Not only are these the fudgiest brownies ever, but these grain-free and dairy-free fudge brownies are entirely date sweetened and have a healthier peanut butter chocolate fudge frosting!
First of all, I just have to say this – if you put these brownies in the fridge, they are like straight up fudge. Seriously. They do not taste grain-free! I took these pictures when the brownies were at room temperature because it was sunny (a rarity around here at this time of the year!) and I was sleepy and wanted to nap. But now I’m kicking myself for not waiting so you could see what they look like refrigerated!
I’ve been working on this recipe since I started grain-free baking about a year and a half ago. But the other day I realized… there’s no fat in there. Why have I never added fat?!
The brownies below are the fat-free version. Or I guess I should say the added-fat free version. If you want to make those, just omit the coconut oil from the recipe. I’m sure these would also work well with only 2 tablespoons of oil! The oil-free version is good and all but why have fat-free good brownies when you could have the best ever fudgy brownies?!
I used coconut oil in these brownies and don’t know if any other fats would work. So go with coconut oil! And I only have access to refined coconut oil (which has absolutely no coconut taste) so if you use unrefined, I don’t know if it’d have a slight coconut taste or not. But even if it did, I bet these would still be delicious!
The most amazing thing about these brownies is that they’re entirely date sweetened! No honey, no coconut sugar, no maple syrup. Just dates!
You whip the batter up in the food processor, meaning that the dates are totally processed to a paste and nobody will have a clue that there are dates in there!.
I don’t normally like recipes with just coconut flour in them, but these are an exception. And I’m afraid that there are no subs for coconut flour here. You have to use coconut flour. It’s expensive but you use so little at a time!
I also used Dutch process cocoa powder, just because that’s all we have over here. When I was in the US this summer and did some baking, I was a little surprised by the difference between Dutch-process and normal or even Hershey’s dark cocoa powder. I definitely recommend getting some of the Dutch-process kind! It just makes baked goods taste more intense and somehow more developed. If that makes any sense.
I’ve also tried these with prunes but I found them a bit gross. You could definitely taste the prunes! Stick with dates. :) I just used normal dates because I’ve never seen Medjool dates around here, so if you want to use Medjool, get out your scale and go by weight.
After posting my healthier Halloween sugar cookies, I asked on Facebook what other Halloween goodies people would like to see healthified. The first answer I got was anything with chocolate and peanut butter – so I jazzed these fudge brownies up with a little peanut butter! It’s in both the batter and the frosting. While you can’t really taste it in the brownies, you can taste it in the frosting, although it’s not super peanut butter-y.
The frosting is the same one I used in my spiderweb cupcakes but I doubled the peanut butter. And the frosting does have a tablespoon of honey in it. I couldn’t make that date sweetened. It just didn’t work.
The frosting is like dark chocolate peanut buttery fudge when refrigerated. When at room temperature, you can see what a mess it is. I didn’t refrigerate my brownies before cutting them, but you should to avoid a mess. And if you don’t want to use peanut butter, you can use any nut butter or maybe even coconut butter (not coconut oil!) And for a nut-free version, I bet SunButter would work just fine!
You can see my pathetic attempt at Halloween-ifying these fudge brownies. At least it was quick, easy, and free of super processed junk! It was just a little white chocolate but you could use anything that’s pipe-able.
If you try these, let me know how they come out! I’d love to hear what you think. :D
Grain-free Fudge Brownies
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 8 brownies
- 80 grams (this is 11 regular, non-Medjool) dates1
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (the kind with no added fat or sugar!)
- 2 tablespoons milk of choice
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup (25 grams) coconut flour
- 1/3 cup (38 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (21 grams) coconut oil
- 1/4 cup (64 grams) natural peanut butter
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (~12 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon (20 grams) honey
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a 9" x 5" loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper for easy removal of brownies. If you don't have parchment paper, you can spray the pan with baking spray.
- In the bowl of your food processor fitted with the S-blade, process the dates until it becomes pasty. It'll be spreadable, but not a liquid.
- Add the vanilla, peanut butter, milk and coconut oil and blend until homogeneous.
- Add the egg and pulse just until combined. Do not over mix here!
- Add the remaining ingredients (coconut flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder) and pulse once or twice to get it mostly combined, and then use a plastic spatula and finish mixing it in.
- Bake the brownies for 10 – 12 minutes or just until the top appears set. If you press down into the brownies with your finger, they will be very, very soft.
