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Best-Ever Brownies Made Gluten Free and Grain Free

Best Ever Brownies Gluten Free

I had a deep desire to make some brownies for my “I Am Not Having A Superbowl Party” Party.

I did not have the energy to throw an all-out event like we usually do (every. single. year.).  Instead, I waited until the day of the game and told my husband to tell whoever wanted to come over to come. But…he had strict instructions to inform them that this was, in fact, most definitely, NOT a Superbowl Party.  In other words? He was informing them to not expect much.  I think the word he used was LowKey.

Please tell me that some of you had a party like this too.

In my mind, when you do not call it a party, you do not have the responsibility of having to be “on”.  I took this to heart – I left my guests to fend for themselves and I was able to watch the entire game, including all of the commercials, and that awesome half-time show. A rare and unusual treat.

But, even though I did not whip up my usual SuperBowl spread, I had an intense craving for chocolate. In my female mind, no football game is complete without chocolate.

These brownies have been taunting me ever since I saw them grace the cover of my February issue of Bon Appetit Magazine with the teaser title “BEST-EVER BROWNIES”.  I am a sucker for a challenge like that. I had to see for myself if these were, indeed, the Best-Ever. But with browned butter (or Browned Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread for my Dairy-Free version) in this recipe, I had a sneaking suspicion that they would be right.

The original recipe is written by Alice Medrich – chocolate expert, cookbook author, and cooking teacher. Her most recent book is Chewy Gooey Crispy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies.  And according to the recipe testers at Bon Appetit: “These are some of the best brownies we’ve ever had-fudgy in the middle and chewy on the outside with a shiny, crackly top. The browned butter adds a rich nutty flavor.”

All I know is that with a few simple substitutions, these brownies can be easily adapted to be gluten-free and grain-free. And with a few more substitutions, they can be transformed even farther into a dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free indulgence as well. Even with the substitutions, these brownies are spot-on with Bon Appetit’s review of them. Fudgy. Chewy. Crackly. Nutty. Unbelievable (okay, this last word is mine).

Perfect for your next “Not Really a Party” party.  Or, just the right Valentine treat for the love(s) in your life. I know that my husband and boys will be getting another batch of these on this upcoming day of Love.

Best Ever Brownies Grain Free

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter:

Gluten-Free and Grain-Free

Easily Adapted to be Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, and Nut-Free

Adapted from Alice Medrich, as written in the February Issue of Bon Appetit Magazine


  • 10 Tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces (For Dairy-Free: use equal amount Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread-this browns in it’s own way, still producing a slightly nutty flavor)
  • 1 1/4 cups Coconut Palm Sugar (original recipe calls for sugar)
  • 3/4 cup Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used Rapunzel Organic Cocoa Powder)-spooned into cup to measure, then leveled
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs, chilled (For Egg-Free: use 2 Tablespoons Ground Chia Seeds mixed with 6 Tablespoons HOT water-let sit for 5 minutes to gel)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Almond Flour, such as Honeyville (For Nut-Free: Use equal amount of your favorite Gluten-Free Flour Blend)


1.  Position rack in the bottom third of oven. Preheat to 325 degrees. Line 8x8x2 inch metal pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against sides and leaving 2 inch overhang.  Coat foil with generously with coconut oil.

2.  Melt Butter (or, for Dairy-Free, Earth Balance Buttery Spread) over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form on bottom of pan. STIR OFTEN. About 5 minutes.

3.  Remove from heat. Immediate stir in: sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons of water, vanilla, and 1/4 heaping teaspoon of fine sea salt. Stir well to blend. Let sit 5 minutes. Mixture will be very hot.

4.  After 5 minutes, add eggs (or chia mixture) to hot mixture, 1 at a time (or half of chia mixture at a time). Beat vigorously to blend after each addition.

5.  When mixture looks thick and shiny, add your flour choice and stir until blended. 60 vigorous strokes.  Transfer batter to prepared pan.

6.  Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with few moist crumbs attached), about 25-30 minutes.  Cool in pan on rack. Then lift out using foil overhang. Cut into 16 squares.  Store airtight at room temperature.

