Sugar-free chocolatey brownies: A decadent-but-actually-healthy treat for when you feel like a chocolate fix.
I had my first baby a little over a month ago, and after being a savoury girl since way back, I developed a major sweet tooth while I was pregnant. And while you can justify a daily slab of cake / kilo of chocolate while you’re ‘eating for two’, I’ve been attempting to wean myself off my sugar habit before it goes too far.
But let’s face it, a life without chocolate is basically not worth living – and with a four-week old baby, it’s basically an essential food group. Throw in the fact it’s Easter in week, and I’ve felt like I’ve been fighting a losing battle!
In my desperation to find a middle ground, I discovered Loving Earth raw chocolate – cue new obsession. It’s got the most delicious dark chocolate taste… and is about as guilt-free as you can get. Like it’s so good I think I’d even pick it over normal dark chocolate even if I wasn’t trying to be healthy. Now that’s high praise!
Inspired by this discovery, I wanted to reinvent my other favourite pregnancy indulgence – the brownie. These babies are full of goodness – nuts, cacao, eggs, coconut oil – and ‘iced’ with raw chocolate for an extra hit of chocolatey goodness. They contain no sugar, no dairy, no gluten, and are vegan and low GI. Yep, they’re pretty much as virtuous as a nun on a field trip to the Vatican.
They’re more designed for dark chocolate lovers – going for the rich cacao taste over the super-sweet chocolatey feel, so if you feel you want a bit more sweetness you could add a bit more rice malt syrup, or even finely chop some dates to throw through the mixture along with the nuts. I like the latter option, because it keeps the brownies nice and moist (ew, that word never sounds good, does it?!).
Serves: yields 16 brownies
- 3 cups almond meal
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
- 1/2 cup raw cacao
- 2 tbsp rice malt syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup mixed nuts (raw – or try dry roasted for a slightly richer flavour) – e.g. hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts
- 50g raw chocolate (eg Loving Earth 72% dark chocolate)
1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Use a non-stick brownie tray or line with grease-proof paper. I used a 9-inch tray.
2. Lightly whisk together the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl.
3. Crush your nuts by placing in a tea towel or inside a plastic sandwich bag, and crushing with a rolling pin. You want a variety of shapes and textures, so don’t pulverise them too much!
4. Add all the dry ingredients (excluding the raw chocolate) to the wet ingredients, and fold to combine until mixture looks like a typical batter.
5. Pour into prepared brownie tray, and smooth out the top.
6. Bake for 20 minutes – brownie will only be slightly browned on top and look drier/cake-like.
7. Allow cake to cool on a cooling rack, then melt your raw chocolate and drizzle across the cake as an ‘icing’. Depending on the season/ how warm your house is, you can either put the whole cake in the fridge so the icing hardens before slicing, or just leave on cooling rack.
8. Slice into 16 pieces and serve.
Storage: Given I live in balmy Sydney, and coconut oil and raw chocolate can be a bit temperamental, I prefer to keep my brownies in the fridge.