Healthy Flourless Brownies (and a Lot of Other Good Stuff)

You know how I like to test out my favorite bloggers’ recipes? Well, I’ve been eyeing Kelly’s (The Spunky Cocoonut) flourless brownies for a very long time. The thing is they are made of almond butter and/or sunbutter and I had never purchased or even tried either before—until recently. Now I’m a big fan of both almond butter and sunbutter. So I went ahead and made the sacrifice and tested this recipe for you. You can find Kelly’s original recipe here, but I’ll tell you the few changes that I made. My first time baking these I used all sunbutter because we have a support group member who is allergic to almonds. We weren’t having a support group meeting any time soon, but again I thought I’d go ahead and do a test baking session to see if these brownies were a winner. I know … silly to think they might not be … it’s one of Kelly’s recipes after all. All of her recipes are wonderful!

In addition to using all sunbutter, I substituted vanilla extract for the vanilla crème liquid stevia and added both ¼ cup of coarsely chopped walnuts and 1/8 cup of walnut meal (left over from another recipe). I like the added texture of nuts in many baked goods, but please note that nuts are not an ingredient in Kelly’s recipe so those of you with nut allergies can still enjoy these brownies without nuts. I added a little more honey, and also used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips, whereas Kelly used Enjoy Life chocolate chips to ensure her brownies would be dairy free and soy free, etc. as well as gluten free. Oh, these brownies are just amazing! If you make them, you may never go back to a traditional brownie. They are dense and rich, and not overly sweet. A small piece is all one needs to be perfectly satisfied. Get the recipe at the bottom of this post.

Kelly’s version is gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, and refined sugar free. When she made them via Skype for our support group meeting last fall, she said that her family often eats them for breakfast. She considers them very healthy and I can see why. She has several variations of flourless brownies on her blog, including this new one that is also egg free, grain free, vegan, and more.  I love it when folks create amazing recipes that address multiple allergies and keep others from feeling deprived! You can read my review of some of Kelly’s other recipes here and check out/order The Spunky Coconut Cookbook here if you like.

In other gfe news, the winners of the latest giveaway for publications by Ron Hoggan, Ed.D, are now revealed on that post on my Out and About page. See the five giveaway winners here.

There’s also a new post up on my Out and About page: a trip report on our holiday vacation in Key West, which includes reviews of accommodations, restaurants, and attractions. It’s a little long (I heard that!), but it has lots of photos and is a quick read. Grab a refreshing drink (you can even make a pina colada to get  you in the right frame of mind if you like), put your feet up, and let yourself be taken to the warm, sometimes crazy, and relaxing times that equal Key West. Check it all out here.

What else is happening?

Carol (Simply … Gluten-Free) has an ongoing series called Answers from a Gluten Doc. Dr. Vikki Petersen is answering questions from Carol’s readers. Dr. Petersen is the co-author (with her husband) of The Gluten Effect.   She is also co-founder and co-director of  the renowned clinic, HeathNow Medical.  Dr. Petersen also blogs about gluten intolerance at The Gluten Doctors. In the latest post of the series, Dr. Petersen addresses testing for gluten issues. In the first part of the series, she talked about common symptoms of gluten issues. I, for one, really appreciate this series fromm Carol and Dr. Petersen. I hope you’ll take a moment to check it out, and perhaps even offer your own question for Dr. Petersen to answer later.

Linda, our Gluten-Free Homemaker, has renamed her weekly blog carnival to Gluten-Free Wednesdays. She welcomes all who have gluten-free recipes or other helpful posts related to the gluten-free lifestyle each and every week. Don’t forget that for the first Wednesday of the month she asks you to submit a recipe to answer her current challenge. On April 7, she’ll be looking forward to your muffin recipes for her Create A Muffin challenge. Check out today’s roundup and add a link to your own gluten-free post if you’d like.

Just a reminder that Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free! is being hosted by Amy (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free) this month. She selected Guiltless Pleasures as her theme. Guilt is always such a colossal waste of time anyway (feeling bad in any form just attracts more bad), so I love this idea! The only entry I’ve seen so far while visiting gluten-free blogs is Aubree’s (Living Free) Carrot Bread Bites. Those look so good! Read the rules for Amy’s roundup here. Of course, Amy hosts Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays each week as well—the collection of recipes that are just a bit healthier.

