Any time I have attempted to reform my diet, even for a temporary period, I meet the same insurmountable barrier: chocolate. It’s both my greatest food weakness and my greatest source of food happiness. Rather than attempt to give it up, drive myself crazy with cravings, then feel bad when I slip, I find it far more pleasant to create healthier chocolate desserts like today’s Paleo Brownies.
Although I don’t adhere to a specific diet (Paleo, vegan, etc.), I am certainly no stranger to the feeling that my body and eating routine need a bit of a reset—say the weeks following Christmas and New Year’s when I realize that I’ve been subsisting primarily on cheese boards, cookies, and champagne. I suspect a few of you may share the same feeling, and I want to be sure you have plenty of yummy, healthy recipes to enjoy for every meal of the day, including dessert.
Ingredients in Paleo Brownies
Made with almond butter, unsweetened cocoa, and hefty hunks of dark chocolate, these gooey Paleo Brownies feed my chocolate fix in a wholesome way. They’re flourless, gluten free (and grain free), dairy free, and more naturally sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar (brown sugar works if you aren’t concerned about the brownies being strictly Paleo approved).
And if you couldn’t care less about the brownies being healthy or Paleo or anything besides delicious? These rich, chocolaty brownies will still satisfy you too.
While the brownie base is nice and fudgy on its own, what truly makes these paleo brownies special (and extra addictive) is the Paleo fudge frosting. It’s smooth, glossy, and reminds me of the rich center of a chocolate truffle.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend ahead and that brownies (Paleo or otherwise) might make an appearance. I’m currently skiing in Deer Valley, Utah, with Ben. While I’ve downhill skied twice, this is his first time. As the decidedly less sporty of us two (my driveway basketball record versus his is abysmal), I plan to fully embrace the first hour of skiing when, for a brief, shining period, I *might* surpass Ben in an athletic activity.
You can follow along with our adventures (and see who wipes out first) via my Instagram story.
Speaking of Instagram—if you do try these paleo brownies (or any other of my recipes!), I’d love to see them on Instagram or read your comments here. It brings me so much joy to know that my recipes come to life in your kitchen. Add #wellplated to your Instagram caption and I’ll find it there, or leave a comment on the recipe post, and I’ll write back soon.
OK, over and out. We have some chocolate to eat!
More Healthy Dessert Recipes
- Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
- Chia Seed Pudding
- Chocolate Muffins
- And check out this list of my favorite 50 Healthy Desserts or the entire Healthy Sweet Treats section of my recipe index.
Tools Used to Make This Recipe
For the Paleo Brownies:
- 1 cup creamy almond butter - I use the natural kind that stays in the refrigerator after opening
- 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons coconut sugar - or substitute light brown sugar, though the brownies will not be Paleo
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips - or chopped dark chocolate, dairy free to keep Paleo
For the Paleo Fudge Frosting:
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips - or 3 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk - vanilla or regular
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips - or chopped dark chocolate optional for topping
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper so that it overhangs two of the sides like handles, then coat again with spray. Set aside.
- For the brownies: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the almond butter, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla. Let stand 5 minutes to allow the coconut sugar to absorb some of the moisture. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the top. Stir to combine. With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, then with a spatula or your fingers, press the batter into an even layer. Bake for 17 minutes, until the top is lightly dry and barely begins to puff. Let the brownies cool completely. (You can speed this process along in the refrigerator.)
- For the topping: In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate together with the almond butter and coconut oil, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat, then stir in the almond milk and vanilla until very smooth and evenly combined. The mixture will look very separate at first but will come together as you continue to stir. Spread over the top of the cooled brownies. Top with additional chocolate chips as desired. Refrigerate until the frosting is set, about 10 additional minutes. Slice and serve.
- Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Enjoy leftovers at room temperature or, to make them extra fudgy, warm slightly in the microwave.
- Freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
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