- Let cool completely before frosting.
- For the frosting, melt the coconut oil, natural peanut butter and cocoa powder in a small pan over low heat. When completely melted and smooth, take the pan off the heat, add the honey and stir until well combined.
- Frost the brownies and place the loaf pan back in the refrigerator to allow the frosting to set (to allow for easier cutting).
- Once the frosting is set, cut the brownies and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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188 comments on “Grain-free Fudge Brownies (gluten-free, dairy-free)” — Add one!
These are so good, Erin! Thank you!
I’m so glad you liked them! Thanks for your feedback. :)
What can I substitute the peanut butter for to make this nut free?
I haven’t tried it but I think sunflower seed butter might work.
i made these recently and they were so good! i skipped the glaze and put some salt on the top and have loved them cold from the fridge. the fruit-sweetened recipe is perfect for me because i try to eat grain and sugar free. they tasted wonderful!
I’m really happy that you enjoyed them! A little extra salt sounds good. :) Thanks for your feedback!
I’m planning on making these for Mother’s Day, but I don’t have any coconut flour. We have whole wheat flour and oat flour. Would any of those work as a substitute? Also, the dates we have are Medjool dates. It’s pretty complicated going to the market because of the Coronavirus. Would the recipe stil work with these changes?
I’m so sorry for just now seeing your question. :( It landed up in spam for some reason and with my son home the last 2 months, I haven’t been diligent with checking that. Hopefully you found the answer to the coconut flour question in the post. There’s no sub for coconut flour. One commenter said they used oat flour but I’ve never tried it. You can use the same amount of Medjool dates by weight. Sorry again for my ridiculously slow reply!
These are fantastically delicious and the texture in a diabetic grain free brownie. Thank you!! I used only 8 dates and did butter instead and they were great.
I’m so glad that you enjoyed them! Good to know that it works well with fewer dates. :) Sorry for just now seeing your comment. Things have been crazy! Thanks a bunch for your feedback.
Does this recipe work with Almond flour?
Sorry for the slow reply! Hopefully you found your answer in the post. :) I’m afraid that there are no subs for coconut flour here. You have to use coconut flour.
These are excellent! My children were delighted with this treat… Thank you for working so hard to bring us such good recipes! So happy the only sweetener is dates!
I’m so happy that your children enjoyed them! I wish I had more date-sweetened treats. Sorry that I don’t. Thanks for your comment! :)
I made these yesterday and doubled the recipe. I did a couple of things differently. I soaked the dates with just enough water to cover them for 15-20min and then I included that water in the food processor and omitted the milk in the recipe. I did more than 160 g of dates, maybe closer to 200. I baked for 20 min in 8×8 pan. I refrigerated them for a few hours before cutting and serving. I did not make the frosting to go with them because my kids and the guests we had for dinner were eating them with ice cream. I ate mine plain and it was just lightly sweet and fudgy in the middle with the hint of peanut butter. It was a good alternative to regular brownies, a nice healthy treat!
Thanks so much for sharing your version! It’s always interesting to learn how other people modified the recipe. :) I’m happy that it worked out well! Thanks again for your comment.
Um yum! Thank you for making a recipe with the EXACT ingredients that I wanted to use to make healthy brownies – you saved me the trouble of figuring it out myself :). I didn’t have coconut flour, so used oat flour. The only other change I made was adding a little sea salt and cinnamon, and on the frosting I used coconut sugar and also added vanilla and cinnamon. I put the brownies in the freezer so I could frost them sooner and then put them in again to cool with the frosting. Super delish!
That’s awesome! I’m so happy that they worked out well for you. And with oat flour?! Interesting! Did you use the same amount? Thanks for the tip and your feedback!
Yes, I used the same amount and have also made your banana chocolate muffins (awesome) and a modified version of your apple muffins all using oat flour :). Love your site, thank you for all your work developing healthier dessert recipes that taste amazing!
I’m about another batch right now!
