These naturally gluten free flourless brownies are rich and fudgy, with a Paleo option, too. Made simply, with melted chocolate and cocoa powder, and topped with chocolate ganache.
We’ve made flourless brownies before, with peanut butter. Nut butters can be really wonderful for baking, particularly when you’re going flourless. And I do insist that, if you’re going to call something flourless, it shouldn’t have even a speck of an alternative flour (like almond flour or oat flour) or powdered starch (like cornstarch or tapioca).
But I had been longing for a rich, flourless brownie with a fudgy, chewy texture, and didn’t have a competing flavor like a nut butter brings. And I was determined to use only the simplest, most basic baking ingredients. That meant no avocados, no black beans, and not even dates.
This recipe had to have nothing more than melted chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, and cocoa powder. And as long as we’re shooting for the moon, let’s add a Paleo option, too.
5 main ingredients
These amazingly simple, naturally gluten free flourless brownies are everything a chocolate-lover could hope for. They’re rich and not too sweet, plus they’re perfectly dense and fudgy.
The 5 main ingredients are chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, and cocoa powder. A dash of salt helps balance the sweetness and bring out the other flavors. You won’t call out the flavor of the vanilla in these brownies, but it provides depth of flavor. Both could be omitted without affecting the success of the recipe.
Every flourless recipe has something that holds it together, whether it’s a nut butter, cooked quinoa, black beans, or even mostly egg whites. In recipes like these flourless brownies, as in a flourless chocolate cake or flourless white chocolate cake, the heavy-lifting ingredient is the melted chocolate.
Baking with solid chocolate that’s been melted and incorporated into the other ingredients provides structure when the baked goods cool. These brownies are not be as solid as more cake-like chewy gluten free brownies, but they are as close to fudge as you can get and still be a brownie!
Chocolate ganache is the finishing touch
The quick and easy chocolate ganache I poured on top just gives them that extra boost. That’s really only necessary when you want to make them special enough to give as a hostess gift.
Whenever anyone sees ganache they’re always very impressed. Unless they ask directly, there’s no need to tell them that the ganache is made with two simple ingredients…
Ingredients and substitutions
Whenever a recipe is as simple as this, making substitutions is a dangerous game. Each ingredient has a very specific function, and the more ingredients you replace, the farther away from the intended result you may find yourself. With that in mind, here are some suggestions.
Dairy-free: Making these flourless brownies dairy free is the substitution that I feel most optimistic about. In place of the butter in the brownies, use virgin coconut oil. Be sure you’re using dairy-free dark chocolate in the brownies and the topping.
In the topping, try canned full-fat coconut milk in place of the whipping cream. To help the ganache set up, though, try using 3 fluid ounces instead of 4 fluid ounces.
Egg-free: I’m afraid I’m not really optimistic about making this recipe with an egg substitute. Even though there are only 2 eggs, if you try replacing them with a “chia egg” each (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) you may find that the brownies simply won’t cook through without burning.
Sugars: To make these brownies sugar-free, make sure your dark chocolate is sugar-free, and try replacing the granulated sugar with Swerve brand granulated sugar replacement. It tends to be drying, but that may not matter so much in this recipe and may just result in a firmer brownie.
To make the brownies Paleo, replace the granulated sugar 1 for 1 by weight with coconut palm sugar that’s been ground into a somewhat finer consistency. Otherwise, it might not all dissolve in the brownies during baking and leave them a bit gritty.