little kids (unless they are used to dark chocolate!). 70% dark chocolate is a nice option to suit everyone if it’s not adults-only. Or if you have an adult who doesn’t ‘do’ dark chocolate (I personally loved my brownies with 80%!).
- Check your chocolate is gluten and dairy free if you need that. Use a good quality chocolate and try to avoid the commercial brands (Cadbury and the like) which are full of junk. I often use Lindt couverture chocolate for baking.
- Make sure your cocoa/cacao powder is pure cocoa or cacao. There shouldn’t be a single other thing in it, especially sugar or any weird additives.
- This is delicious with coconut oil (doesn’t taste like coconut), but if you can do ghee or butter (if you tolerate dairy well) or mix it up, that will be delicious too. I actually used a bit of ghee and would have used more but I ran out!
- I use coconut syrup often because it doesn’t tend to spike blood sugars as much as other sweeteners due to the fact that it is Low GI. This means it is better for everyone’s blood sugars in general, and better for those who are in danger of diabetes (including gestational diabetes for pregnant women), those who are overweight or obese, have diabetes, have unbalanced blood sugars, or simply want to prevent any of this.
- If you don’t have coconut syrup, you can use maple syrup instead. I wouldn’t recommend using honey due to the fact that it will be cooked.
- And for the ground almonds, you can certainly buy almond meal or almond flour, but it is best to grind them yourself right then and there, if you have the tools to do so. Ground nuts start to go rancid quite quickly, and it would be difficult to ensure that pre-ground from a store shelf are still good.
- Please get yourself some real vanilla extract, or make your own, instead of using that horrible vanilla ‘essence’. Every year or two I make my own with vanilla bean pods and some vodka (or another alcohol) and just leave it at the back of the cupboard. It just needs to be shaken now and then and left to sit in the dark until it’s ready to use. Check that you use a gluten/grain free alcohol if you require this. There are plenty of recipes online.
- Enjoy your brownies!
Let me know if you try them! What’s the verdict???