Also, if you haven’t heard, Amy is participating in the Spring Cleaning! Get the Junk Out! Carnival that will start next week and continue through May. The overall hostess is Katie from Kitchen Stewardship. Each week, a different blogger will focus on how to remove harmful items and ingredients (e.g., parabens, plastics) from our lives. I  love this idea! There’s nothing like a blog event to get one in motion. Be sure to look for Amy’s post on March 30 on removing gluten from your life. I remember my own experience very well and as a support group leader, I often help folks in this area, so I can’t wait to participate in Amy’s roundup. Even though Amy is in culinary school (and acing her classes … go, Amy!), she continues to make time to be a leader in the gluten-free and sugar-free arena. Thank you, Amy!

Karen (Cook4Seasons) just did an informative post about Truth in Labeling. Labeling can be a “dirty” word to gluten-free folks. I’m still annoyed that the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) (which went into effect on January 2006) only requires that the eight major allergens be shown on food labels. Wheat is included in that requirement, but NOT barley or rye. Karen looks at other labeling issues though, like farm raised and vegan, so be sure to check out her post here. Karen’s blog is great, so do take a few minutes to take a look around if you are not already familiar with it. She has some of the simplest, most beautiful recipes, and almost all are naturally gluten free.



Finally, you can look forward to another Gluten-Free Progressive Easter Dinner Party next week. I’ll be sharing an appetizer on Monday, a side dish on Thursday, and a dessert on Friday. Diane, our always enthusiastic and inspiring leader, will post a complete lineup soon. (Current and previous information can always be found on her Events page.) By the way, did you catch her gluten-free, dairy-free whipped cream in our Oscar GFPDP? You didn’t? Better go check it out here. There’s no telling what wonderful recipes that she and the others (including moi) will have for you all next week. For example, my dessert recipe will have a surprise ingredient. I love those kinds of surprises, but don’t send me one of those emails with something jumping out and screaming at me, okay? (No … not even if it’s Halloween.)

Healthy Flourless Brownies
Recipe type: Dessert
These flourless brownies are divine!
  • 1 cup sunbutter
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • ⅛ cup nut meal (I used walnuts)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl add all ingredients except chocolate chips and mix well.
  3. Pour into greased, 8-inch square cake pan. Spread to level out some (more leveling will occur naturally as the brownies bake).
  4. Sprinkle with ¼ cup chocolate chips.
  5. Bake on the middle rack for about 25 minutes.
  6. You can also double the recipe for a large rectangular pan. The bake time is the same.
I adapted this recipe from my friend Kelly Brozyna's (The Spunky Coconut) recipe. I just mixed the ingredients by hand using a wooden spoon. You can use ½ cup of sunbutter and ½ cup of almond butter if you like (and, of course, don’t have an issue with almonds). Kelly states that if the batter appears too dry, you can add 2 to 4 tbsp of water. I enjoyed these at room temperature (or somewhat warm LOL), but Kelly says they are also terrific cold … as in refrigerated. Although I didn’t refrigerate mine, I can imagine they would taste even better that way!


Not just gf, but gfe!

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Food on Fridays, and Foodie Friday.

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


46 Responses to “Healthy Flourless Brownies (and a Lot of Other Good Stuff)”

  1. Iris on March 17th, 2010 12:17 pm

    Thanks for doing the hard work of testing out these brownies. ;) They look great, and since I know they’re good with all sunbutter, I’ll try them out. The post almond headache has been a killer that won’t go away, so I won’t be trying that again any time soon.

    • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 6:46 am

      Hi Iris–As the saying goes, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it! ;-) They really are wonderful. I think you’ll enjoy them A LOT. I’m sorry about the almond issues. As I was sharing with you on Twitter, I definitely have almond issues sometimes, particularly with whole almonds. But, I don’t seem to have a problem with the almond butter … maybe because it’s already ground. Yes, a headache response would keep me away, too. I’m sure you’ll make a great sunbutter version though! :-)


  2. Megs on March 17th, 2010 4:28 pm

    These look amazing! I am just off the Elimination diet and looking for some fun new GF recipes to incorporate. I have been reading/hearing about the black bean trick — do you use that? What do you think?

    I am so excited to try these brownies this weekend! Its looks nice and easy!

    • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 6:55 am

      Hey Megs–Nice to see you here at gfe after chatting with you on Twitter—welcome! :-) I have made black bean brownies. They are actually quite good. I’ve also made brownies and chocolate cakes using chickpeas (garbonzo beans), too. Both black beans and chickpeas really do take the place of flour nicely and give you added protein and guaranteed moistness. BTW, Kelly has a recipe at her site that everyone raves over using white beans for a grain-free (and gf, of course) vanilla cake. The black bean brownie recipe I use came off the celiac listserv from long ago. Would you like me to see if I can find it (think it’s on my other computer) and email it to you? I might have the chickpea recipe, too, if you are interested. In the mean time, you can’t go wrong with these brownies … very easy. I was just telling Kelly though that I’m going to need to buy some mega-sized jars of both almond butter and sun butter so I can make these brownies on a regular basis. LOL Please report back with your review! :-)


    • Shirley on April 24th, 2010 5:58 am

      Hey Megs–I finally emailed you those black bean recipes, so be sure to look for them in your In Box. ;-)


  3. Linda on March 17th, 2010 4:51 pm

    Those brownies do look delicious! Thanks again for the round up and for including my carnival information. As always, thanks for participating.

    • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 7:01 am

      Hi Linda–Thanks! And, yes, they are. :-) I was surprised at how much my brownies looked like Kelly’s, too. Sometimes when you use someone else’s recipe even though you might like it, the appearance might not be exactly the same. But, it’s nice to make an amazingly delicious brownie this pretty. ;-)

      I love sharing the good news about wonderful blog carnivals and happenings, so it’s my pleasure. :-)


  4. Nance on March 17th, 2010 9:02 pm

    2 things: First, “healthy” brownies just takes all the fun out of it for me…LOL.

    Second: I just had two students diagnosed as having celiac disease, and I teach high school. It made my heart break to know how long they have likely suffered with symptoms that I have heard you describe and to know that they have been misdiagnosed for so long. HOWEVER, I am glad to know that I can point them to so many resources that you have provided here, and I will. Thank you. I was also able to tell them of your philosophy and success in living with celiac for so long, and with such a full, happy life.

    • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 7:26 am

      Hi Nance–Great to see you! If you take a look at the whole recipe or give these brownies a try, I don’t think you’ll find these brownies too healthy to enjoy. ;-) In fact, some fat phobic folks would dispute the healthy label, but almond butter/sunbutter, honey, and dark chocolate are all good for you (and good stuff to eat, too!). I think you’d love these. I was going to suggest with a glass of cab, but if I remember correctly you are not a big fan of cab.

      Wow, two students diagnosed. That’s good news because it means that the diagnosis rate really is going up! I’ve read that 95% remain undiagnosed. That’s up from 97% undiagnosed back in June 2003 when I went gluten free. It’s especially good for them because it means they can heal and go on to lead perfectly healthy lives! It is sad if they’ve been suffering for a long time, but that’s not a given. Celiac can be triggered and come into effect any time in life. Most of us with gluten intolerance or celiac will tell you that we suffered for a long time without answers though. I so appreciate you sharing my site and gfe approach with them. Be sure to mention my flourless peanut butter cookies, flourless pizza, flourless chocolate sparkling cookies, etc. … that’s the kind of stuff kids want to know! Gosh, I wish they were closer, I’d make them a little introductory “gfe is the way to be” care package. ;-)

      Thanks, Nance! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and sharing gfe with your newly diagnosed students.


  5. Kelly on March 17th, 2010 9:14 pm

    Thanks Shirley! You are so awesome! I am craving them with sunbutter now =) I’m going to have to get some next time I’m out, maybe at Target—I’ve seen it there, and I’m due for a trip.

    Also, I love how you keep everyone informed on what’s going on around the blogosphere! You rock, Shirley! Love, Kelly

    • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 7:30 am

      Hi Kelly!–Girl, you are the one that is awesome … you created this knockout recipe! Of course, anyone I make them for now will think that I am the one who is awesome. LOL Now that I know they work great with all sunbutter, I’m definitely making them with almond butter next time. Can’t wait to taste that version! ;-) Glad you told me about the giant jars of almond butter at Costco … it might finally be time for me to join. Or I could just find a friend who belongs and would be willing to pick some up for me. Hmmm …

      I always like to spread good news. There’s so much in our gluten-free blogging world! But, thank you! :-)


  6. Kelly on March 17th, 2010 9:16 pm

    I almost forgot! May I post your photo with a link here?

    • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 7:32 am

      Hopefully, Kelly, you got my response on Twitter … yes, please post my pic—thank you! :-)


  7. Kara on March 18th, 2010 9:39 am

    yum! These look great!

    • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 6:21 pm

      Hi Kara!–Welcome to gfe. :-) Thank you! I was so impressed that mine looked just like Kelly’s and the taste was yum indeed. Hope you give them a try!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment,


  8. Diane-The W.H.O.L.E. Gang on March 18th, 2010 10:38 am

    Oh you have to stop making these amazing chocolate desserts. They’re driving me crazy. Ok I have to know, does it really make a lot? Like, when I eat the entire pan will I be sick or just feel totally guilty and have to go for a walk at lunch until dinner time? I have to know before I start baking these because I’m baking these.

    • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 6:35 pm

      LOL … I hear you. I really do try to stop, but then I’m in a store where there’s almond butter and sunbutter, so I have to buy some, and then I start using it on apples and crackers and loving it. Then I think OMG, I’m going to run out … I need to make Kelly’s flourless brownies that I’ve been wanting to make. Now. So I make them and don’t plan to post them right away. I actually plan to post an entree recipe, but Son pops home and I need to make something quick for him (crispy chicken tenders it is!) and the entree recipe takes an hour to make. So the next think you know, I need a post and I’ve already taken a good shot of the brownies. See how it happens … it’s not my fault, I swear!

      The recipe uses an 8-inch square pan. I assure you that you will not eat the whole pan. They really are dense, chewy, and satisfying more than any other brownie I’ve eaten … ever. At most I’m guessing you’d eat two in one day. And, with your gang there to help you, I think you will be safe. But, just to be sure … you might want to ensure that others will be home when they are finished baking. ;-) LOL Can’t wait to hear what you think! :-)


      • Diane-The W.H.O.L.E. Gang on March 18th, 2010 7:00 pm

        Oh I could so eat a whole pan of these in one sitting. Not a problem. Eat only 2. Maybe only 2 at each meal that day but these would be gone in one day. This is why I try not to bake chocolate. It has my number. I’ll make them tomorrow and take some with us to a friends house we’re visiting.

        • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 8:08 pm

          ROFL, Diane. Let me know how you fare after you make these. I like your self-preservation tactic … I bet you will be your friends’ new favorite person after you visit (not that you weren’t already, of course)! :-)


  9. Pam on March 18th, 2010 2:32 pm

    OMG…..ran off a copy of those…..yummy!

    I want one NOW! please…!


    • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 7:05 pm

      Pam–LOL … if only there were any left, I’d gladly share. ;-) Do make these and see what you think. I think you’ll love them … I’ll be waiting … I’m trying them with almond butter next, maybe for my upcoming girlfriends’ trip to Biltmore. ;-)


      • Pam on March 18th, 2010 8:43 pm

        Dear Shirley,

        I made these tonight with 1/2 crunchy almond butter and 1/2 crunchy peanut butter….awesome!….so GOOD! I also used regular flavored liquid stevia and 12 drops of Capella Vanilla Custard flavor drops! My new found love…ha ha!

        Thank you my dear girl!


        • Shirley on March 19th, 2010 10:41 am

          Pam–I’m so glad you shared this version and your success! I was actually thinking abou using 1/2 sunbutter and 1/2 peanut butter, but then I ate too much of my sunbutter in a breakfast pudding I made. LOL So clearly have to get another jar. I didn’t even know there was a crunchy almond butter! Makes sense though. I don’t know about the vanilla custard flavor drops … hmmm, will have to investigate. So glad that you loved these! Thanks for taking the time to tell us all here at gfe!


          • Pam on March 19th, 2010 2:40 pm

            Your welcome my kind fair lady from King George! I get the almond butter at Trader Joes!

            Enjoy Sweetie!


  10. Alta on March 18th, 2010 3:22 pm

    OM NOM NOM! These sound great. While I’m im love with my “best brownie in the world” recipe (which I still need to repost as gluten-free…all I did was sub rice flour and xanthan gum for the flour), I’m always up for any yummy brownie. These look amazing, especially with those chocolate chips!

    • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 8:03 pm

      Alta– :-) I know … exactly! The chocolate chips on top are genius, right? It’s surprising that they don’t melt, but they are so much more visually appealing intact. There can’t be too many good brownie recipes. Others in my repertoire are Killer Brownies, Big Bad Black Bean Brownies, Honeybear Brownies, and more … that’s all I can think of right now. ;-) I will be looking for your best brownies in the world on your blog!



  11. Alisa - Frugal Foodie on March 18th, 2010 4:25 pm

    Wow, that is a load of gluten-free news!

    Those brownies look fabulous, I am heading over to check out the recipe now. A brownie just isn’t complete without those chocolate chips on top!

    • Shirley on March 18th, 2010 8:06 pm

      Hi Alisa–I’m sure that’s really just a drop in the bucket as far as what’s going on in the interwebs … just my little corner, so to speak. ;-) Glad you approve of Kelly’s final touch of the chocolate chips! I’ve never actually made brownies with that clever touch—I love it. :-) Hope you approve once you check out the recipe!