Hi Gwen! Thanks so much for letting me know! I’m really interested in how you subbed oat flour in those recipes. The only grain my son can really have is oats so I’ve been trying very hard to figure out how to sub oat flour in my recipes and having a hard time. Everything comes out gummy and dense! The chocolate banana muffins use 2 cups of almond flour and 3 tablespoons of coconut flour. So how much oat flour did you use? And thank you for your kind words. :)
Hm I’m not sure exactly… I think with the muffins I started with the same amount of flour and then probably added a little more until it got to what seemed like the right texture to me? And when I say “oat flour,” I mean rolled oats that I blended up to flour ;). I try to do oat because there are kids with severe nut allergies at my daughter’s school, so if I bake anything with nuts she can’t take it to school. I made your chocolate chip cookies with oat flour last night and no nut butter, just coconut oil, and I probably needed to use more flour than I did. They came out very thin, crispy/chewy, and brittle – delicious, and everyone loves them, though :)
Thanks so much for the reply! That’s good to know. I so wish there were a good conversion that works every time! And if you mean the perfect paleo chocolate chip cookies… I’ve been trying to make an oat flour version of those, too! I can get them good but nowhere near as delicious as the original. I’ll be sure to post that version if I’m ever successful. Thanks again for your comment. :)
I made these today with a few changes and loved it very much. The changes were to sub coconut palm sugar for honey (goes so well with chocolate; and a somewhat dubious study indicates the gi index is lower, so possibly less impact on blood sugar). I also subbed almond flour for coconut flour, because that’s what I have on hand, and used almond butter with the peanut butter for a rounder flavour. Then I added a good amount each of chocolate chips and hazelnuts for decadence, and increased the amount of Cocoa powder by 2 tbls. My partner didn’t notice the absence of processed sugar. His only comment: ” Absolutely delicious.” Thank you so much for thinkng of such a great recipe, I know I played with it a bit, but replacing those 1-2 cups of sugar in most brownie recipes, having that protein from the nut butter, and using dates makes all the difference in having something nutricious and decadent! We loved it.
I’m happy that they came out well with all your changes! Your version sounds delicious. :) I’ve also got to try these with almond butter! And great to know what almond flour also works. Thanks a bunch for your comment!
Do you think substituting applesauce for some of the oil would work? These look delicious!
I’m not sure. I usually don’t like the results of that sub so I haven’t tried it in these brownies. Sorry about that! Let me know how it goes if you try it out. :)
I subbed unsweetened applesauce for all the oil and they were STILL delicious! The consistency was a little different (actually more like brownies) whereas with coconut oil they seem to be like fudge. Either way, so so so good! Thanks, Erin!
Oooh! Interesting. I’ll have to try it with applesauce then! More brownie-like could be good. :) Thanks for the tip! So happy that they came out well.
I have subbed these twice before once with avocado instead of coconut oil and another with vegan nutlex margarine ! Both fab !!!
Awesome! So happy that your subs worked out well. :) Thanks for sharing!
I made these and I cannot stop eating them! They are absolutely amazing and I’m sharing the recipe with everyone!
Sorry for just now seeing your comment! I don’t know where the week went. And I’m so happy you liked the cookies! Thanks a bunch for sharing the recipe with everyone. I hope your friends will enjoy them, too!
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I tried this a few weeks ago and loved it! I am making it again today, since it is Halloween and I want to have something healthy but yummy to eat while I say no to candy all day.
I think these are a much better alternative to candy. :) I’m so happy you enjoyed them and are making them again! Thanks for your comment. :)
Can’t wait to make these tomorrow! I am changing my diet to avoid taking meds for hypothyroidism and was looking for a mostly sugarless and gluten-free dessert:)
I hope you’ll enjoy them! I’d love to hear how they come out. :)
I’ve been making these for years and love them!! I always double it for an 8×8 pan :) I have found that other data work as well as coconut oil. I’m not at all a paleo person, just a healthy eater. I’ve successfully used olive oil and butter, and am thinking of trying Greek yogurt next.
Wow! I love how much you’ve experimented with this recipe. :) How long do you normally bake them for in an 8×8? I tried it recently and must have messed them up somehow because they came out so dry. Thanks for your comment! :)
Amazing! I just made these as I’ve been looking for interesting coconut flour recipes – this recipe is a winner! I can’t eat eggs so replaced with flaxseed and I had to replace the peanut butter with cashew butter
I also had them slightly warmed and made some of the frosting into a sauce – melt in the mouth dessert fantastic with non-dairy vanilla ice cream
Sorry I just now saw your comment! I’m happy you found a good solution for the eggs and cashew butter. :) I’ll have to try that myself! Thanks a bunch for your comment. :)
Do you have the nutritional info for these? They look wonderful.
