Food + Wine

Chocolate Brownie Muffins – minus the flour and dairy and added sugar. plus a secret

I feel like I start every ‘alternative food replacement recipe post’ the same way…

Ya’ll know I eat all the foods, right?  I eat gluten, animal products, (some) dairy, grains… so when I write a recipe avoiding any ingredient that some people have to avoid, I feel it’s important you all know I’m able to compare it to ‘original’ versions fairly easily.

And these Chocolate Brownie Muffins (as my kids like to call them) are darn good.  I make them in muffin tins so they portion out easily, but feel free to press them into a square pan to have them resemble traditional brownies.  Your choice.  And these aren’t ooey gooey brownies… they’re firm and dense and rich and thick and coat your mouth with chocolatey goodness.  (They’re also incredibly filling… so, breakfast and snack brownies are totally an option here.)

My kids know what ‘real treats’ are even more than I do currently and they love these things.  And isn’t that sort of the ultimate test? -Asking a kid anything?

They never lie.

So these brownies contain actual chocolate, but have no added sugar beyond what’s already in the semi-sweet chocolate…

They don’t contain any dairy (unless your brand of semi-sweet chocolate morsels do)…

They do not use eggs (which means you get to carefree lick everything during and after you’re baking. win)…

They do not contain oil or butter…

And they do not contain any flour whatsoever.  Not even gluten free flour.  Not even nut flour.  None.

They basically have only 2 main ingredients…

So, how the HAIL do these things even exist?!


Ok, ok, stop!!!  Come back.  Guys, please.  Don’t run away.  Don’t be scurred.  Think about it.  Think about how relatively bland (and starchy) a plain bean can be.  It’s more or less a mildly flavored starch canvas.  Yes?  I’m using chickpeas in here, which are a rich and buttery bean to begin with, right?  Think about how creamy and thick hummus becomes when you blend it up.  Now, think about taking the concept of a plain, bland, mildly flavored starch canvas that becomes creamy and thick when you blend it up…. and adding sweet stuff to it.  Like chocolate.

…did I get you back yet?

Are you with me?

You don’t even taste the chickpeas in these.  Really, you don’t.  I had my daughter (she’s 5, she’s got a very particular palate and is very sensitive to all flavors…you don’t get much by this chick) taste them the other night on our Mommy-Daughter night and she plowed through half of it, yummy noising all the way through, before I asked her if she could guess the secret ingredient.  She never did.  But when I told her what it was, she laughed and said

‘BEANS?!?  Beans?  I don’t even taste beans!  Mommy, you’re funny.’  

And that was that.  She kept eating.

She asked me why I would put beans in brownies and why not ‘just put flour?’  I told her that some people’s tummies can’t eat flour, and it makes them sick.  I told her I write recipes for things that those people can eat too.  Because everyone deserves to have special treats that make them smile and make yummy noises.

So, please give these a try… whether you’re avoiding grains/wheat/gluten and dairy for medical reasons or just because it’s a preference… or if you just want a healthier, high fiber way to eat a chocolate brownie.  You don’t have to go and buy some special flour substitute mixture that costs you more than it should.  All you have to do is reach into your pantry for a couple cans of garbanzo beans.

You’re welcome 😉


free of:  gluten . grains . dairy . eggs . added sugar

12 muffin-sized brownies (2 oz each)

In the bowl of your food processor, combine the following…

  • 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans (unseasoned!!! just plain, salted)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • good splash vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp espresso powder, or instant coffee if you can’t find that (I always use decaf, as I’m sensitive to caffeine, and don’t like my kids getting any of it outside of what’s already in the chocolate)
  • rounded 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Blend this until you have a creamy consistency… this will take a bit.  You will stop and scrape several times.  If you get it to a small, grainy consistency, that’s ok.  You will be blending again with the melted chocolate.

While you’re getting the chickpeas broken down, you can be melting your chocolate…

In a medium, microwave safe (preferably glass) bowl, add…

  • 1 3/4 cups semi sweet chocolate morsels/chips (**you will need a total of 2 cups)

Microwave for a total of 2 minutes, stopping to stir 1-2 times.

Once your chocolate is fully smooth and melted when you stir it, add in your remaining 1/4 cup of semi sweet chips.  This is a trick to ensure you don’t melt the cocoa butter too quickly and scorch it.  (And yes, you can use a double boiler on the stove if you’d prefer.  Absolutely.)

Scrape all the melted chocolate into your food processor with the pureed bean mixture.

Pulse and mix until you have a smooth batter.

This again takes awhile.

Be patient and stop/scrape, until it’s smooth like brownie batter should be.

(NOTE- If you’re a big sweets person, taste it now and add agave nectar to your liking.) 

Use a greased medium ice cream scoop (1/4 cup/2 oz size) and portion out your batter into 1 standard sized grease muffin tin.

You will get exactly 12.

(lick spatula and such)

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool in the pan on a rack until they’ve firmed up and are safe to touch.

Bite warm.

Bite often.

Thanks for reading, ya’ll.  I hope you have a delicious end of the week slash weekend! xo

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