Best Allergy Free Brownies

I walked away  from these brownies for just a few minutes and my boys decided to have a little photo staging fun of their own. These are their Brownie Soldiers, in line, ready to be devoured.

This post is linked to:

Hearth and Soul Hop

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

  1. On February 7, 2011 Zoe said

    Oh, these look good, Kim! I tried browning Earth Balance (soy-free) once but I don’t think it exactly worked. Anyway. What did you think of that issue, overall? I only flipped through it so I must have missed these brownies. I’m really keen to check out Alice Medrich’s cookie book; I’m waiting to borrow it from my library. Your sons’ food styling is cute, by the way. 😉

  2. On February 7, 2011 Erin Elberson said

    Oh, Kim, not really a party! I love it!
    We also have a huge Superbowl party. This year, I had a reprieve. My husband had to work. I was free!!
    These look fabulous, and I adore the Brownie Soldiers. I wonder if I could use half the butter and half yogurt. I’m sure it would lower the decadence factor, but it may be a worthwhile substitute…
    I’ll let you know if I try it! I made chocolate chip cookies this weekend with a combo of coconut flour and almond flour, and stevia and coconut sugar. They were excellent, and you are absolutely right, the coconut palm sugar gives a unique molasses-y, nutty flavor.

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Erin, “Not Really a Party” parties would go right along with those “Not Really a Recipe” recipes that you do! 😉
      Glad you got a reprieve this year, too! Sometimes the break is so so nice!
      And I think that yogurt would go great in these as a replacement for half of the butter. I think it will make them even fudgier, though/ 😉
      Have a great trip!!

  3. On February 7, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

    Zoe, I thought the issue was okay, overall. These were, by far, the best thing in them since I have to look at the magazine as what I can easily convert to be gf for my family. These were on the cover so I was looking for the recipe in the magazine. As far as browning the Earth Balance, I do not know if it technically “browns” per se, but it does give it a nuttier flavor, for sure. I just had to make SURE to stir it the entire time otherwise I could see it going bad really quickly. 😉 The Earth Balance does work in these though for sure. And using the Coconut Palm sugar gives it an even nuttier deep flavor!

  4. On February 7, 2011 InTolerantChef said

    That last photo is actually really great. The brownies look moist and chewy and yummy!

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      LOL! Thanks Intolerant Chef! My kiddos were so excited that this one made the post! 😉

  5. On February 7, 2011 Shirley @ gfe said

    I agree that when it’s not really a party, it totally takes the pressure off. Why didn’t I think of that for our Valentine’s Day party?!?! I need some pressure taken off! LOL I think I’m adding this to the menu right now, and oh how I love your boys and the brownie soldiers. Brilliant, I say!


    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Shirley, you so need to rename your Valentine’s Party! IT would take so much of the stress away!!!! 😉 This is a super easy recipe so it would be a great addition to the menu! I will let the boys know that you liked their brownie display! LOL 😉

  6. On February 7, 2011 Jeanine said

    YUM! Those brownies look great. Isn’t it amazing how many different kinds of brownies there are, and your mood at the time decides which kind is “the one”. These look great, and love what your boys did with them too. Cute!

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Jeanine! I think I very rarely make the same brownie recipe twice in a row. However, I do think I will be making this one again for SURE!! It is crazy how many different things you can do to a brownie. LOL

  7. On February 7, 2011 Lexie said

    Wowzie! I am a sucker for a good brownie and these look REAL good. I’ve been drooling over the cover shot on Bon Appetit. Glad someone adapted the recipe! : )

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hey Lex! I figured someone had to try and make that recipe gluten-free (and allergen friendly). Just glad that they lived up to their claim. They are dangerously rich though, so one is enough for me at a time (I cannot believe I just said that about a brownie)!

  8. On February 7, 2011 Alisa Fleming said

    Oh these look and sound amazing Kim! Darn it for the egg and almond allergies floating around this house! So happy that you got to enjoy the game completely.

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Alisa, you should try them with regular flour and the chia egg replacement. My girlfriend just did this and they were awesome!!

  9. On February 7, 2011 Maggie said

    Kim! I was just thinking today that I didn’t have a brownie recipe on my blog yet. Well now I’ll just write a post directing everyone here 🙂 These do look unbelievable – I like using that word to describe dessert. That means it’s usually preceded by a swear word (in my case) and that means the dessert is REALLY REALLY REALLY GOOD 🙂 Glad you got the chill yesterday. xo

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Maggie! It is funny because as i was posting this recipe, I realized I had no other brownie recipe either. And I was shocked with myself since I make brownies a lot. Too funny that your “Unbelievable” is usually preceded by a curse word. After reading that, I realized that is often true in my case too!! LOL

  10. On February 7, 2011 Tia said

    Party? Yeah, we don’t have cable. Max is sick, again. Spent most of the day working and having a sick boy sleep on me. Today too. Nope. No party, here. Plus, there was too much drama around the whole Superbowl thingy anyway. Personal stuff dating back, about 35 years, I think. Long story. Let’s just say, I’m glad it all over.

    On to more important stuff. Brownies! I’ve been feeling sorry for myself, so I think I might need to make these tonight. 😉


    PS – Please don’t mention that I talked about Superbowl drama anywhere on my blog (comments). Because of who reads it, it would start more drama. But just had to say something somewhere, you know.

    Sorry I wasn’t funny this time. Um…. picture me with the Groucho Marx glasses on with the eye brows and the cigar. “Just flew in from Oakland, and boy, are my arms tired. Ba-dump, bump.” There. Did that do it?

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Tia, phew! If you had not finished up with that Groucho Marx line, I would have been hopping on a plane to check on you! You had me really worried for a moment!! I promise that Mum’s the word about SuperBowl drama on your blog. I hope you are feeling better now. I need your off-beat humor to keep me feeling like everything is right in the world.

  11. On February 7, 2011 Renee said

    Great food styling by the boys!

    No football here. Hubby went snowboarding – “best day of the season” – with four of his “ski wives”. Fine by me, I had plenty to do and don’t care to entertain much. Just a normal Sunday here.

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Renee, I would have loved to join your hubby on the slopes! How fun!! Glad you got a little time to yourself though!! And thanks for the props to my boys food styling. Thinking I should involve them more in my photo shoots. Maybe I would some more creative pictures!

  12. On February 7, 2011 Heidi said

    Sam absolutely loved the brownie soldiers (and Luke fainted just from seeing a picture of something chocolate, LOL!). These look delish Kim and I am so down with the “not really a party” thing, well, I’m learning to be anyway (I was an event planner in my former “employed” life, so some things die hard). 😉

    Can’t wait to make these!!


    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Heidi, glad my boys could excite yours with their food play! LOL The “not really a party” thing is an awesome way to go if you are looking for a way to eliminate a little stress (hint, hint)! 😉

  13. On February 7, 2011 Ariana Anderson said

    Wow! These look amazing! Love how you adapted them even further making them refined sugar-free (love coconut sugar!) and dairy-free! Yeah! It’s so nice to have recipes you don’t need to make changes too. Though I was thinking, do you think you could replace half the butter” with applesauce of something? Or maybe they wouldn’t be so great? Hmm…I just am afraid to make them because they look so good and I would probably eat them all since I’m the only one who eats “my way”. So I was thinking less ‘butter” might be Or maybe just half it. Anyway, sorry for rambling… these look amazing! Love Ari

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks Ariana! I bet you could totally replace half of the butter for applesauce or even plain yogurt for a lower fat version of them. I think that would make them even more fudgy! I am just glad that these got devoured by my family and friends so that I did not HAVE to eat them all. ;0)

  14. On February 8, 2011 Sophie said

    Hahahahahhhaha,..I like the picture of the brownies of yoyr boys a lot!! Lovely!!

    Your brownies look easy to make & must taste fab!


    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks so much, Sophie!! By the way, left a comment on that yummy looking banana shake of yours but I it never showed up!

  15. On February 8, 2011 glutenfreeforgood said

    I love it that you had the “low-key” super bowl party! I was a couple of notches below you with the anti-super-bowl-asleep-before-it-was-over party. =) Your low-key guests were lucky “party” goers to have those little brownie gems awaiting them. That dominoes (AKA brownie soldiers) photo is incredible. You are a creative one, that’s for sure. And the brownies look like an easy dessert for any party, “low-key” or fancy. I’ll definitely be saving this recipe for later.

