Easy Fudgy Brownies

Oh my goodness! This is one of the richest, most delectable brownies I’ve ever eaten. It’s the third brownie recipe on my blog and I think the third one was the charm! Such a decadent mouthful, there’s just nothing to compare with a really fudgy brownie. This one fits the bill and is so easy to make. In fact, it takes longer to assemble the ingredients and scoop it out of the food processor into the baking dish than it does to make them!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9″ baking dish with non-stick spray (I use the Chosen Foods 100% Avocado Oil spray). Add to the bowl of a food processor:

Pulp from 1/2 a small avocado or about 1/3 cup avocado pulp

3/4 cup date sugar

1/3 cup agave nectar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup avocado oil or other light tasting oil

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

2 teaspoon instant coffee

Blend until combined. Add:

3/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour

1/2 cup oat flour

3/4 cup carob powder

1 tablespoon psyllium husk flakes

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

By hand, mix in:

1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened carob chips, chocolate chips if you can use them, chopped walnuts (again if you can use them), or 2 tablespoons hemp hulls OPTIONAL

Scoop out of the food processor bowl and spread out evenly in the baking dish. I found it easiest to scoop it all out first and then using a large wet spoon to spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. It is very thick!

Bake only 20 minutes turning once at 10 minutes. If using a smaller baking dish, bake for 25 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE OR YOU’LL HAVE DRY CAKE BROWNIES! Cool for at least an hour before cutting. In fact, it works well to cool for a half hour and then refrigerate them. They need to be cold before cutting into nine (or more) pieces.

Cinnamon Swirl Sticky Buns (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free)

I love cinnamon rolls! In fact, I won the winter carnival for my junior class in high school with my sticky buns. Back then I didn’t worry about gluten or dairy, didn’t have any allergies then. My son recently asked me, after the cinnamon swirl bread, if I could make some rolls instead. Here’s what I came up with. The recipe makes a 12-15 rolls.

This a a very tender, soft dough and doesn’t rise as much as traditional yeasted dough.

In a large bowl mix:

1/2 cup warm water (around 100 degrees; my Nana always told me the key to yeast was to make sure the water didn’t feel hot or cold on your wrist, just wet, then it’s the perfect temperature, like a baby’s bottle should be)

1 teaspoon date sugar

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

Stir to dissolve the yeast and then let sit for 5-10 minutes until it bubbles. Throw it out and try again if it doesn’t bubble or foam, that means its not working.

Warm over a very low heat in a small sauce pan:

1 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup honey, agave or coconut nectar

2 tablespoons oil

Be sure not to get this liquid hotter than the water was for the yeast or it will kill the yeast mixture when you pour it into the bowl. When the honey is melted, pour the milk mixture into the yeast and add:

1 cup whipped potatoes (don’t want any lumps in the dough!)

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt (be sure the salt goes in last so it doesn’t affect the yeast)

Mix thoroughly. Add more brown rice flour if the mixture is too wet. You want a dough that you can handle and roll out. Grease a bowl and add the dough, put in a warm place, covered with wax paper or a clean small towel and let rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours.

For the filling you need:

1/4 cup avocado oil, coconut oil, or vegan margarine

1/4-1/3 cup date sugar

2-3 teaspoons cinnamon (more or less to taste, I was rather generous with mine and probably used more like 2 tablespoons)

Prepare a 9×12 baking dish by greasing. Remove the dough and place on a floured surface where you can roll it out to approximately a 24×30″ rectangle. You may need to add some flour to the top of the dough to keep it from sticking. Once rolled out, rub the dough with 1/4 cup of avocado or coconut oil (or a vegan margarine), sprinkle with 1/4-1/3 cup date sugar and several teaspoons of cinnamon. Beginning on the longer end, slowly roll the dough (you may need to loosen the dough from the counter with a butter knife if stuck). Tuck the ends into the roll and make sure the last side is securely attached to the rest of the roll. Cut into 1″ slices and place in the prepared baking dish. You don’t have to leave much space between the rolls because they won’t rise much at this stage. Cover with a clean towel or waxed paper and put in a warm place to rise again. (I turned my oven to 170 degrees (the lowest setting it would go) and turned it off after 5 minutes of warming so that it was approximately 100 degrees and used that to let the dough rise. Worked well.) This should only take about 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the Honey-Bee Glaze like we used on the Cinnamon Swirl Bread (1/2 cup date sugar, 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, 1/4 cup agave or coconut nectar, 1/4 cup oil, 1/2-1 cup hemp hulls, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds – if too thick to pour, add a little more milk) and pour it over the rolls before baking them in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a middle roll comes out clean.

