Ooey, Gooey and Gluten-Free: Brownies, Baby!


On certain very special Saturday mornings when I was growing up, a sweet aroma would tickle my nose, gently nudging me out of bed and into the kitchen. It was the smell of freshly baked brownies, cooling on the stove top in their 8 by 8 tin pan. It was my number one favorite treat when I was growing up–dense, fudgy (never cakey!) squares that fell apart in your napkin when you scooped ‘em out of the hot pan. My mom always made the standard recipe out of the red checkered Homes and Gardens cookbook, never using a packaged mix or fancy toppings. The beauty was in the simplicity of these unadorned and positively addictive chocolate treats. They never lasted long around our house, although I do remember peeling back saran wrap and gnawing on cold brownie bits from the freezer. Yu-umm.

My first attempts to adapt that treasured recipe failed. There was something not quite right about my sugar-free concoctions. I tried tweaking the Homes and Gardens recipe by replacing the flour with various flour blends, and the sugar with erythritol. I would end up with shapeless goo or dry, flat blocks that were light and airy–decidedly unbrownie like. The standard low carb brownie recipes made out of various combinations of almond meal, flax meal, and cream cheese always lacked a characteristic “heaviness” of the stick-to-your-ribs treats of my childhood.

Enter the hero of our story, coconut flour. If you haven’t heard of it, listen closely, because what I’m about to say will change your life. It’s just coconut meat with the fat pressed out, pulverized into a fine powder. Though it may look like all purpose flour (cue ominous music), this magical substance is so fragrant and alive compared to its refined evil twin. Get it here, or pay twice as much at your local health food store.

I always have to stick my nose in the bag and inhale before baking with coconut flour. Now coconut flour can be tricky to work with, so you must follow a tried and true recipe, or be stuck with a pan full of door stops. The moisture-sucking quality of coconut flour must be tamed with copious amounts of eggs. Once you get the hang of it, you will be turning out moist muffins and fudgy brownies that put my Mom’s old recipe to shame. Blasphemy, I know!

Coconut flour is low in carbohydrates and high in dietary fiber, which correlates with a lowered glycemic index for whatever you’re baking. Low-carb, sugar-free, and gluten-free, these brownies can be part of a wholesome breakfast… or maybe a midnight snack. ;)

These are ah-mazing. The center of the brownie pan is almost molten chocolate. I like to eat this part first, with a spoon. The edge pieces are firm, but moist. These brownies are a hit of pure chocolate to the brain–not the least bit coconut-ty, if you’re worried about that. They’re perfectly sweet with a subtle hint of caramel flavor from the molasses. They’re so incredibly rich that one serving should be enough, with all of the healthful natural saturated fat these brownies contain. Make a small pan if you are feeling emotional, ladies.

UPDATE, 5.2.09: This recipe for coconut flour brownies is MUCH more reliable, and even more delicious!

  • Anonymous

    Looks awesome…
    do you use 1/2 c sweetener PLUS your natural sweeteners below?
    Is each line an option or do all three below your natural sweetener option combine?
    thanx so much!

  • Gwuinifer

    Oh my goodness. I am making these tonight. This is the #1 thing I’ve missed since LC’ing, and I have everything on hand except the coconut flour, which I am at this very moment fleeing my house to procure.

    Thank you. I will be sure and let you know how it went as soon as I get these babies baked! :)

  • Lauren

    Anonymous – Thanks for your great question! I tried to make the instructions a bit more clear in the blog post. You use ALL THREE of the listed sweeteners. I put “1/2 cup of sweetener” because the original recipe used sugar, so if anyone wants to use sugar or another sugar substitute, that would also work.

    Gwuinifer – Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Brownies are my #1 favorite treat, too! These should really hit the spot for ya. :)

  • Zedgirl

    Can you think of a reason why you just can’t grind desiccated coconut into flour? I realize the coconut flour has been defatted but wouldn’t grinding your own solve the sponge-sucking problem that the flour has?

    Have you seen the Bakers Edge nonstick brownie pan? (google it)

    they think of everything don’t they!

  • Lauren

    Zedgirl – Someone made these with ground coconut flakes, and she was pleased with the outcome. Coconut flour is so finely milled and dry. The courser grind of dessicated coconut along with the flavor of the coconut oil would affect the flavor and texture I’m imagine.

    Wow, that Baker’s Edge pan is neat! Not sure if that would be a good thing for the Ooey Gooey factor, but it’d make for a fun serving dish. They sure do think of everything! :D

  • gwuinifer

    Well, the verdict is in– those are totally the most amazing low carb baked treats I have ever had the pleasure of eating! Thank you so much! I made it with the water bath like you instructed, but it took about double the time to cook. The second day, they are equally delightful! The texture is almost the same as a molten chocolate cake or a very fudgy flourless torte– perfectimundo! Bravo, my dear– you are truly gifted! :)

  • Meese

    These…were absolutely delicious! So far, I have followed your recipes for brownies, pizza crust, “English” muffins, ice cream, ice cream bars, and “PayDay” peanut treats — and they have all been rousing successes.

    They are also a big hit with my family, including my poor, be-statined father. (I’m working on it. And these treats are FAR superior to his Quaker granola bars, no?)

    Thank you so much!

  • outis

    These were so good I wanted to SLAP myself. Made them last night, had a smallish brownie–couldn’t eat as much as a regular brownie, probably because of all that good nutritious fat in them! And this morning…still in deep dark ketosis! You are an angel of sweet delights! Great to see someone developing recipes with the new fangled stuff like coconut flour. Thanks and keep um coming

  • Anonymous

    I can’t wait to get some coconut flour and try these!

    Also, thanks for posting the link to the Emerald Forest site. I ordered both sweeteners and they got here SO FAST! Thumbs up!


