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Grain-free Brownies

March 18, 2013



Hello World, and apologies for my lengthy absence. I’ve been a busy bee and frankly, haven’t had the energy to make and photograph anything that extraordinary. Bloggin’ ‘aint easy! But alas I’ve returned, and with some not-as-sinful chocolatey goodness for your ogling enjoyment.

This weekend, Scott and I hosted a small dinner party at our house. And since we don’t have an actual dining table, but rather a two-seater Ikea island, we decided to serve a bunch of small dishes and finger food. Amongst the delights were my Sriracha Deviled Eggs, Kale Dip, some Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms (recipe coming soon!), and of course the requisite cheese selection. And let me add, that the Cheesemonger at Downtown Cheese in Reading Terminal Market made an amazing recommendation with the Gratte Paille. Its a triple-cream with a little bloomy bite, and it just gets better and better the longer you leave it out. This stuff gets so gooey and creamy that its rind basically becomes a serving bowl and you can just get all in there with a cracker and go at it. Needless to say, I went at it. Sorry Paleo Gods.

But enough about cheese (never enough!), and onto the chocolate. I got this recipe for grain-free brownies from Things My Belly Likes. They’re made using ground up chestnuts and dark chocolate, and sweetened with just a touch of honey. I find that chocolate makes for a really easy paleo-ish dessert option, since the good stuff really doesn’t need to be that sweet. These brownies are really pretty fudgey and with just a tad of sea salt sprinkled on top, you have a winning dessert. All my non-paleo friends gobbled them up!

A note about the chestnuts: I’ve recently turned into a huge fan of them. I discovered that our local Asian grocery store (and surprisingly, Superfresh now has these too!) carries these great snack-sized bags of roasted and peeled chesnuts, for like, a buck. They’re so delicious, low in fat, and you save yourself the pain of trying to peel them. Literally a pain; I spent the night before Thanksgiving last year peeling chestnuts with my sister, and our nail beds took a beating.

Oky doky. Then without further ado, here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Grain-free Brownies (makes 16)

  • 14 large chestnuts, roasted and peeled
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsps honey
  • 3oz dark chocolate
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • sea salt (optional)

Grind the chestnuts to a mealy paste using a food processor. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and sieve in the cocoa powder. Stir to combine, getting out as many lumps as you can.

Melt the butter, honey and chocolate together in the microwave until smooth; Give it about 1 minute, then stir to help things melt more. Zap it again if you need to, being careful not to let the chocolate burn. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Add the egg yolks to the melted chocolate mixture, one at a time, beating them in to turn the mix glossy.

Pour the chocolate mix into the chestnut mix and stir until combined.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold into the chocolate batter and then spoon into a greased or lined 8in x 8in baking tray (I like to lay two criss-crossed pieces of aluminum foil into the pan, then spray that with nonstick spray-it makes it really easy to pull the brownies out of the pan to cool faster). Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes until firm. Sprinkle with some sea salt if you like. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

ImageAdorable baby chestnut faces

17 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2013 12:27 pm

    Seeing those baby chestnut faces (which amuse and horrify me in equal measure) has kinda dimmed my love of chestnuts 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the recipe and yes, there is NEVER enough discussion of cheese, Cat.

    • March 18, 2013 1:28 pm

      Haha! They’re so cute I kinda don’t wanna eat them!
      Thanks for the awesome recipe, these were a hit! I’m already thinking up ways to modify them, perhaps add in some raspberry puree or dark chocolate ganache (or both?!).

  2. March 18, 2013 11:17 pm

    definitely a must try!


  3. March 19, 2013 8:29 am

    Reblogged this on gracebickford.

  4. March 19, 2013 6:02 pm

    Reblogged this on La guinda de birlibirloque.

  5. March 19, 2013 9:55 pm

    Interesting idea!

  6. March 20, 2013 12:33 am

    This sounds like a great idea.. I love chestnuts..and I think a brownie would do great with them. Your brownies look rich and fudgey.

    I always hold back on using chestnuts because I’m too lazy to peel them. They can be really tough! I’ll look out for the peeled kinds the next time.

  7. March 26, 2013 9:21 am

    Hi, I have nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogging Award!
    Read more at:

  8. April 22, 2013 7:22 pm

    This looks very good! I will make these for sure! Vist my blog at I share recipes for dogs!

  9. May 10, 2013 6:09 pm

    can’t wait to try this! It’s a very creative way to make gluten-free brownies 🙂

  10. Belinda permalink
    May 22, 2013 10:04 pm

    Hi, could you replace the chestnuts with almonds and if so could you give me a cup or weight quantity to match.
    Thanks, Belinda

  11. Kelly permalink
    July 9, 2013 9:32 pm

    I love brownies! and I can not wait to make this!.

  12. August 25, 2013 8:56 am

    They look very tasty, chocolaty things always look yummilicious … I’ll try to make them someday!! You’ve got great recipes on your blog, I feel hungry just looking at them!! 🙂

  13. August 26, 2013 10:34 pm

    So glad I found your blog! Your recipes look really great and I am excited to give some a try! It makes me happy that you “healthify” (is that a word?) them 🙂 So keep doing what you are doing!!!

  14. November 7, 2013 12:00 pm

    These sound amazing! Do the chestnuts come peeled and roasted? I am excited to try this since I have a gluten intolerance! Thanks for sharing!

    • November 7, 2013 12:04 pm

      yep! these chestnuts are all ready to use. You can also find roasted and peeled chestnuts at places like Williams Sonoma but they’re very pricey because they sell them for the holidays. These packets from the Asian supermarket are about $1 a pop!

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