An easy recipe for healthy gluten-free paleo brownies. These fudgy brownies are made with coconut flour and cocoa powder and sweetened with maple syrup.
This recipe for gluten-free paleo brownies is based on Alton Brown’s wonderful recipe for classic cocoa brownies. I adapted it to include coconut flour instead of wheat flour and added maple syrup as a sweetener instead of the sugar in the original recipe.
Substituting coconut flour for wheat flour
Coconut flour is very absorbent and can render baked goods extremely dry. Generally, a recipe needs 1/4 cup of added liquid for each 1/4 cup of coconut flour used. So the addition of maple syrup is important not just to ensure these brownies are paleo, but also to counteract the drying effects of the coconut flour. I do use quite a bit of liquid in all my coconut flour baked goods, including coconut flour muffins and coconut flour pancakes.
Consider adding a touch of stevia
These brownies are not very sweet. They will taste great if your palate is paleo-adapted and you appreciate subtle sweetness. If you suspect that you’re not there yet, I suggest adding 1/8 teaspoon of pure stevia extract powder – this should take care of the sweetness without altering the recipe and with no noticeable aftertaste from the stevia. I know that not everyone agrees that stevia is paleo, so this is of course up to you. I make these paleo brownies without stevia, and we all love them – including the kids.
This is an easy recipe that comes together quickly. As always with brownies (or any chocolate baked good, really), make sure you don’t overbake the batter. It’s better to underbake than to overbake these gluten-free paleo brownies. Slightly underbaked brownies will be wonderfully gooey, even if a bit difficult to cut. Overbaked brownies will be dry and chalky.
How to store gluten-free paleo brownies
Once completely cool, I store them in the fridge, in an airtight container. I find that they keep well for about a week. Remember to remove them from the fridge an hour before you plan on enjoying them. Or very briefly warm them in the microwave, 10 seconds per square on 50% power.
Is this a healthy recipe?
It’s healthier than white sugar and refined flour brownies. Coconut flour is healthy, and so is unsweetened cocoa powder. However, these gluten-free paleo brownies are still fairly high in carbs, so they should be treated as an occasional indulgence and not allowed to displace more nutritious foods from your diet.
- 1/2 tablespoon butter for pan
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a square 8-inch Pyrex baking dish.
- Lightly whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, melted butter, and vanilla, just until incorporated. You don’t want too much air in the batter or it will end up cake-like and not dense and chewy as a brownie should be.
- Using a fine-mesh strainer, gradually sift the cocoa powder into the mixture, stopping once in a while to whisk it in.
- Add the coconut flour and the salt, whisking to combine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to get it all out of the bowl. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out not wet but not completely dry, with a few moist crumbs, 40-45 minutes.
- Cool the paleo brownies for 30 minutes, in the pan, before cutting into squares and serving.