Spicy Pumpkin (or Sweet Potato) Quick Bread (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free)

I really enjoy baked items that I can make without pulling out my stand mixer or even my hand mixer. This is one of those. Takes two bowls but otherwise a very easy bread to make. It’s a dense loaf but moist and tender. Perfect as a side for a salad or toasted with some non-dairy cream cheese for breakfast with your favorite protein.

Makes 1 loaf

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Generously grease a 9×5 bread pan. Mix in a medium to large bowl:

2 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 cup date sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix until combined. In a separate smaller bowl whisk together:

1 can pumpkin puree

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup oil (I used avocado oil but any oil you have will work)

2 teaspoons vanilla

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined. Before combining you might add one or several of the following:

1/2 cup chopped dates

1 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup hemp hulls

or 1 cup dried fruit such as currents, raisins, cranberries, etc.

Spoon into the prepared pan, smooth over the top and place in the middle of the oven. Bake 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan or on cooling rack.

Easy Cinnamon Swirl Bread (dairy free, gluten free, refined cane sugar free, egg free, soy free, vegan)

One of my favorite breads has always been cinnamon raisin. I can no longer eat raisins but cinnamon is such a wonderful flavor, especially this time of year. And it naturally lowers blood sugar levels so has health benefits as well.

This bread is very easy to make, don’t even need a mixer, just be careful not to overmix and spread evenly in the pan so there isn’t one part that takes longer to bake. Mixes in about 10 minutes so most of the time is baking, 40-50 minutes to bake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (gluten free all purpose) a bread pan.

In a medium bowl mix:

2 tablespoons ground flax seed (preferably golden so it doesn’t show in the bread)

1/4 cup warm water

Let sit 5 minutes or until thickened and add:

1/2 cup date sugar

1 cup non-dairy milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 6 ounce container of plain yogurt (mine was actually 5 1/2 ounces and I just added an extra tablespoon of milk)

1 tablespoon vinegar

In a smaller bowl, mix together:

1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

When mixed, slowly add to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined. Spoon evenly into prepared bread pan.

In a separate small bowl mix together:

1/3 cup date sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted vegan margarine or avocado oil

Spoon over bread mixture and using a fork or knife, swirl through the bread mixture.

Bake 40-50 minutes in the middle of the oven or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the bread is cooking, make the glaze:

1/3 cup sugar free confectioners’ sugar (Lakanto has a monkfruit based powdered sugar)

2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

If you don’t care for the taste of monkfruit sweetener, mix together 1/2 cup agave or coconut nectar with 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk and 1 tablespoon of ground chia seed (white).

Put the bread on a cooling rack that sits on top of a cookie sheet. Be sure its fully cooled before glazing. Pour either glaze over the top of the loaf, coating evenly. If using the nectar based glaze, be sure there are no pools of glaze that might soak into the bread.

You could add some raisins or cranberries to the bread before baking or even some chopped candied fruits if you don’t mind a little sugar in the mix! That would be a lot like my Nana’s Christmas bread!

Tahini Carob Chip Cookies (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined cane sugar-free, egg free, vegan)

Remember those chewy, nutty peanut butter cookies from our younger days? These are very reminiscent of those but are healthy and so easy with just five ingredients. Feel free to substitute any nut or seed butter you can use such as sunflower or pepitas.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Put in your food processor:

  • 1 cup tahini (or any nut or seed butter), use a thicker tahini rather than a runny thin one or your cookies will not come out chewy
  • 1 cup date sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of aguafava (or 1 egg if you can use eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Process until smooth and then remove from food processor into medium bowl and stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of unsweetened carob or chocolate chips. Scoop by tablespoon onto prepared cookie sheet, flatten with damp fork (or spatula) and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your cookies. You want them crispy on the outside but chewy in the middle so when the middle is set and the outside browned, they are done. Makes 10-15 cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, vegan)

What’s better at the holidays than sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies?  Just the smell of gingerbread baking makes most of us think of Christmas.  This recipe uses a number of types of flours to get the right consistency for gingerbread but is fairly easy to put together.  I added a 1/2 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger but it could have used substantially more so if you really like ginger, add 1-2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger.  And, depending on how thin you roll these, vary the baking times from 10-12 minutes for thinner cookies and  15-20 minutes for thicker cookies.  And the number it makes also depends on how thin you roll them; it can make as few as 15 for thicker cookies or as many as 24 for thinner cookies.

