Friday, 8 April 2016

RECIPE: Healthy chocolate chunk peanut butter coconut flour brownies (gluten-free)

Is it possible to be in love with a brownie?

Actually I know the answer to that and it is very much in the affirmative.
Hey there.

Disclaimer: the day before I made these brownies I had the most tragic accident: my water bottle leaked in my bag soaking my camera and essentially killing it. I'm distraught. But it's so rare for me to find the time to bake these days that I went ahead and made them, even though I knew I'd have to make do with my iPhone 4 camera. IPHONE 4, PEOPLE!? Who even still has one of them!? I'm living in the past, I know, and am currently trying to get my hands on the new iPhone SE but it ain't easy. So long story short, I apologise for the quality (or lack thereof) of the photos in this post.
I love these brownies because they're fudgy, moist and rich but at the same time full of ingredients that genuinely nourish your body. I am for real.

And how are they so chocolatey, you ask?

Raw cacao powder, I answer!
If you're an avid reader of Handbags and Cupcakes you'll know I've been a keen user of raw cacao powder for some time - during my final year of uni in Bristol, I was lucky enough to live near a fantastic independent food shop that stocked lovely raw cacao powder.

Upon moving to London, I thought it'd be easy peasy to track down. Not so, mes amis.

But I have recently discovered that trusty ole Amazon are amazing for obscure ingredients, particularly healthy ones. Raw cacao powder, coconut sugar, acai berry powder... They've got it all! Aaaand you can buy big packets to make your purchase better value without the stress of lugging it home. Win-win!

I know I have a fair few student readers so I want to let you know that with Amazon Student you can actually do a six-month free trial of Amazon Prime where you get unlimited one-day delivery, access to Prime Video, Prime Music and Prime Photos which would normally cost £39 a year. I did it back in my student days and it was great, I have to say. Who likes waiting for stuff? Not me.
So back to the brownies of gorgeousness.

These are gluten-free as I used coconut flour again (I use The Groovy Food Co). As well as having a lack of gluten, coconut flour makes your bakes moist and dense which is perf for brownies. It also has a subtle sweetness which I love.

Raw cacao powder is totally bitter on its own, so I counteracted that with some lovely agave nectar. You can use honey though if you like.
I also used Ombar chocolate as it's raw and dairy-free and in my head a totally justifiable way to eat loads of chocolate, but you could absolutely use normal chocolate if you like. Essentially, you can make these brownies as healthy or regular as you like by making substitutions, although coconut flour can't be swapped out for normal flour in the same quantities, so maybe leave that one.

These brownies aren't vegan as they contain eggs - it's important that your eggs are room temperature not chilled so that the coconut oil stays liquid - but you need eggs when baking with coconut flour to bind everything together.

I simply adore the salty-sweet peanut butter-chocolate combo of these brownies and hope you do too.

This recipe makes nine brownies (adapted from Ambitious Kitchen).


30g coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly (30 seconds in the microwave did the trick for me!)
160g agave nectar (or honey)
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaped tbsp peanut butter (I like the all-natural slightly salted stuff)
30g raw cacao powder
30g coconut flour
A pinch of salt
35g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks


1. Preheat the oven to 180C, melt the coconut oil and line a 9 x 9 inch baking tray with greaseproof paper or foil (or just spray with nonstick cooking spray).

2. Using a handheld electric whisk, mix together the coconut oil, agave, eggs, vanilla and peanut butter until smooth. Add the cacao, coconut flour and salt and mix again until fully-combined.

3. Pour the mixture into the tin and smooth the top before sprinkling the chocolate chunks evenly over the surface.
Bake for 15-18 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean - they may not look done, but that's fine. You don't want to overbake these.

4. Transfer the tin to a wire rack to cool. After about five minutes, carefully go round the edge of the brownies with a knife. Leave to cool fully in the tin if you can as they'll be a lot easier to get out of the tin. I failed...

But hey, nobody's perfect and waiting for freshly-baked brownies to cool must be the hardest thing in the world. The choice is yours, amigos!


  1. These look so delicious - I have a massive low for raw cacao powder at the minute! x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog

    1. Join the club, Chloe! Thanks so much x


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