I know, I know, it’s still a chocolate brownie, right? How can it be good for us? Well, it’s all in the substitutions and additions!
Make food work for your body
Using the right flour, the best chocolate, a healthy sugar alternative and making it work for our intolerances, is how to pimp a chocolate brownie to be good for you. It all makes a difference to how it makes us feel after we eat it. (It’s always going to feel good when we’re eating it, but it’s how we feel LATER that determines if it’s actually doing us any good!)
Why sugar free?
I’ve created a sugar free chocolate brownie for my family, but you can use an unprocessed sugar if you prefer. We are not always sugar free, but at times, it’s just what the body needs. I’ve had a few courses of antibiotics over the past couple of years, thanks to multiple surgeries but Candida albicans is an opportunistic little bugger that likes to overgrow when our gut and immunity gets out of balance. And it feeds on sugar (if you’re craving sugar, or chips, or processed carbs in general, there’s a good chance your Candida bugs are getting out of control too.) So now we go sugar free for a couple of weeks, and avoid a few other normally healthy foods, such as sweet potato (super sad face!), to get our guts back in balance.
I have a great alternative for sugar in baking. It’s xylitol. You can read all about it’s health benefits here on my choc yogo post.
Good fats, protein and fibre
Some other healthy changes to my brownies are lots of nuts and seeds and legumes. These are full of good fats and protein that are often lacking in Western standard diets. Using flaxmeal also helps balance female hormones and add much needed fibre for good digestion. (If you can eat eggs, you can definitely substitute flax eggs for real eggs, as they too are full of good fats and protein.) But it’s good to have an egg free brownie for those who can’t tolerate or are allergic to eggs. If nuts are a problem they can easily be replaced too. I’m all about making food accessible and healthy to all, regardless of what is right for your body.
Not your usual GF flour…
Finally, these chocolate brownies are gluten free, using a healthy combo of chickpea flour and almond meal, rather than the GF flours you buy in the supermarket which are generally made from corn and white rice, which are highly processed and feed that Candida we talked about before. Dairy free is easy too, with lots of chocolate options for your recipe below! And maybe for your couch eating too 😉
Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, sugar free
3 flat tbsp ground flaxseeds / flaxmeal
9 tbsp water to make flax eggs (or omit flax and water and use 3 eggs, whisked)
3/4 cup chickpea flour (or buckwheat if you can’t tolerate legumes / are on a low FODMAPs diet)
1/4 cup almond meal (or sunflower seed meal – ground up in a Nutribullet or coffee grinder)
3/4 cup cocoa powder (you can use raw cacao but it’s best in uncooked recipes, to retain the nutrients)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup walnuts, broken into pieces
1/2 cup coconut oil
140g dark chocolate, dairy free and if you prefer, sugar free*, chopped or broken up into pieces
1 cup xylitol for a less sweet brownie (or 1 1/2 cups for standard sweetness) or use rapadura or coconut sugar (I haven’t tried it with these but chances are it’ll be sweet and delicious)
*dairy free choc such as Lindt 70% or 85% (but NOT their other styles – they contain milk), Pico, Pana or Loving Earth; and dairy free/ sugar free are Sweet Williams, Well Naturally (dark styles) and Coles brand. Please check for soy and dairy in some Well Naturally and Sweet Williams products. I used the Coles brand dark choc with mint, which worked out deliciously. I also tried a combo of Pico hazelnut m*lk and Lindt 85% – mmmm. And just over 1 block of Well Naturally dark – very tasty.
Turn over to 175 C and line a small deep dish with baking paper (little hack – screw up the paper then open it back up and it will stay neatly pushed down in your pan – no need for oil).
Make the flax eggs by combining ground flaxseeds (use a Nutribullet or coffee grinder if you have the seeds) with water, and leaving to rest. Or whisk up your real eggs.
Combine dry ingredients – flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt and walnuts.
Slowly melt coconut oil and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan over a very low heat. Take it off the heat once melted.
Stir flax eggs into the choc coconut mix into well combined. Add xylitol and then the dry ingredients.
Pour out into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for approx 25 mins. Should be firm around the edges but still soft in the middle. Leave in pan to cool completely before slicing. This might be a couple of hours, but then they’ll hold their little brownie shapes better. Slice into 16 pieces.
Store in an airtight container out of the fridge for up to 5 days (if not devoured by then)… Can also be frozen. Always serve at room temperature. Delicious with a dollop of natural yoghurt – sheep’s or coconut work well.