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Wow, Melissa!! I like your version even better “anti-super-bowl-asleep-before-it-was-over-party”! That is impressive! Thanks for the props on the boys photo staging. I am inclined to let them do more of my food styling from now on! 😉

  16. On February 8, 2011 Christy said

    We just watched with my “little kids” and had a really nice time – laid back is so nice sometimes. I am sure your guests were just fine with it! The brownies really do look “the best ever” and your boys have an eye for food styling! Thank you for sharing this with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop!

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Christy! Yes, I know my guests probably liked the fact that it was low key. No pressures for anyone that way! 😉 Thanks for letting me share the brownies with Hearth and Soul this week!

  17. On February 8, 2011 carrie @ gingerlemon said

    yumm! looks like we were on a similar wavelength this weekend!! 🙂 I made brownies & posted them toO! LOVE the brownie soldiers pic! too cute!!

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Carrie, that is too funny that we posted similar recipes at the same time!! Yours look delish!! Chocolate must have been on our minds!!

  18. On February 8, 2011 Laurel said

    I love, love, love the not party thing. I have two Alice Medrich books (Bittersweet and The Art of Low Fat Chocolate or something) and haven’t made one thing from either. These browned butter brownies are the perfect excuse not only to use one of her recipes but to open up that humongoid can of ghee my husband bought me. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Laurel! You will have to try one of Alice Medrich’s recipes and let me know what you think! I have not gotten her cookbook yet because I was not sure how easily her recipes would adapt to gluten free. And these would be amazing with Ghee!! Just amazing! YUM!

  19. On February 8, 2011 Caneel said

    These look soooo fabulous! I’m with you on that challenge — I’ll have to try them for myself and see if they are the best, esp. since I think I already found one! But browned butter? (Always a good taste!) This may be it …

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Caneel, thanks so much!! Funny how many different ways we can make brownies. I very rarely make brownies the same way twice. But the browned butter in these do really make for a great treat!

  20. On February 8, 2011 Gluten Free Diva said

    I have all the ingredients, calling my name, teasing me, “Ellen, please, come and make Kim’s brownies, now, now, now!!!”. But then I reply “But I just made a whole batch of Elana’s Chocolate Chip Cookies and I can’t stop eating them, so would you mind, brownie recipe, if I put you on the list of MUST MAKE THIS RECIPE VERY SOON?!”. Yes, that’s the conversation I just had, in my head.

    Kim – these look and sound fantastic. One can never have too many brownie recipes, that’s my motto. I’m loving coconut sugar these days. In fact, I made Elana’s cookies (which I just blogged about) with 1/2 coconut sugar and about a few drops of stevia. I’m wondering if I could do something similar with your recipe. What do you think? Could I replace 1/2 of the coconut sugar with stevia or would it change the texture too drastically? Hmmm, I’ll have to experiment. In any case, thank you for a lovely recipe. Also, know that my superbowl sunday was so low key that it didn’t consist of more than my hubs texting me from his superbowl party with his brothers and letting me know when it was halftime so that I could watch the Black-Eyed Peas perform!

    xoxo, Ellen

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Ellen!! LOL you are cracking me up! That is the funniest inner dialogue EVER! Hopefully, the brownies feelings were not hurt with you telling them they went on the list for making them soon! And I so agree with you that coconut sugar adds a great taste! I really think that you could trade out some of the sugar with the stevia drops. And you are right…you DID have a lowkey superbowl. LOL


  21. On February 8, 2011 Gigi said

    Oh, heavens! These are gorgeous – photography is amazing – food styling is excellent! You won me over, I’m making them…RIGHT. NOW. No kidding. 🙂 Thanks for reworking this recipe so that we can all enjoy the Best Brownies Ever! 🙂

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks Gigi!! Hope you like them! They are really decadent and a bit dangerous ! ;0)

  22. On February 8, 2011 Christine said

    I have definitely bookmarked these – they look so fudgy and delicious!

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks Christine! Hope you enjoy them!
      By the way, left a comment on that beautiful polenta pizza of yours, but likely in span….

