Gluten-free Brownies

gluten-free browniesI always like to keep up with the trends (clothes, food, you name it), but I was seriously behind the times when it came to the ‘trendy’ coconut ingredients. After hearing about all of the amazing health claims swirling around coconut oil and coconut palm sugar, I decided to pick them up on a trip to Trader Joe’s. I had yet to find a recipe where I could use both…until I found these delicious-looking flourless brownies. I’m all for healthier ingredient substitutes and I wholeheartedly trusted the claim that “no one will know about the black beans!” The beans replace the flour, offer an unexpected protein boost…and I promise, no one will know they’re in there (until you tell them). Brownies made with black beans = gluten-free genius in my book! To take this recipe to the next level, I replaced the sugar and oil with the coconut palm sugar and coconut oil — so I could finally say that I successfully used BOTH superstar ingredients!

Coconut palm sugar’s claim to fame (as a sugar alternative) is that it can prevent blood sugar crashes and weight gain that regular granulated sugar is known for.  At first glance, coconut palm sugar resembles brown sugar in color, texture, and taste and in this recipe we couldn’t tell the difference – no noticeable coconut flavor at all!

Coconut oil has similarly amazing health benefits — it aids in digestion and can lower cholesterol, to name a few. I was so excited about using coconut oil after hearing all the hype, but at first it was a little tricky. I initially added the melted coconut oil into the food processor with the rest of the ingredients, only to have it solidify and clump up.  [Side note: coconut oil’s natural state is solid at room temperature and it liquefies at higher temps.] I ended up melting the coconut oil in the microwave and adding it to the already-blended batter at the end, which worked perfectly. Again, no hint of coconut flavor in these brownies.

gluten-free brownies
The end result (drum-roll please)…thick, fudgy, decadent brownies that are gluten-free, dairy-free and lower in sugar…but you would never know it! The hubby couldn’t get enough of these and proclaimed that they were just fudgy enough without being too ‘heavy.’ I LOVE when recipe experiments work out!

Gluten-Free Brownies
Yields 16 servings|serving = 1 brownie
Calories: 143|Fat: 5g|Sodium: 194g|Carbs: 25g|Sugars: 15g|Protein: 4g
1 15oz can black beans
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup liquid egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or granulated sugar)
1 Tbsp fat-free non-dairy creamer (I used vanilla flavored) or milk of your choice
1/2 tsp melted coconut oil or butter/margarine
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp ground coffee beans (I used a decaf K-cup), optional
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray bottom and sides of a 9×9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Line baking dish with parchment paper (use 2 overlapping sheets, one vertically and one horizontally with enough overhang on each side for easy lifting) and spray again with non-stick spray.
Combine all ingredients except for coconut oil and chocolate chips in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse until batter is smooth and no lumps remain. Be sure to stop, scrape down the sides with a spoon, and pulse again so that all ingredients are well-combined.
Microwave coconut oil for about 15 seconds until melted.
Once batter is smooth, transfer to a medium bowl. Mix in melted coconut oil and 1/2 cup chocolate chips with a spoon until combined.
Transfer batter into lined baking dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges start to pull away from the sides of the dish and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Once completely cooled, lift brownies out of baking dish using the parchment paper “handles” and place on a cutting board.
Cut into squares and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: Skinnytaste
Photos: Lighten Up Recipes


One thought on “Gluten-free Brownies

  1. Pingback: Molten Chocolate Lava Mug Cake | Lighten Up!

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