Thanks! I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for the nutritional profile, if you’d like. :)
Could I use something other than dates (or prunes) to sweeten this? I don’t have a food processor or anything else to blend them. I like this recipe because it uses coconut flour and not teff flour.
I hate to say it but unfortunately not! The dates are the base of the recipe and subbing another sweetener wouldn’t work. Sorry about that!
Can I use almond flour or regular flour if I don’t have coconut flour?
Coconut flour is unfortunately not interchangeable with any other flour as it absorbs so much more liquid. Sorry about that!
I made these last weekend and double the recipe to fit an 8×8 pan. They we okay once they cooled down on the counter but they were AMAZING after being in the freezer! They tasted like a regular sugar, flour, butter brownie. I use past tense because they are all gone! I didn’t make the peanut butter frosting but I will next time. Thank you so much!!!
That’s awesome! I like refrigerating my brownies for a fudgier texture but I haven’t ever tried freezing them. Thanks for your tip and for your feedback!
Question, if I am using different brands of coconut flour or almond flour than your recipes call for, should I go by the measurement in your recipe (such as 1/4c., etc.), or the weight in grams?
I’d go by weight in grams! It’s always the most accurate way. :)
I am making these today for the third time! My daughter is having to follow a strict diet for now and these are so helpful as an occasional treat for her!! The texture is fantastic and it’s just sweet enough to feel like dessert. We have to use almond butter and I used 1T of coconut sugar instead of honey for the topping. I also add some vanilla. So good….thank you!
I’m happy that you found a recipe that your daughter can enjoy and that you like them enough to make them three times! And it’s great to know that coconut sugar works in the topping. :) Thanks so much for your feedback!
Erin, these brownies are seriously amazing! I want a constant supply of them in my fridge. I’m definitely going to make a double batch next time!
Aww, yay! So happy you liked them. What’s weird is that I tried a double batch recently and they were awful. I must have made a mistake! I hope you have better luck. :)
One question about this recipe- I’m making for a friend who is avoiding dairy AND eggs… any suggestions for a substitution? I was going to try 1/2 of a mashed banana or just try leaving it out altogether… thoughts?
So sorry I’m just now seeing your comment! I wouldn’t recommend just leaving out the eggs and not adding another binder. Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with adding mashed banana as an egg sub. Perhaps a flax egg would work? I’m sorry I’m not more of a help!
Thanks! And no worries… it forced me to do some experimenting :) I tried half a mashed banana, and while it wasn’t bad, I wouldn’t recommend it… it made the brownies taste more like banana and less like a brownie… of course, we still ate the whole pan :)
Will try a flax egg as you recommended next time around!
I’m happy they were still edible! Hopefully the flax egg version will come out better. :) Thanks for letting me know how the banana sub came out!
I wonder if applesauce would work
Flax eggs work very well. The brownies may be more crumbly than egg brownies (not sure) but thw texture and flavor is very good ans fudgy.
Thanks a bunch for your tip! :)
I made these last night. They were quite good. I need to add a little water to the dates. I think the dates i bought were low quality. I also left them in the oven too long ( I should have heeded your warning)! The only thing I didn’t care for was the peanut butter frosting. I am making these again today. Thanks for the recipe!
I hope your next attempt will go better! That’s strange you needed to add some water to the dates. I haven’t had that issue before. Thanks so much for your feedback! :)
Do you think I could use sesame paste instead of peanut butter?
I’ve never used sesame paste so I honestly have no idea. Sorry about that! I hope you’ll enjoy them if you try it out. :)
AMAZING recipe- I changed a few things because of food sensitivities:
Used 1/4 almond butter instead of peanut butter, 1/4 butter instead of coconut oil, replaced cocoa powder with raw cacao powder, and just used 11 medjool dates… turned out SO well!
Only complaint is that it was small so I wish I did 2 batches!
I need to come up with a recipe that fits an 8×8 well! And I’m so happy you enjoyed the brownies and that they came out well with your changes. :) Thanks a ton for your feedback!
Thank YOU for the recipe! I had serious doubts about any “healthy junk food” recipes, but you proved me wrong!! Very happy to come across this and looking forward to trying more of your recipes!!
Well I hope you’ll enjoy the others just as much! I used to have doubts about healthy desserts, too. There are a lot of bad ones out there! I think they kind of scared me. Thanks a bunch for your nice comment. :)