These fudgy paleo brownies are super moist with intense chocolate flavor. Oh and they also happen to be straight-up delicious – whether you’re paleo or not! (As decidedly non-paleo bloggers, you know we wouldn’t lie.)
So this is crazy, right? Ready To Yumble is not a paleo blog. We’ve never claimed to be gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, etc., and in fact our cookies and blondies and brownies and cake are pretty serious proof of the opposite.
BUT here’s the thing. Our only requirement for the recipes on this website is that they be delicious. Ross and I blog the foods we daydream about. We blog the foods we text back and forth during
the workday breaks at work, while egging each other on to add more cheese or more caramel. In spite of our obsessions, we actually include some legitimately healthy dishes on this blog…like ahi tuna poke and blackberry goat cheese salad. But we don’t post them because they’re healthy or conform to a certain diet. We post them because poke is freaking magical and blackberry goat cheese salad makes me weak at the knees. In other words: TASTY! And we figure that most of our readers are adults who can make their own decisions and read ingredients and decide if a certain recipe is right for them. We just provide the delicious options.
So when I decided to share this paleo brownie recipe with you, I actually agonized over the name. Because, these are really just super yummy brownies. But they are also paleo. And some people want that info up front. So I decided to go ahead and throw the word “paleo” in the title, and yes, these are absolutely gluten-free, dairy-free, and sweetened only with fruit. But even non-paleo folks (like us…) will be into these bad boys. Call ’em what you want!
I created these fudgy paleo brownies when Ross and I took on a very silly paleo challenge with our local Crossfit gym/box.
Doesn’t sound like us, does it? But we work out with a good group of people, and Ross and I can both be slightly competitive, so when this 30 day challenge was announced, we decided what the heck, we can live without brownies for a month.
…And then we broke down and learned paleo baking ASAP.
Obviously it can be tough to replicate treats without half the usual ingredients. (If you want to check out a maniacal yet too-close-to-home account of baking paleo cookies, aka “patties of sadness” and “pucks of suffering,” read this article.) Different people have different definitions of “paleo,” and our particular challenge was fairly strict. And by fairly strict I mean like kinda soul-crushing. Not only was refined sugar out, but so was coconut sugar and maple syrup and honey and agave – all commonly found in “paleo” baked goods. So how to bake something that actually tasted good? Luckily Ross and I are nothing if not obsessed with food. WE WOULD PERSEVERE!
Rich, dense, flourless brownies turned out to be a great place to start.
Doesn’t even sound paleo, does it? It just sounds delicious. How are they sweetened, you ask? With a fruit so sweet it should probably be banned from paleo diets along with other sugars… but hey, under our challenge, it was fair game: DATES. Yup, nature’s original candy stepped up to the plate. (Ba bum ching!)
I started with this recipe from Elana Amsterdam, but I made the brownies three times with different tweaks to get it where I wanted. (Remember the WE WILL PERSEVERE part?) I love a fudgy brownie, so I added some extra egg yolks and coconut oil for richness. I also added some arrowroot, which helps bind baked goods without gluten. It sounds a bit obscure, but it was actually easy for us to find in the spice section of our grocery store. The arrowroot let me increase the moisture content without the brownies falling apart. Oh, and for a little extra flavor, you’ve got to add some espresso powder – it pumps up that chocolate flavor to the nth degree. (Don’t like coffee? You could leave it out, but honestly, the brownies don’t taste like coffee – they just taste like very rich chocolate.)
One caveat to this recipe is that you really do need a kitchen scale. (Just like Grok used. Wait…) Unlike a cup of sugar, one date can be significantly larger or smaller than another date, and it’s going to be hard to estimate how many dates you need to include without weighing them. The good news is that a kitchen scale is a VERY handy tool you’ll use over and over, plus they’re pretty cheap. We use this scale all the time and love it, or this scale is also a good option for less than $15. (<- Amazon affiliate links.)
Another great thing about this recipe is that you make it in a food processor from start to finish.
(Again, just like Gr….oh fine I’ll let it go.) Which means, only one thing to wash! Yes please! The batter is quite thick and sticky, but it bakes into some of the fudgiest brownies I’ve ever tasted – paleo or not. There’s also an easy trick to get the batter smoothly spread in the pan. Just dip a rubber spatula in some water, and use to press out the batter into the corners. The little bit of water will keep the batter from sticking to the spatula. Easy peasy.
So there you have it. The best darn paleo brownies I’ve ever eaten, and really just flat out delicious brownies, full stop, no qualifiers. Maybe I should have called them the “extra fudgy and coincidentally paleo brownies.” But that would take too long to say.
By the way, you can also top that paleo brownie with some very non-paleo ice cream and chocolate syrup, if you’re so inclined. We’re all about balance here.
How do you feel about paleo treats? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Eat them if they’re delicious but don’t worry too much about labels? Let us know in the comments below! And ABSOLUTELY tag us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter if you try these brownies out yourself!
ALSO big news: we’re now on Snapchat, pretending to be reckless, oversharing 16-year olds! OK not really. We mostly make bad jokes and forget how to use Snapchat. But you can laugh at our struggles. Our username is ReadyToYumble, and here’s a ghost that apparently knows where we live. Snap us your creations, paleo or not!
- 200 g (7 oz.) unsweetened chocolate (the kind in bars, not powdered)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (or instant coffee)
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot
- Pinch of salt
- 225 g (8 oz.) pitted medjool dates
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 6½ tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Place chocolate, baking soda, espresso powder, arrowroot, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the consistency of coarse sand.
- Add pitted dates to the food processor and process until combined. Add remaining ingredients, except pecans, and continue to process until smooth, occasionally using a spatula to clean the sides of the bowl.
- Spray an 8 x 8 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour brownie batter into pan - it will be quite thick. Smooth the top with a spatula dipped in water. Sprinkle pecans on top.
- Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until the top is just set but the center is still a little gooey. After removing from oven, place pan in the freezer for approximately 15 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack.