Chocolate on Halloween is key and nothing beats these peanut butter-swirled grain-free brownies. We’re away at Disney World on this most spooky of days this year. I loaded this post up ahead of time for you, but I have no doubt that I’ll be stuffing my face with all manners of Mickey Mouse-shaped treats today. Posting all the action on Instagram if you’re curious!
These brownies are a gentle riff on the mega fudgy ones from my cookbook. They’re almost TOO fudgy at times, which is a strange selling point, but let’s just go with it. Once these are thoroughly cooled, I like to keep them in the fridge. Perfectly chilled wine and equally exquisitely chilled brownies is a good way to live.
We use peanut butter as our nut butter of choice for this version of grain-free brownies, and we’ve locked down a more streamlined cooking process! I’m not much of a baker–I know, I say this ALL the time. I don’t have the patience and I just don’t particularly enjoy doing it for some reason, but healthy-ish and easy treats like this with less than 10 ingredients? I can get down.
When my friend Lily shared her version of this recipe a while back, I noticed that she heated all of the liquid ingredients in a saucepan and just melted the chocolate in the warm goo (so appetizing lol) before adding the dry ingredients. In my cookbook, I have you melt the chocolate separately in a double boiler. The saucepan method is a crucial time/extra dishes saver and is most definitely reflected here.
Hope you have a great Halloween! If I wasn’t at the happiest place on earth, I’d be at home watching The Love Witch and handing out cute little bags of chips to trick or treaters (and probably eating many bags myself hehe). I love eating and creating high vibe vegan food/recipes, but I go with full-on treats on this holiday–no seaweed snack or apples at my place ;)
SERIOUSLY FUDGY VEGAN & GRAIN-FREE BROWNIES WITH PEANUT BUTTER
- ¾ cup natural smooth peanut butter, plus extra
- ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ cup dairy free chocolate chunks/chips, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- flaky sea salt for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8x2 baking pan with parchment paper “slings” going both ways. There should be overhang on both sides. Grease the parchment paper thoroughly with oil.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter, applesauce, maple syrup, and all but 3 tablespoons of the chocolate chunks. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir with a spatula until all of the chocolate is melted, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract and remove the saucepan from the heat. Let the peanut butter mixture cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Once the peanut butter mixture is slightly cooled, add the cocoa powder mixture to the saucepan. Using the spatula, mix everything to combine. Stir in the vanilla and stir once more. The batter will be thick!
- Scrape the grain-free brownie batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly, smoothing the top with your spatula. Then, drizzle some drippy peanut butter on top and drag a paring knife through the top of the brownies to create a swirl effect. The batter is quite thick, so you have to be quite deliberate. Press the remaining chocolate chunks into the top and sprinkle with flaky sea salt if you like.
- Bake the brownies until firm and slightly dry on top, about 27-30 minutes. Let them cool completely, for at least 2 hours, before slicing into squares. Store brownies covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Makes 9 large or 12 medium brownies
- You can use any nut or seed butter in place of the peanut butter!
- The batter is quite stiff, but if you’d like to make swirls of peanut butter on the top, just make sure that your peanut butter is quite drippy/runny. Drizzle a bit on top and then drag a paring knife through the peanut butter and the brownie batter before baking.
- These brownies are naturally oil-free minus the parchment paper greasing at the beginning. I imagine you can get away with not greasing the paper though. Might just stick a tiny bit.