Friday, October 12, 2012

Brownies: The Perfect Food?

Do you love brownies? Cakey or chewy? Dark and dense or lighter and more airy?

I'm a rabid brownie-lover. In fact, between brownies and homemade cookies, I'd be hard pressed to tell you my favorite.

Love. Them.

The other day when The Peapod asked if we could have brownies, I agreed. But grocery shopping has been done for the week, and my mind was spinning, wondering how I could "healthify" these long-time favorites.

Normally my first stop would be straight to my pal Google, but I remembered a great cookbook, "Marvelous Meatless Meals," that I had tucked away in the cookbook cupboard. I flipped through, and found it: Eureka! Gluten-free, white sugar-free, yummy sounding brownies.

After a stressful blissful time whipping these up with The Peapod at the helm, spoon held high (literally), we got most of the batter into the pan and popped them into the oven. We waited till they cooled (since we were stuffing ourselves with pizza and watching a gripping episode of "Thomas the Train," then sliced, extracted, and bit in.

Oh. My. Goodness.

These brownies are good. Really, really good. They are cake-like but dense, with a strong chocolate flavor. Best of all they're sweetened with only maple syrup and molasses (my substitution as I had no brown rice syrup on hand) and include some healthy nut meal. You absolutely can't tell that they're gluten-free--they have none of that strange crumbliness that a lot of GF baked goods have.

Melissa also includes a variation: peanut butter swirl brownies. Psyched to try that next time . . . and there will be a next time. The Peapod concurs, these brownies really are close to the perfect food. You can find out more about Melissa by visiting this link to her website, or check her out on Facebook. She offers nutritional consulting, too (wouldn't that make a great Christmas gift--perfect way to start the New Year!), classes and more.

Here's the reprinted recipe, permission given by author:

Completely Delicious Cocoa Brownies

2 Tbl. ghee, melted (I substituted vegan margarine)
2 Tbl. canola oil
1/2 cup gluten-free brown rice syrup (I used 1/4 cup of molasses)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional)
1/4 chopped nuts (optional)

In a medium sized bowl, stir together melted ghee, oil, rice syrup and maple syrup.
Add eggs, cocoa powder, almond flour, flour mix, and vanilla. Stir until fully combined.
Stir in nuts.
Pour into an 8x8 inch baking pan that's been sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled.
Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool before cutting.



  1. Since writing the book we have gone fully vegan and don't use eggs anymore. I use all different egg replacers depending on the recipe: pureed pumpkin. applesauce, bananas, ground flax or chia, or even EnerG or Orgran Egg Replacer. We use vegan margarine instead of the casein-free ghee and olive or coconut oil instead of canola. So glad you like them!!!Try the peanut butter-chocolate crunch, very easy and you can sub any nut/seed butter you like.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Melissa. I HIGHLY recommend this cookbook to friends and family. Even if they aren't gluten-free/dairy-free, etc., it's got a lot of tasty, simple recipes. And I like that the author is so friendly! :) Good luck with the newest version.