I’m working on a sugar-free and egg-free royal icing and hope to have that recipe ready for the blog soon.  

In a medium sized bowl combine:

  • 1 cup millet flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot
  • 1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (more if you like them really gingery)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Sift or stir to combine dry ingredients.  In a large bowl mix:

  • 1 cup shortening such as Spectrum
  • 1/2 cup date sugar
  • 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder

Beat on medium speed until well mixed.  Add:

  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (or coconut nectar or honey)
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

Mix on medium speed until combined.  Add dry ingredients in several batches (around 3/4 cup at a time) until all the flour is incorporated.  I actually put down the mixer when half the dry ingredients were added and mixed in the remainder with a large spoon.  Form into a round disk (or a rectangle) and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper (no non-stick spray needed).  Unwrap the plastic wrap and add a piece of parchment paper to the top.  Roll out to 1/8 to 1/4 inch depending on taste.  I prefer a very thin, crispy cookie so I rolled mine out rather thin.  Repeat until all the dough is used.  These cookies will not rise or expand while baking so they can be placed on the cookie sheets closely packed.  Decorate with unsweetened carob or chocolate chips if desired before baking.  

Bake 10-20 minutes depending on thickness; when the cookies are slightly firm and browned (hard to tell with the molasses), they are cooked; if you like yours crunchier, cook them a little longer.   Cool on cooling racks.  These can be frosted with carob buttercream or cream cheese frosting if desired (I enjoyed mine just plain).

Triple Carob Glazed Donuts (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, vegan)

Sometimes you just want something “good” for breakfast instead of the usual smoothie.  This is one of my go-to recipes when that happens to me.  This is not a very sweet donut so if you like your donuts sweeter, just increase the amount of monk fruit powder in the recipe.  But I find that the glaze gives it all the sweetness it needs. This recipe makes six donuts.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a donut pan (be sure to grease the center as well so your donuts don’t stick in the middle.

In a medium bowl combine:

  • 1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca (or arrowroot) flour
  • 1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup carob (or cocoa) powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup unsweetened carob (or chocolate) chips

In a second small bowl combine:

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix by hand until combined (be sure to scrap the bottom of the bowl so that you get all the dry ingredients mixed in; I only say this because I frequently find when I scoop out the dough into the gallon zip bag that there’s dry on the bottom of the bowl).  Scoop the dough into a gallon ziplock bag.  Cut off a bottom corner and pipe into the prepared donut pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Try to make all the donuts the same size so that they all cook at the same rate.

Remove the donuts from the oven and let sit on the counter for a couple of minutes while you prepare the ganache (see recipe under Sauces…).  Loosen the donuts from the pan and turn onto a cooling rack.  Dip each donut into the ganache to coat the tops.  

TIP:  You’ll probably have some ganache left over — make some truffles letting the ganache firm up in the refrigerator and then roll (about a tablespoon or two) into a ball and then roll in ground nuts, flax and chia seeds, hemp hulls, coconut, or carob powder.  

Spice Cake with Parsnips (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar free, vegan)

My mother always made a spice cake for my sister’s birthday.  It was her favorite and she would have loved this one.  Its light and moist texture will make even the pickiest cake eater happy.  Topped with a spiced cream cheese frosting, its a delight.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  You’ll need:

  • 9×13 baking dish, lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 cup cooked and pureed parsnips (steam the parsnips until tender; blend in food processor with a little water, up to 1/4 cup, to make puree; you’ll need approximately 1 pound of parsnips to make a cup of puree)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice or nutmeg (I don’t like nutmeg so I usually use allspice but if you do like nutmeg, feel free to use it instead of the allspice)
  • 1/2 cup date sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lucuma
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax combined with 1/3 cup hot water, cooled
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts (or if you can eat them, chopped walnuts)

Before beginning anything else, combine the ground flax and hot water so that it can stand for about 5 minutes and cool for later use.  Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk to aerate and set aside.  Combine the parsnips, oil, date sugar, lucuma, vanilla, baking powder and flax gel and beat to combine with a hand or stand mixer.  Add to the dry ingredients along with the milk and club soda and beat until well combined.  