  • beth

    I made these tonight and they were delish. I’ve made the coconut flour recipe from the TIANA site before, but this was yummier (loved the gooey-ness).

    We had them w/ vanilla/stevia sweetened ice cream tonight (have been adding a touch of xanthan gum to our ice cream. OMG does it make it creamy. It totally takes the texture to another level!

  • Lauren

    Gwuinifer – So glad you enjoyed the brownies! Your description of the texture is dead on–it’s molten chocolate cake-ish. Thanks for the kind words!

    Meese – Yay! Glad to hear your family is enjoying the recipes. Best wishes for your father and his health journey! Those flimsy little granola bars got nothin’ on our fresh, full-fat whole foods. :)

    outis – I laughed out loud at your comment! Hope you didn’t slap yourself too hard, LOL. Hooray for ketosis after brownies!

    BufoDieter – Good to know that site has great customer service. I will be restocking my erythritol shortly. Get some coconut flour and put your erythritol to good use! :)

    Beth – Your ice cream sounds wonderful! I have been making my ice cream with stevia and xanthan gum as well. Tastes better and richer than any sugary ice cream I remember! Care to share your recipe?

  • Mommy Kong

    Hey Lauren! These brownies are awesome!! Good work once again. The bit of molasses really adds some nice flavor and sweetness. I didn’t want to deal with the foil lining so I put them in silicone baking cups (as I do with a lot of recipes). I ate them all in one evening!!! My hubby (the worst critic) even liked them. I’ve also made your english muffin recipe and the ice cream bars (as you already know from my blog). Fabulous!

  • Susanne/WyoDiva

    Lauren! I just found your blog and made these brownies and they are kicka**! Thank you…I hope you find time to keep experimenting and posting while going to school, because I’m sure in the market for gluten-free, low carb, non-AS natural foods! Way to go!

  • Anonymous

    Have you ever tried using almond flour in these?

  • Lauren

    Mommy Kong – So glad you’re enjoying the recipes! The silicone baking cups are a great idea for these. Thanks for sharing that tip!

    Susanne – Thanks for the feedback! I’ll do my best to blog a bit during school time. :)

    Anonymous – The almond flour wouldn’t work in this specific recipe, but I do have a brownie recipe using almond flour that I’ll get around to posting at some point! Great question.

  • Rico

    wait …wait …lemme pinch myself as I think I died and gone to Heaven…what a looker these brownies are. Great cooking…hope my humble recipes don’t disappoint you on my blog

  • act

    Help! I made these, but they turned out more like a light brown chocolate cake. (good cake, but I was trying for brownies!). I measured 1/4 cup + 2 tbs of coconut flour AFTER sifting. Was that my mistake?

  • Lauren

    Act, the baking time for these brownies is so tricky! They go from Gooey to cake-like in a flash. This is why I normally use my recipe for Simple Cocoa Brownies. Will try making these again and see if I can’t make a few more tweaks to make these more moist without as fussy a baking time. :)

  • Mommy Kong

    Hey Laura, I just made some of these brownies tonight (I’ve made several batches already since you posted this) but I over cooked them a bit and as I was cutting them into slices, I was thinking that these overcooked brownies could easily be transformed into chocolate biscottis. I mention this to you cuz I know you’d go crazy with the variations and do it much better than I ever could.

  • Lauren

    Making chocolate biscotti sounds like a great way to recycle a batch of these brownies, Mommy Kong. I’d slice the brownies into 1/2″ thick slices and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or so, flipping over once.

    Am working on a less finicky coconut flour recipe to be posted soon. Sorry about the weird baking time! Thanks for sharing your experience with these.

  • Anita

    Hi I'm trying to find the ooey gooey brownie recipe can someone give me the link please? All I can see is the picture, Lauren's description and comments.

  • Lauren

    Anita – That recipe was very temperamental, and didn't work for everyone. You can find it here though:

    Make it at your own risk! :) My new brownie recipe is much more reliable, and just as delicious! It is linked from this blog post.

  • Anita

    Thanks Lauren. You are so talented!Another question – is there an alternative for whey protein isolate? It's very expensive and hard to find here

  • Lauren

    Anita – Coconut flour should work pretty well in place of whey protein isolate. :)

  • Anita


  • 123 123

    Great article as for me. It would be great to read something more concerning this topic.
    BTW look at the design I've made myself Young escort

  • Shari 3 boys

    I would like this recipe for these brownies too? do u still have it

  • Shari 3 boys

    oh i see it now sorry

  • Anonymous

    Can someone point me to the original "gooey" recipe? The "revisited" recipe is a little dry for my taste.

  • Lauren

    Anon, the original recipe was very hit or miss. One minute of cooking time longer or shorter than the perfect time, and they'd be either dry and not gooey at all, or totally wet. Still engineering that perfect recipe. :) Stayed tuned!

  • Cade

    I tried to veganize this recipe. I used 1/2 a cup of Steviva Blend, even though it's 2:1 in sweetness. I had to use it as 1:1 because the batter just didn't taste sweet enough to me.

    I couldn't do the water bath because my pyrex dish wasn't big enough for the pan, so I baked it for 10 minutes and added 1/4 cup of water to compensate for the moisture-sucking effect of coconut flour and chia. Definitely a wise move.

    I will say that the chia seeds I used as an egg sub messed it up the whole thing. It was gooey but the gelling of the chia seed gave it an odd gummy texture.

    I would've tried the "updated" version but I don't do soy anymore so that's not an option.

    I think yacon syrup would've done nicely here. Maybe I should experiment with applesauce as well.

    Thanks Lauren.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07992980372195396801 Mark

    Am I missing something? I dont see the recipe! Help

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12992918908739085132 Lauren

    Mark, the recipe was quite temperamental so I took it down. A new brownie recipe is in the works!