Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies (vegan, grain free, cane-sugar free, dairy free, egg free)

Did I mention my husband is a HUGE chocoholic?  Well he is.  More than anyone I've ever met in my life.  And he likes the good stuff this man.  I'm not talking about a Hersey's bar (although if you gave him one he would eat it).  My husband's list of loves would probably go something like this: 1) his family, 2) the outdoors, 3) chocolate.  And if he was outdoors with his family eating chocolate he would probably explode (with joy).  So this chocolate series is dedicated to my sweet-teeth husband...and my daughter who is quickly following suit in the chocolate-loving department. 

Here we have recipe #2 in the pumpkin + chocolate series.  I don't know about you, but I like chewy brownies.  Not cake-like brownies.  I thought it would be a fun challenge to make these grain free.  So the trick here was to make a grain free brownie that didn't crumble apart.  I'm pleased with the final product.  My husband LOVES this brownie, as does my daughter.  They both gave it a two-thumbs up, and that's saying something from my chocolate connoisseurs.  How wonderful to make something so healthy and sinfully tasty for the ones I love.    
Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

-2 cups raw almonds
-1 cup raw walnuts
-1/2 cup raw cacao powder
-1/4 cup coconut flour
-2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon grade B maple syrup (room temp) 
-1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia (vanilla or cocoa flavor is nice)
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 cup applesauce (room temp)
-1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
-3 tablespoons water
-1/4 cup coconut oil - liquified
-1/4 cup non-dairy milk (or water)
-1/4 teaspoon ginger 

How To
Preheat oven to 375

In a food processor:
1.  Add almonds and grind until fine and slightly moist 
2.  Add walnuts to almonds and blend together until the nuts start to stick together a bit- test with fingers
3.  Add cacao powder, blend/pulse
4.  Add arrowroot, baking soda, ginger, coconut flour, and salt...
5.  Blend, blend, blend, pulse, pulse, pulse

In a separate bowl:
1.  Whisk together: pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, applesauce and milk (or water) 
2.  In a separate small bowl stir together chia and water until thick then add to wet ingredients. mix
3.  Add dry ingredients from food processor into wet ingredients and mix
4.  Transfer batter to 8x8 baking dish
5.  You can either line the 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray oil and dust with coconut flour.  I used oil & flour.  
6.  Bake 30 minutes or until sides start to harden and crisp up

*The middle will be moist, but will firm up as it cools, but overall stays rather moist.  
*I would wait several hours before cutting into the brownies (if you can) or wait until the next day (yeah right).
*Top with melted chocolate (I melted 1/2 of this chocolate bar with 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice)
Shared on: slightly Indulgent Tuesdays,  
Gluten Free Wednesdays, Week 5 of Home for the Holidays: Gluten Free Style,  Fat Tuesday, Whole Food Wednesdays, GFE's Virtual Support Group, Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Food, Pot Luck Party Fridays, Feed Your Soul Friday, Superfood Sunday 


  1. The Cyclist's WifeNovember 7, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    Yum. That looks moist & delicious...AND chocolaty!!!

  2. Thanks Sara! It is very moist indeed. Scott is crazy about this brownie, so I knew it was a winner. :-)

    Be Well,

  3. OMG! I'm bookmarking this and making it this weekend! I love that it's xathan gum (spelling?) free... I've heard mixed stories about that stuff. Thanks for posting!

    Oh and I'm your newest follower too! :)

  4. Hi There Curly J~

    Thank you for your comment and please let me know how they turn out! They were a hit in my house. About 3 days later they started to resemble fudge. Crazy good. There is definitely a nutty texture to these, but overall they really worked. Good luck!

    And, about the xanthan gum...
    Xanthan gum is considered "safe" although it hasn't been extensively tested. I've read that people with corn allergies might be allergic and therefore can cause very uncomfortable symptoms. As a rule I try and use only whole foods when cooking and find it fun and challenging to find alternatives. I do use xanthan gum once in a while because it is very good at its job, but try and find other things that work well too. I don't like feeling too dependent on any one ingredient. :-)

    Have a beautiful, health-full day.

    Be Well,

  5. I have printed this recipe and plan on making them, yum! I can handle guar gum better than xanthum gum (it's a 1/3 of the cost too). Xanthum gum IS derived from corn:like so many other things today, so people who are very sensitive to corn should avoid it. Thanks Amber!

  6. Hi There Tessa,

    Thank you for your comment and valuable information regarding xanthan gum. This is the power of blogging right! Very informative, specific information that is extremely helpful to readers. Good stuff.

