Honeybear Brownies for Go Ahead Honey and Thanksgiving

 gluten free, dairy free, brownies, nuts, honey, vegetarian, go ahead honey, holiday

When our family celebrates Thanksgiving, Christmas—and any holiday really—we like to have an assortment of desserts. There’s no doubt that pies take center stage, but there’s also a need for chocolate in some form. Yes, there are sometimes chocolate pies. My Crustless Fudge Pie sometimes makes an appearance. And this year my latest pie success—Chocolate Silk Pie—will definitely be on the dessert sideboard. But chocolate typically is presented in non-pie form for our holiday events. It’s always available in chocolate chips (or chunks) in my Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies—by far the most requested dessert of mine by my family … no matter what the occasion. But occasionally, the standby chocolate classic—the brownie—shows up. The appearance of a plate of brownies—perhaps on an elegant cake plate-–just adds to the special event/celebration effect.

I pulled out an old family favorite recipe, Honeybear Brownies, the other day. I re-created it to be gluten free and made it a bit healthier at the same time. The results were far better than the original brownie. In keeping with my longstanding gfe focus on no flour/less flour to make the other ingredients stand out and allow gluten-free recipes to be made more easily and even economically, this recipe calls for only 1/2 cup of flour. Another bonus? This recipe calls for ingredients one always has in the pantry, so it can be made any time. You get a craving for brownies and about 25 minutes later you have these Honeybear Brownies. Life is good! Now you may be wondering … are they cake brownies? chewy brownies? or fudgy brownies? Well, you know me and semantics and struggling on making such a tough decision … I think they fit all three categories!

Last, this recipe is my entry for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! event hosted by the delightful Brittany (Real Sustenance). This monthly event was created by our sweet friend across the pond, Naomi of Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried. Each month a different blogger hosts by choosing a theme and sharing the roundup. Brittany, appropriately, chose Thanksgiving dishes. You can check out all the fabulous entries over at Brittany’s! Until then, enjoy! Oh, and I won’t tell anyone if you decide you need to make these brownies before Thanksgiving. One has to ensure that desserts are worthy enough for one’s guests after all. (If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious “ready-made” treat, please don’t forget to enter the $100 giveaway from Caveman Cookies here.)

gluten free, dairy free, brownies, nuts, honey, vegetarian, go ahead honey, holiday

Honeybear Brownies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)


¼ cup coconut oil, liquefied
½ cup healthier granulated sugar alternative (one reader used Stevia in the Raw. I used Demerera sugar; coconut/palm sugar could be used, too—ensure that it’s gluten free)
1/3 cup honey (or slightly less agave nectar for vegan option; I used our bees’ honey though)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs (flax eggs can be substituted for vegan option per reader’s review/test)
½ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts most of the time)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease 8 x 8 baking pan.

Add ingredients in order shown, stirring well after each egg is added, and once all ingredients have been added.

Spread batter into baking pan.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Test doneness with toothpick, but you can also tell the brownies are done when they pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan several minutes before cutting.

Shirley’s Notes: I used the mix of finely ground Asian white rice flour and cornstarch that I often use when gluten-free all-purpose flour is required. (I mix a large amount ahead of time—3 parts Asian white rice flour and 2 parts cornstarch—and then measure out what I need.) If you are nut free, I recommend replacing the nuts with sunflower seeds or another ingredient with some texture and bulk. I don’t believe that this recipe will have enough substance if the nuts are simply omitted. I have not made this recipe using egg substitutes such as flax eggs or chia eggs, but I suspect they’ll work. Please report back if you make this recipe egg free. Finally, I’m so often asked by those who eat gluten if a recipe can be made with “regular flour.” The answer is, of course! In this case, you’d just substitute “regular” all-purpose flour for the gluten-free all-purpose flour.

This post is linked to Go Ahead HoneyGluten-Free Wednesdays, and Wellness Weekend.

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.


36 Responses to “Honeybear Brownies for Go Ahead Honey and Thanksgiving”

  1. Kay Guest on November 20th, 2011 9:18 am

    I have made a similar brownie recipe before and it is my favorite brownie! The fact that you use so many nuts and so little flour makes this healthier in itself, don’t you think?
    Thanks, Shirley, for another great recipe.
    Not just gluten free easily, but you have great tasting food for ANYONE, all of your recipes are so good!

    • Shirley on November 20th, 2011 11:41 pm

      Hi Kay–I think you are right on the nuts/flour ration! :-) So happy that you’ve enjoyed similar brownies. As always, many thanks for all your kind words, Kay!


  2. Lisa on November 20th, 2011 12:23 pm

    I think I have all of the ingredients for these and just might have to make them this afternoon :)

    • Shirley on November 20th, 2011 11:43 pm

      Hi Lisa–Whenever you make these brownies, I hope you enjoy them and report back. :-)


  3. Diane-thewholegang on November 20th, 2011 4:55 pm

    Wow these look really good. I could go for one of these right now.