  23. On February 9, 2011 Nancy @ TSP said

    Kim – I could definitely use some Best Ever Brownies. They look moist and chocolaty–just how I like them. I haven’t used coconut sugar yet but will now have to go out and find some. Thanks for including the other substitutes.

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Nancy, you have to try coconut sugar. It really lends such a nutty sweet flavor. I really like it in many recipes…Moist and chocolatey is how I love my brownies too!

  24. On February 9, 2011 Melanie said

    These look great! We also had a low key superbowl party…I enjoy them so much better when there isn’t all the fuss. I’ve made so many different kinds of brownies and there is always room for more! Yours is next on my list to try! 🙂

    • On February 9, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Melanie, I so agree with you on how much better a gathering is when there is no fuss involved. I am all about low key entertaining these days! And these brownies were perfect for something just like this.

  25. On February 10, 2011 Sophie said

    My blog thaught it was spam & but I approved it & now, it sgows on the comments!

    Thanks for commenting!

  26. On February 11, 2011 Sarena said

    Well they look perfect! I need to get the coconut sugar. It sounds incredible. Love the soldier photo! My boys would do that too.

  27. On February 15, 2011 Diane-thewholegang said

    I keep circling these brownies but every time I come back I’m afraid to make them. I’ll eat every single one myself. I need a party for sure.

  28. On March 16, 2011 Alta said

    Wow these look good! I am a sucker for a good brownie, but i love that these are without refined sugar. Gonna have to try!

  29. On August 15, 2011 ratih said

    Hi Kim, I tried baking those brownies as soon as I found them while circling u’r blog and successfully Failed 🙂 . Now after the 4th trial& still failed, decided to cut the experiment and talk to you, just maybe your willing to help.
    There’s no vegan butter in this country so I give it a go with margarine and reduce to only 9 Tbsp. Since we’re allergic to nuts so I replace almond flour to GF flour (1st attempt was self mix GF flour+cassava flour (by experience this will add the chewiness)). The batter was so thick & sticky very hard to transfer to baking sheet. I was wondering how’s your batter consistency?
    When I bake it oil is boiling & coming out of the batter, making it dry on the top and extremely oily on the bottom, why is it so? Can you help me?
    Failed for 3 times I decided to use cocoa butter today, skip the cassava, and only GF flour add 1 Tbsp applesauce and chocochips. The result was even more terrible than the previous three. It doesn’t even look like brownie more like a thick “fried” cookie.
    Can you help me out here Kim? Dying to try those brownies. Thanks

  30. On June 15, 2012 Amanda said

    Wow, I need to make these! Do they really come out with a shiny, crackly type like traditional brownies? I have been on the hunt for a grain-free recipe that could achieve this…Also, could I use parchment paper to line the pan instead of aluminum foil?

    • On June 18, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Amanda! The brownies actually do get a shiny crackly top when they are done. They are very rich and fudgy…which is how we like our brownies over here. And the parchment paper should work perfectly instead of aluminum. I have done them both ways!! Hope you enjoy them!

  31. On August 17, 2012 Skyesmom said

    Oh my gosh these turned out sooooooooo good. Perfectly fudgy and chewy, even after a week in the fridge. My stubborn, old-school-brownie fanatic husband, who has steadfastly refused to embrace my grain-free lifestyle, and who takes box-mix brownies in his lunch pail to work every day actually ate them. And liked them! Score!! He wasn’t overly fond of the browned butter flavor so I’ll skip that step next time, but otherwise these were a resounding success. Thank you for making my husband a teensy bit healthier 🙂

    • On August 17, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Yay! Skyesmom!! That is the most awesome news! And I love when we can covert even the stubborn ones in our family to realize that the gluten free lifestyle is not so bad! 😀 Thank you so much for coming back and letting me know how much you liked them! These are always the best type of comments! Have an awesome weekend!

  32. On May 5, 2013 Amber said

    I made these with a few changes: used 1/3 cup granulated maple sugar and 1/3 cup honey for the sweetener, and used 2 tablespoons coconut flour in place of the almond flour. They definitely fall in the “dark chocolate” category with the lower amount of sweetener, but they are delicious! Very rich – a little bite will do!

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