    And Tessa, I made your kale chips tonight. WOW! Big hit. I took some pics (even a little video of my daughter) eating them. She really likes kale and thought these were just so fun and yummy. I will be posting this soon. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Be Well,

  7. I made these today, yum!! I decided to cut out the milk and use more pumpkin instead, added a bit more cocoa powder (2-3 tablespoons) to make REALLY chocolatey! Also, I didn't have any walnuts, so I used pecans instead and was out of arrowroot so used tapioca starch. Fudgey, chocolaty goodness! I am so glad you guys enjoyed the kale chips...i wish MY kids liked kale in OTHER forms too!


  8. Hi There Tessa~

    I love it! I love hearing how different ingredients work in recipes. What great information for someone who wants to make a change, but not quite sure what will work or substitute. Excellent information!

    I agree they are very fudgey! Pretty great for a grain-free brownie! I will be adding your kale chip recipe to my monthly round-up...they were a hit!

    Food for thought...I bet you could hide some kale in this brownie! :-)

    Be Well,

  9. I always hide pureed spinach in chocolate things...much to my husbands chagrin!

  10. You make me laugh!

  11. This looks wonderful, and I love all the ingredients! Thanks for sharing it a Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

  12. Thanks Linda!

  13. This looks yummy. If I can get my hands on a pumpkin or squash I am going to try and make this. Thanks for sharing!

  14. This looks amazing. Is there a substitute for the agave syrup for those of us avoiding it?

    1. Hi There Nancy,

      I think maple syrup (Grade B) would be an excellent substitute - I love this with chocolate. Honey and stevia would also work. I would do equal parts with the honey, 1/3 cup maple syrup, or 30-40 drop stevia (NuNaturals makes a cocoa liquid stevia that would work great).

      Hope this helps!

      Be Well,

  • Your directions omit the coconut flour listed in the dry ingredients. I assume it's added with the cocoa powder. Can't believe I'm the first one to notice since the recipe was posted long ago. I'll let you know how it works!

    1. Made the apologies! :-)

  • Also your directions call for agave and your ingredient list says maple syrup with stevia. Hmmmmm. Guess I'll just do a little of both and see what I make.

    1. Oh geez...hello Amber! I'm so sorry. Overall, my recipes aren't this confusing...I promise. But this is me attempting to bake, right. As mentioned in the next comment, I did make the recipe several times before sharing but my apologies for the wacky directions. And thanks for letting me know. :-)

  • These turned out okay. Not at all superfudgy like you mentioned; crumbly but still moist. Kids like them and it wasn't too difficult, just confusing comparing your ingredient list with your directions.
    Thanks for sharing and giving me a good starting place for a new recipe.

    1. Hi There,

      Thanks for your feedback. Sorry about the confusion! I went back and made a few changes. Arg...that's so frustrating and one of my big pet peeves on other food blogs (an inadequate recipe and directions).

      So when I first made these I was using agave, but I have since stopped using this sweetener and changed to maple syrup...and of course didn't make the change. I tried to make this user friendly for folks that don't like to buy packaged almond flour. But have noticed that use of raw almonds is tricky, as the texture and final product really depends on how they are originally ground - for example, using room temp nuts vs. cold nuts. And the duration of the blend will affect the texture. Needless to say, I need to make these again with store-bought almond flour (Bob's) to see if it changes the final product.

      Originally, I did make these many times and felt confident sharing the recipe (I never share a recipe unless I've tested at least 3 times). I agree that they are not fudgy, rather, I like that they are not cakey. I've been meaning to do another grain/egg/cane-sugar/gluten/dairy/gum free brownie recipe, but I'm not much of a sweet tooth, so there's not much motivation. I would rather roast a chicken (ha ha, how weird am I). :-)

      Grain free baking can be tough, but I won't give's a fun challenge. And I'm certainly no expert. Please share your variations if you make a similar recipe.

      Thanks again for your feedback. It's much appreciated.

      Have a great weekend.

      Be Well,

  • Hi,

    We can't have nuts, can we use coconut flour and how much would you say?

  • Hi There Leapchen,

    I'm sorry to say, but this recipe was designed specifically around the nut base. Coconut flour is a whole different beast in baking. This would just crumble apart if you used coconut flour in place of the nuts, especially without any eggs. There are many nut free brownie recipes out there. You could also use a whole grain base instead of flour, but you would have to increase the starch. Overall, you will have to do some experimentation. Sorry I don't have an easy answer for you. My advice is to search the internet for a nut-free, vegan brownie recipe. But you might find the recipe below to your liking. It's A GAPS brownie recipe and uses just a touch of coconut flour. But it might work well for you:

    Good luck!



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