Healthy brownies rich in protein, using apple sauce and nut butter instead of oil and eggs, also vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, refined sugar free and paleo.
These healthy brownies have an intense chocolate flavor and are the quintessential brownie with an edge of structure so they fall between fudgy and cakey - my favorite kind! Top with frosting, or swirl in a decoration.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Reese's cup brownies. The brownies are both fudgy and cake-like and the peanut butter swirl on top give them a reese's cup flavor profile.
High in protein. In these brownies, I made them higher in protein by the use of nut butter or sunflower seed butter to keep them nut-free.
Higher in micro nutrients. Using coconut palm sugar and organic cane the micronutrients are higher. And if you choose a brand with a Fair Trade certification seal, the sugar cane workers were treated better.
Plant-based and vegan. Whether you eat plant-based or not, you'll love these brownies. I use apple sauce instead of eggs so go ahead and taste the raw batter with no fear of salmonella.
Chocolate Chips or Chopped Chocolate - the quality of this chocolate influences the flavor and texture of the brownie so choose wisely. I always go with Enjoylife Chocolate Chips, or HU gems (refined-sugar-free), Ghiradelli above 70% cacao.
Nut Butter - Use any nut butter, or even sunflower seed butter to keep the brownies nut free.
Sugars - I used a mix of coconut palm sugar (brown sugar made from coconuts), and organic cane sugar (organic cane sugar doesn't have bone char like regular cane sugar does.)
Apple sauce - be sure to use unsweetened. Or use aquafaba, the liquid straight out of a can of unsalted chickpeas, or 3 flaxseed eggs - 3 tablespoon of ground flaxseed stirred into 9 tablespoon of water.
Cocoa Powder - I use dutch processed cocoa, Valhrona is my favorite. But regular unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder is fine, it just won't have as intense a chocolate flavor.
Flour - To make these gluten-free, I used GF flour, but all purpose is also fine.
Steps to Make
- Melt and stir chocolate and seed or nut butter together.
- In a large bowl, whip sugars, apple sauce, and other liquids until fluffy.
- Into the sugar mixture, fold in the melted chocolate/butter mixture .
- Set a strainer or sieve over the bowl, and to it add the dry ingredients. Push them through and stir up the batter.
- Transfer this incredible brownie batter into a loaf pan.
- Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes.
- Allow the brownies to cool in the pan at room temperature.
- Frost or not and EAT straight out of the pan, standing over the counter as fast as you can before anyone else notices you just baked brownies.
Nut Butter in Oil-free Brownies
Gluten-free brownies tend to be dryer than regular brownies so the addition of nut butter instead of butter offsets that. You can of course use any nut butter, such as almond butter or cashew butter, or use a seed butter to keep the recipe allergen free.
The addition of nut butter puts healthy fats into the brownie, helping to make them both cakey and fudgy at the same time.
How to Store
Cool brownies 1 hour before removing from pan. Chill uncut in refrigerator and then cut with a serrated knife.
Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for 2 days. After that, refrigerate for a week, freeze after that.
These Brownies are both Cake-like & Gooey
By adding baking powder we are making them rise to create a cake-like texture. But by limiting baking time to 30 minutes, we are influencing a gooey texture. So you have the best of both worlds.
How Do You Know When Brownies Are Ready?
These brownies will be dry and baked on the top and rise a bit in the center, and sink when you remove them from the oven. That's how you know they are done.
How Do I Substitute Eggs in Brownies?
As you see in this healthy vegan brownie recipe, I used apple sauce instead of eggs. When apple sauce is whipped with the sugar, it traps air pockets and helps lift the brownies and create that shiny crust.
What Do You Put on Top of Brownies?
Brownies can be topped with frosting, glaze, or a swirl of melted peanut butter.
You can also top brownies with chocolate chips sprinkled on before baking, salt flakes or add whipped cream or ice cream after baking and before serving.
More Brownie Recipes
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- ½ cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate use 60% cacao and up, I use Enjoylife brand or HU Gems
- ⅓ cup nut butter I used cashew but others work as well as seed butter
- ½ cup organic cane sugar
- ½ cup coconut palm sugar packed (brown sugar)
- 6 tablespoon unsweetened apple sauce or aquafaba
- ¼ cup dairy free milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup all purpose flour or gluten-free 1 to 1 baking flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
Nut Butter Drizzle
- ¼ cup nut butter, melted
- Preheat oven at 350 F. Measure ingredients. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper
- Melt nut butter and chocolate chips for 1 minute and stir until smooth.½ cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, ⅓ cup nut butter
- In a large bowl, combine the sugars and apple sauce and vanilla and milk, use a hand-mixer or spoon to combine. Fold in the melted chocolate and seed butter mixture.½ cup organic cane sugar, ½ cup coconut palm sugar, 6 tablespoon unsweetened apple sauce, ¼ cup dairy free milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla
- In a strainer and a sieve, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, and stir until combined.½ cup cocoa powder, ½ cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, pinch of salt
- Fold the dry into the wet until fully mixed.
- Pour batter into pan, tap to even the surface.
- Dollop on seed or nut butter.¼ cup nut butter, melted
- Swirl with the tip of a knife. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Let them cool in the pan for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Slice with serrated knife.
This post is sponsored by Sunbutter. My opinions are my own.