    • Shirley on November 20th, 2011 11:43 pm

      Hi Diane–They’re super easy and super good! Hey, do I say that too much? Don’t answer! It’s true though. ;-)


  4. Cindy on November 20th, 2011 5:43 pm

    Two questions. I am limited to olive oil, lard or butter. Do you know if those can be substituted for the coconut oil, and if so, what quantity?

    Where do you find the finely ground Asian white rice flour?

    Thanks so much!

    • Shirley on November 20th, 2011 11:50 pm

      Hi Cindy–I’d sub olive oil one for one. If you use butter, use 1/3 cup and soften and cream it first before adding sugar, honey, and other ingredients.

      I get the finely ground Asian white rice flour at my local Asian market. Hope you can find some! I’ve been using it for years and love it. White rice flour is definitely more refined than many gluten-free flours and, of course, high glycemic, but I don’t use it often and I typically use it in smaller amounts when I do.

      Hope you enjoy these, Cindy! :-)

  5. Paula Cotton on November 20th, 2011 5:47 pm

    Looks yummy….what can I use instead of coconut oil
    Regular canola oil?

    • Paula Cotton on November 20th, 2011 5:57 pm

      Again. what can I use instead of coconut oil?I hace canola oil in the house..

      • Alisa on November 20th, 2011 6:42 pm

        You chould be able to use any oil in place of the coconut oil in this recipe. Coconut oil is richer, as it is higher in saturated fat, and in my opinion tastier in brownies, but canola oil will work. You must be eager to make these brownies! Not everyone can monitor their comments that quickly (I’m guessing Shirley’s making dinner now!), but these do look so darn good that I can understand your panic to get into the kitchen.

        • Shirley on November 20th, 2011 11:56 pm

          Hi Alisa–Thanks so much for stepping in to answer Paula’s question in my absence!! You’re right … no iPhone here, so I’m not monitoring comments all the time and I was working on dinner. As I was just saying to Paula, I was actually making an early Thanksgiving dinner so I could have posts and pics ready for the next two days. Crazy, huh? ;-)

          Thanks again, dear!

    • Shirley on November 20th, 2011 11:53 pm

      Hi Paula–Thanks! Happy that Alisa stepped in and answered your question! ;-) Yes, pretty much any oil that you’d use in baking will work in this recipe. And she was right on the other subject, too … I was off making dinner. In this case, I was making an early Thanksgiving dinner and taking photos for my posts the next two days.

      Hope you enjoy these! :-)

  6. Linda on November 20th, 2011 8:11 pm

    Yum! Those brownies look good, Shirley. You’re right about needing some chocolate. My mom usually makes some fudge for Thanksgiving. Did I tell you that my brother and sister in law now have honey bees? I’m hoping we’ll get some for Christmas. :)

    • Shirley on November 21st, 2011 12:02 am

      Hi Linda–Thanks! I think most of us need our chocolate. ;-) Even with my love of pumpkin, there will be chocolate (and maybe some coconut, too LOL)! Fudge for Thanksgiving would ensure that everyone showed up! :-)

      How exciting that your brother and SIL have honeybees now! Tell them thanks from me. We need more beekeepers. I hope you do get some honey for Christmas, but know that if they are brand new beekeepers they might not have taken any honey this first year. Hope you get lucky though. Raw honey is the best!


  7. Tia @ Glugle Gluten-Free on November 20th, 2011 8:25 pm

    YES! I was given the task of making a gf dessert for me, The Big Man, and my Step-MIL this Thanksgiving, but my food aversions are making it hard. The little munchkin says these will be tolerated. At least for now. ;) And, I have everything, so less on my grocery list.


    • Shirley on November 21st, 2011 12:08 am

      Tia–I’m so glad this dessert will work for you for Thanksgiving. Hope your family and your guest like these brownies! :-) So happy they can be made from your pantry, too. Thats my favorite kind of recipe! ;-)


  8. The Healthy Apple on November 20th, 2011 9:49 pm

    These look fabulous and brownies are a sweet staple in my family’s home during the holidays. I’m going to try this recipe for a dinner party this week. Hope all is well with you; have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • Shirley on November 21st, 2011 12:10 am

      Hi Amie–Great to see you! :-) How cool that your family has brownies on hand for the holidays, too. ;-) Hope you and your dinner companions like these, Amie. Please report back!

      Thanks so much for the Thanksgiving wishes, dear. Hope your Thanksgiving is lovely, too.

