Super Chocolate Brownies

My cousin Kelly  is 6 months pregnant. She’s ecstatic and glowing and oh-so cute in her little dresses that show off a growing belly (and for once, the long-time  “Kelly belly” nickname actually makes some sense).

Anyways, I made these brownies a few days ago for her birthday. I thought about what I would want if I were pregnant. From what I hear, the closest I’ve ever come to that experience is the whole “that time of the month” situation. The bloating. The mood swings. The chocolate cravings. Oh — chocolate! (Sorry to my male readers — all 3 of you? — for having to endure the “girl talk” in this post).

Yes, I believe that if I were six months pregnant, I would most certainly want something very chocolaty. Pretty much all the time.  So of course I thought I had hit the jackpot of birthday treat ideas, until about halfway through the recipe when I realized that chocolate contains caffeine and pregnant women are supposed to limit caffeine intake. Pregnancy gift faux-pas? My research says no; chocolate in moderation is perfectly O.K. and perhaps even beneficial. Phew. But I suppose a whole pan of brownies to keep for myself wouldn’t be the worst thing ever…

Of course, I did test a few of the brownies on my fellow housemates before pawning them off to unsuspecting pregnant people. For those not keeping track, my “housemates” currently include my parents, husband and three dogs. Though not to worry, I didn’t test the brownies on the dogs (much to their dismay).

The brownies got a universal thumbs-up and were deemed “very chocolaty.” Perhaps I  really was channeling my inner pregnant woman. I did add a tablespoon of coffee substitute to the batter, as I’ve learned from my days as an Ina geek that coffee brings the chocolate out of chocolate dishes, adding intensity to the flavor. Again, keeping my audience in mind, I steered clear of real coffee and went with the fake stuff (which is surprising good in its own right, I must say).

And thus completes yet another gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free brownie adventure in my kitchen. With this recipe, I think my brownie count on this site is at six. I don’t know what it is with me and brownies. Truth be told, I think it’s the fact that every time I set out to make an old recipe, I’m out an ingredient and with that, a whole new recipe is born. Apparently, I can get very creative when I’m craving chocolate.

For a twist, I sprinkled these with chopped walnuts and gluten-free chocolate chips . It makes for a pretty presentation and adds a nice nutty flavor and crunch. Of course, these would also be good with more coarsely chopped nuts mixed into the batter.

Makes: 1 8×8″ pan (about 9 medium-large or 12 small squares)

Gluten-Free Very Chocolate Brownies:

¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill brown rice flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon dry Ener-G egg replacer

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon instant coffee or gluten-free grain coffee substitute*

¾ cup applesauce

¾ cup agave nectar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

¼ cup coconut oil (liquefied), plus more for greasing

1/4 cup crushed walnuts and 2 tbsp. gluten-free chocolate chips (optional) for topping


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Lightly grease an 8×8″ glass pan with coconut oil and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, coffee/coffee substitute and egg replacer. Add in applesauce, agave, coconut oil and vanilla and whisk until incorporated.
4. Pour batter into pre-greased dish. Sprinkle with walnuts and chocolate chips and very lightly press into top of batter. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until brownies bounce back when pressed. Cool on a wire rack completely before slicing.

* I used Dandy Blend instant herbal coffee substitute.


  1. Jess says

    These look delicious! I’d like to bake them tonight but have a question about the egg replacer. I’ve never used this and am fine just using eggs. Do you think that one egg would overwhelm this recipe (in place of the egg replacer)? Thanks!

  2. Beth says

    Thanks, Shirley! I was out of commission this weekend because of work and such, but I will definitely submit something next weekend. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Beth says

    Charlie — the coffee substitute is because I was making these for Kelly and didn’t want to load a pregnant woman’s brownies with an entire tablespoon of coffee. So, substitute it was! : )

  4. kelly says

    I am the pregnant Kelly and these brownies were a wonderful suprise. They were amazing!!! I also made a batch myself but substituted oat flour (it’s hard for a wide load like me to go to the grocery store) and it worked! yum yum thanks, Bethy xoxo

  5. says

    I made these tonight. I had problems though. It took 40 minutes and still could’ve been cooked longer. Also, they were way way way sweet, good but way too sweet I think. I omitted the “coffee” because I didn’t have any and used honey instead of agave since that’s what I had on hand. I don’t know if that’s why they were so sweet or took so long but just wondering?

  6. Beth says

    Ari — the only thing I can think is that maybe you measured the agave wrong? That would change the texture and obviously the sweetness. Sorry you had troubles..

  7. Beth says

    Ari — Actually, I just noticed that you said you used honey instead of agave. That would almost certainly be the difference, as honey would yield more sweetness and a different texture.

  8. hellooolife says

    i love your blog, this is the second recipe i’ve tried and it turned out great! I used a 1/2 cup coconut nectar instead of 3/4 cup agave nectar and it turned out fine.

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