Spoon into the prepared baking dish.  Mixture is quite thick so needs to be spread evenly in the pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove and let cool on the counter for an hour before frosting.

To make the frosting, combine:

  • 1/4 cup of vegan margarine
  • 10 ounces of non-dairy cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice

Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth and ingredients well combined.  Frost the cake and top with hemp hearts or chopped nuts.  

Carob Fig “Truffles” (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan)

I made filled chocolates for over fifty years until a few years ago when I realized that no one in my family or circle of friends could eat them anymore for one reason or another.  So now I cover different flavored Oreos with chocolate for my grandson and my great-nieces.  I have a friend, however, who asked me to please find a recipe for a candy that she can eat that’s healthy but still decadent enough to call candy.  Here’s what I came up with.  Don’t like figs?   Not a problem, use dates (don’t soak them) or prunes instead.  If you use dates, the mixture will be much sweeter.  If the figs or prunes aren’t sweet enough for your family’s taste buds, add a few dates to sweeten it up.

You’ll need:

  • 12 ounces of dried figs (or you can use fig paste or jam made with fresh figs in season; no need to soak those)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup protein powder
  • 1/4 cup carob powder (if you can have chocolate, feel free to use cocoa)
  • 1/4 cup tahini (or if you can have it any nut butter will work)
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
  • juice from 1/2 orange (around 2 tablespoons)
  • pinch of salt
  • hemp hulls, coconut flakes, carob or cocoa powder, toasted sesame seeds, for rolling the truffles in
  • Remove the stems from the figs and put in a bowl, cover with hot water and let soak for around an hour.  Drain and put in a food processor along with the protein powder (start with 1/4 cup), carob powder, tahini, zest and juice, and salt.  Blend until smooth.  If mixture is too wet, add the remaining protein powder.

Scoop out tablespoons full and with wet hands, roll them into balls (I had a small bowl of water next to where I was working so that I could wet my hands as needed).  We want these the size for one to two bites so if a tablespoon is a little big, reduce the amount for each ball.  I would say I used around 2 teaspoons per ball.  Place them on parchment or waxed paper as you roll them out.  It should make between 16 and 24 balls.  Roll each ball in your choice of hemp hulls, coconut flakes, carob or cocoa powder, or toasted sesame seeds.  Refrigerator for up to a week.  

I found these very dense and rich so I could only eat 2 at a time.  And, of course, oh so delicious and gooey.  A great substitute for candy with all that sugar.  Sweet and gooey without any sugar except the one naturally found in the fruit.  

Variations:

  • 12 ounces of prunes instead of figs — these don’t need to be soaked
  • 12 ounces of dried mango — cut into small pieces before soaking and don’t add any additional liquid to the food processor
  • 12 ounces of dried sweet dark cherries — again, no need to soak these but may need a few tablespoons of water to loosen the mixture (I covered these with chocolate ganache)
  • 12 ounces of dried dates, pitted of course — don’t soak them but again they may need a few tablespoons of water if too thick
  • 12 ounces of dried apricots — soak and again, don’t add any liquid to the mixture (I rolled these in ground almonds)

Gluten-free Waffles (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free)

One of the most difficult recipes to adapt, in my opinion, has been waffles and pancakes.  If they taste great, they’re gummy.  Not these — light and fluffy and at the same time very crispy and oh so good.  And I learned a great tip for cleaning my waffle iron (that doesn’t come apart to wash) — after you’re done cooking your waffles and the iron is still hot, place a flat wet paper towel inside the iron and close the lid and it will steam clean your waffle iron.  In my 4-waffle iron, this batter made 8 waffles.

In a small bowl combine:

  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

In a medium size bowl place:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Stir dry ingredients to mix.  In another bowl (4-cup capacity), beat on medium:

  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder

Beat until stiff peaks form and then increase speed and continue to beat for another 2 minutes until they become marshmallow like.  Increase to highest speed and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add:

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup applesauce or other fruit puree
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil

Add the milk mixture and combine until well mixed.  Gently fold in the aquafaba mixture.  Grease your waffle iron and make sure it is hot.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter (per waffle) into your waffle iron and cook.  You may need a little more than a 1/4 cup — as you can see from the picture, mine could have taken a little more batter to completely fill the waffle iron.  Add syrup and enjoy!