  9. Linda C on November 20th, 2011 10:14 pm

    These look great Shirley! I love how you reduced the amount of flour too. I will make these tomorrow to surprise my husband. And I’ll be making your fabulous chocolate silk pie to take to my in-laws for Thanksgiving. I won’t tell them that its “free” of anything, and I can’t wait to hear the comments, compliments, and the look of pleasant surprise on their faces when I tell them is GF/DF (with coconut oil). Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • Shirley on November 21st, 2011 12:15 am

      Hi Linda–Thank you! I hope you and your husband really enjoy them. :-) Can’t wait to hear back on those and your pie success! ;-)

      Many thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes! Hope you experience a truly lovely one. :-)

  10. InTolerantChef on November 21st, 2011 2:13 am

    How lovely, the touch of honey would add such a nice flavour! Yumm…

    • Shirley on November 21st, 2011 6:02 pm

      Hi InTolerantChef–You’re right … the little bit of honey really does add to these brownies. :-)


  11. Alta on November 21st, 2011 10:59 am

    Shirley, these sound delightful. I love brownies when they have a small amount of flour – it seems that they’re chewier and more delicious that way! That and I’m pretty much a brownie-a-holic. Honey is a new addition to brownies for me though – definitely will have to try! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • Shirley on November 21st, 2011 6:04 pm

      Alta–A brownie-a-holic? You? Hard to believe! Interstingly enough, I rarely make brownies, but when I do, I really enjoy them. I’ll be interested to see what you think if you give this recipe a try. ;-) Thanks so much for the Thanksgiving wishes! Hope yours if fabulous. :-)


  12. Melissa C. on November 21st, 2011 4:28 pm

    I made these but made a few substitutions and they turned out great. Instead of the sugar I used Stevia in the Raw, which substitutes cup for cup and instead of eggs I used flaxseed eggs. They turned out great!

    • Shirley on November 21st, 2011 6:08 pm

      Hi Melissa–Well, several folks have popped in to brighten my day today and you are definitely one of them! :-) I absolutely love that you were able to make these substitutions and the recipe still came out great. So nice to know that granulated sugar (in any form) does not have to be used and that flax eggs work! I’ll add those notes in the recipe—thanks so much!!


  13. Maggie on November 21st, 2011 9:05 pm

    Brownies never get old, and are so fun to play with! Your family is soooo lucky :) I love the name, it reminds me of The Bernstein Bears!

    • Shirley on November 23rd, 2011 12:13 am

      Hey Maggie–You’re right, dear! There are so many variations of brownies and many still to be created I bet. ;-) I remember the Berenstain Bears! :-) This name actually comes from the honeybear jar that holds the honey. Most of them are made with plastic now (boo!), but I saw a photo of a beautiful glass one over at Lexie’s a while back. I used to have a small ceramic one, but passed it on. I love honey as much as bears do! Thankfully, we don’t have too many bears traveling through our area. ;-)


  14. Debra on August 24th, 2012 11:54 pm

    These brownies are amazing! I don’t know why I’m surprised, this has become my GO TO site for GF/CF recipes that my son and I can eat but that satisfy (or more than satisfy) my “normal” family, friends, coworkers, etc. I used King Arthur GF flour blend and added less than a tsp of Xanthum, just because I wasn’t sure… Also, added about one TBS of instant coffee granules, mostly because I used my coffee grinder to chop the pecans and didn’t clean it first. Figured I’d just add some more coffee flavor to make it look intentional! I also threw some chocolate chips in the batter and some more on top after the pan came out of the oven, then spread the melty chips into a “frosting.” AMAZING! Thanks, so much for another outstanding and EASY recipe!

    • Shirley on August 25th, 2012 8:19 am

      Hi Debra–Your comment has most definitely made my day, and I just got up! ;-) Seriously, I am so grateful for you letting me and others know that you are having such fantastic success with my recipes. I love you coffee variation, too. :-) I have a cookie recipe on gfe that uses almond flour with a little ground coffee and chocolate chips, and it is loved by everyone. (You can check that out here.) Thank you so much for sharing, Debra! I’m going to share your comment on my gfe page on FB. :-)


  15. Debra on August 24th, 2012 11:57 pm

    As an aside… when I used to make my GF substitute recipes and thought they tasted good, my BF used to always say that it had been so long since I ate “REAL” food, that the bar was set so low I didn’t recognize when food tasted horrible! (Apparently, he didn’t share my enthusiasm for my GF recipes!) Since finding this site, the only thing I hear is, “THIS is Gluten Free?!?” Thanks, Shirley!

    • Shirley on August 25th, 2012 8:21 am

      Debra–Thank you—and your BF!—for this comment as well! It truly warms my heart because that is one of the main purposes of gfe, to allow gf folks AND their non-gf friends and family members to eat recipes that taste perfectly normal and so good! ;-)


  16. Hannah @ Hannah's Healthy Heaven on August 26th, 2012 10:01 am

    Shirley these look amazing.. I can’t wait to try them! Thanks for a great site with so many delicious recipes!!

  17. DawnV on November 12th, 2012 10:38 pm

    Oh these look divine and I think my daughter will be in chocolate heaven. Thanks!! (and I REALLY appreciate the sugar suggestions)

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