  12. Kay Guest on March 19th, 2010 8:50 am

    Hey Shirley! So much good information here. If anyone is reading this comment, please go back over this post and go to EVERY SINGLE THING that Shirley has linked to… ALL of it is very useful.
    One thing… I’m thankful that on the whipped cream recipe Diane tells us how to store and open coconut milk! I had no idea! When I made your pound cake recipe… I had such a time opening and getting it out! (I felt embarrassed to tell you that!) Oh My! I am grateful to be one of the winners of the drawing. CHEERS! Kay

    • Shirley on March 19th, 2010 10:44 am

      Hi Kay–You’re such a sweetheart—thanks for your endorsement. I’m so glad you found all the info so useful. :-)

      Hearty congrats on being a winner of the Ron Hoggan giveaway! I hope the other winners will contact me … might have to draw more names. ;-) LOL Not really, but I do hope to hear from them soon!

      Thanks again, Kay. Hugs,


  13. Chaya on March 19th, 2010 10:51 am

    I want to thank you for your coverage on what is going on int he Gluten Free world.

    I like your brownies too.

    • Shirley on March 19th, 2010 9:48 pm

      Hi Chaya–Happy Friday! You’re very welcome … I think we all try to keep each other straight. We don’t want to miss anything good, right? ;-) Glad you like my version (a very slight adaptation) of Kelly’s brownies. She’s a whiz!


  14. Liz@HoosierHomemade on March 19th, 2010 6:11 pm

    Those look divine! Even if I’m not gluten-free :)
    We would love for you to join in the Spring Blog Hop!

    • Shirley on March 19th, 2010 10:01 pm

      Hi Liz–Thanks! You don’t have to be gluten free to enjoy wonderful gf food, especially when it’s naturally gf. No weird textures or tastes … just all good. :-)

      Will check out the Spring Blog Hop for sure! I know you’ll remind me via your tweets and I’m grateful for that. ;-)


  15. Erin Elberson on March 19th, 2010 7:04 pm

    I’ve never tried Sunbutter! But I loves me some almond butter…the stuff is like crack! (I imagine.)
    So kind of you to SACRIFICE and test these Shirley ;)
    Going on my list! Thanks!

    • Shirley on March 19th, 2010 10:08 pm

      Hi Erin–Thanks for stopping by! Sunbutter sort of reminds one of peanut butter, but, of course, with a sunflower seed taste. I think I actually prefer the almond butter on its own, but the sunbutter works well in this recipe. That almond butter taste is just fantastic, and I’m anxious to try these again some time with only almond butter.

      Yes, sometimes food blogging is a hard job you know. LOL

      Please report back with your thoughts and changes after you give this recipe a try!


  16. Pam on March 20th, 2010 7:59 am

    Shirley, check these cookies out! I ran off a copy to make!

    (no flour, sugar, or butter)



    • Shirley on March 20th, 2010 6:06 pm

      Hi Pam–Wow! I did check them out … “the world’s heathiest cookie” … I like that very much! Thanks so much for thinking of me and sharing the link. :-) I’m out of maple syrup, but otherwise I have all the ingredients. Maybe I could use honey or just wait until I pick up some maple syrup. The latter is probably the best option since I did eat the last of the flourless PB cookies leftover from my presentations today. ;-)

      If you make these before, I do, let me know what you think! ;-)



      • Pam on March 21st, 2010 1:30 pm

        okey dokey! Presentation….cool! You rawked it I’m sure!


  17. Sherry on March 20th, 2010 11:36 am

    I love brownies. These looks wonderful and gooey. the best kind of brownie.
    Win Rachael Ray bake ware at my blog.

    • Shirley on March 20th, 2010 6:09 pm

      Hi Sherry–Welcome to gfe! Thank you. :-) It’s rare for me to meet a bad brownie … well, at least one from ‘scratch.”

      Your giveaway looks good. Love ceramic bakeware! Will enter shortly …


  18. gollum on March 21st, 2010 1:39 pm

    Flourless brownies sound perfect! Thanks for linking up to FF.

    • Shirley on March 22nd, 2010 9:40 am

      Hi gollum!–Welcome to gfe. :-) Those flourless brownies are pretty wonderful!! I hope to participate in Foodie Friday every week. A wonderful collection of recipes on your amazing site! That salad and your photos were just incredible. Your blog is such a gorgeous place to visit!


  19. Kelly Smith on June 22nd, 2012 9:14 am

    Shirley, around here we sometimes call Kelly’s brownies “breakfast brownies,” as I’ve made them for my daughter’s breakfast. They ARE really good! Oh…and if you really want a treat, make some healthy homemade dairy-free ice cream and turn it into a brownie sundae. Mmmmmm!

    • Shirley on June 23rd, 2012 8:14 am

      Kelly–Yes, I’ve eaten those for breakfast, too. My version … this week. ;-) I adore dairy-free ice cream, but rarely have any homemade on hand when I make these brownies. Must remedy that. Thanks for the suggestion! :_)


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