Gluten free and naturally sweetened—with these Healthy Brownies, you can have your
cake brownies and eat them too!
Any time I have attempted to reform my diet, even for a temporary period, I meet the same insurmountable barrier: chocolate.
It’s both my greatest food weakness and my greatest source of food happiness.
Rather than attempt to give it up, drive myself crazy with cravings, then feel bad when I slip, I find it far more pleasant to create healthier chocolate desserts like today’s healthy brownies.
Although I don’t adhere to a specific diet (Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, etc.), I am certainly no stranger to the feeling that my body sometimes needs a bit of a reset— especially following the holidays when I realize that I’ve been subsisting primarily on cheese boards, Brownie Cookies, and champagne.
I suspect a few of you may share the same feeling, and that’s where this easy, healthy brownie recipe comes into play.
(These Avocado Brownies are another great healthy brownie option.)
5 Star Review
“Like a little bit of heaven in each bite! Delicious!”
— Geneva —
How to Make Healthy Brownies
Made with almond butter, unsweetened cocoa, hefty hunks of dark chocolate, and a rich fudge frosting, this recipe is gooey, decadent, and…healthy?!
Yep, it’s true!
Flourless, gluten free (and grain free), dairy free, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar (no sugar of the granulated variety here!), these healthy brownies will satisfy any chocolate craving in a wholesome way.
For another healthy brownie option that sneaks in a serving of veggies, check out these Sweet Potato Brownies.
- Almond Butter. Provides the brownies with all the richness and fat they need without adding any butter, vegetable oil, or canola oil to the recipe. Almond butter is packed with vitamin E and contains healthy monounsaturated fats.
- Coconut Sugar + Maple Syrup. My choices for natural sweeteners that take the place of refined granulated sugar.
- Cocoa Powder. The trick to making traditional brownies (like my One Bowl Brownies and Brownie Bites) and healthy brownies such as these ultra-decadent.
- Egg. Adds richness, improves texture, and gives the brownies a little lift and chew.
- Vanilla Extract. Balances and intensifies the chocolate flavor.
- Chocolate Chips. Get stirred into the batter and sprinkled on top.
- Fudge Frosting. Made with a few of the wholesome ingredients above, along with almond milk and coconut oil to make it rich and spreadable, this easy fudge frosting is the perfect way to finish off these healthy brownies.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, prepare the brownie batter.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Spread the batter into a greased and lined 8×8 square baking pan.
- Bake healthy brownies at 350 degrees F for 17 minutes. Let cool.
- Prepare the frosting in a small saucepan on the stovetop.
The mixture will look very separate at first but will come together as you continue to stir.
- Spread the frosting over the brownies and sprinkle with additional chocolate chips. Allow the frosting to set, then slice and serve. ENJOY!
- To Store. Keep the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Enjoy leftovers at room temperature or, to make them extra fudgy, warm slightly in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Cover the brownies uncut in the pan with foil and store frozen for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
You may also freeze individual cut brownies in plastic wrap and heavy-duty foil.
What to Serve with Healthy Brownies
Add one (or more) of these other healthy desserts to your dessert spread. No one will ever guess they’re heathy.
The Best Brownie Pan Ever
The best pan for brownies, bars, and more. This square pan allows for quick and easy clean up and even baking.
OK, over and out. We have some (healthy) chocolate to eat!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. While I do not follow or study the Paleo diet, the recipe, as it is written, does happen to be Paleo-friendly. Just be sure to opt for coconut sugar and source dairy-free chocolate chips.
I have not tried making this healthy brownie recipe vegan, so it would be an experiment. You could try swapping the egg for a flax egg; however, I’m not sure how that would impact the texture of the recipe. If you’re looking for a tested and proven vegan option, try these Vegan Brownies.
I can’t recommend omitting nut butter from this recipe since it is crucial to its taste and texture. If you have an allergy, you could play around with sunflower butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, or other allergy-friendly alternatives depending upon your needs. If you give this a try, I’d love to hear about your results.
For the Brownies:
- 1 cup creamy almond butter I use the natural kind that stays in the refrigerator after opening
- 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons coconut sugar or light brown sugar*
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate*
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper so that it overhangs two of the sides like handles, then coat again with spray. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the almond butter, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the coconut sugar to absorb some of the moisture. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the top. Stir to combine.
With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, then with a spatula or your fingers, press the batter into an even layer.
Bake for 17 minutes, until the top is lightly dry and barely begins to puff. Let the brownies cool completely.
For the frosting, melt the chocolate with the almond butter and coconut oil in a small saucepan, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat, then stir in the almond milk and vanilla until very smooth and evenly combined. The mixture will look very separate at first but will come together as you continue to stir.
Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled brownies. Top with additional chocolate chips as desired. Refrigerate until the frosting is set, about 10 additional minutes. Slice and serve.
- TO STORE: Keep the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Enjoy leftovers at room temperature or, to make them extra fudgy, warm them slightly in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: These healthy brownies may be frozen for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- *DIETARY NOTE: If you would like to make these healthy brownies Paleo, make sure to opt for coconut sugar and source dairy-free chocolate chips.
Serving: 1(of 16)Calories: 261kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 6gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 13mgPotassium: 278mgFiber: 4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 27IUCalcium: 83mgIron: 2mg
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