For me brownies are just like muffins, a dessert that is not fancy but simple and delicious so it can be perfect with your afternoon tea or coffee or for breakfast with a glass of milk (almond for me but any will do!). But brownies can be also really, really sweet and full of butter and refined sugar so not really a healthy breakfast or a treat.
It’s interesting how when you stop eating refined sugar (or drastically reduce), your body doesn’t crave those intense sweetness in desserts any more. On the contrary, you can not stand when something is too sweet and if you take a bite of a dessert like that, it just makes your face grimace in a similar way like if you bite into a very sour lemon or something. Your body says “no, I don’t like that!”. And this coming from a person that just a bit more than a year ago was eating Turkish baklavas (and those are sweet!!) like there is no tomorrow! 🙂
Once you start replacing white refined sugar with natural sweeteners like maple or agave syrup or coconut sugar, you’ll notice how desserts made with them actually taste better, they are not overly sweet so sugar doesn’t mask the flavor of other ingredients.
Believe me, I still crave desserts and treats as that’s such an important part of life (I hope you agree!) but just not sickly sweet ones. I really enjoy trying to make desserts recipes healthier but still indulgent and delicious. That’s how I came up with this one, I wanted to make Chocolate Pumpkin brownies but with no refined sugar and butter and I tried few versions until I found the one I really liked!
I used my favorite almond butter but don’t worry if you are not used to using it, believe me, it’s so easy to make and much cheaper that when you buy it in the health food stores. That easy recipe is already on the blog so have a look here.
To be honest with you, first I tried to make these brownies with no eggs as I thought it would be cool if the recipe would be also for vegans and people with egg allergy but that didn’t really turned out as planned. I mean, they were still good but the texture was all wrong and they were way too crumbly. But feel free to experiment if you want and maybe replace eggs with flax seeds + water to make it egg-less and vegan.
There are no many ingredients and all is done in less than an hour. To make the brownies even more delicious, I topped them with candied walnuts so don’t miss those, they add an extra crunch and are so yummy!
Recipe in English:
- ½ cup pumpkin puree (store-bough or just cook about 250 g of pumpkin chopped in cubes, when soft, remove the water and blend to get puree)
- ½ cup almond butter (store-bough or see on the blog under "Vegan" how to make almond butter, for ½ cup butter you'll need 200 g almonds)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp raw cacao
- ⅓ cup spelt flour (or all purpose flour)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- For topping:
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
- pinch of salt
- Note: 1 cup = 250 ml
- Instead of almond butter, you can use cashew butter, I tried it out and it works fine.
- Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). Prepare 20 x 20 cm / 8 x 8 inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl combine pumpkin puree, almond butter, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir with a whisk until combined.
- Stir in flour, cacao, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Transfer into prepared baking dish.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes (don't over-bake), remove from the oven and let it cool on room temperature.
- While the brownies are baking in the oven, prepare caramelised walnuts for the topping.
- In a pan combine whole pecans, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt and stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes until they start to lightly caramelize. Remove from the fire and let them cool.
- Once they are cooled down, cut the brownies using a long knife and top them with candied pecans. Enjoy!
Recipe in Croatian / Recept na hrvatskom:
- ½ salice pirea od bundeve (kupljenog ili skuhanog od oko 250 g bundeve)
- ½ salice bademovog maslaca (kupljenog ili potrazite na blogun pod "Vegan" kako ga napraviti kod kuce, trebat ce vam 200 g badema)
- ½ salice javorovog sirupa
- 2 jaja
- 1 zlicica vanilin ekstrakta
- 1-2 zlice sirovog kakaa
- ⅓ salice pirovog (ili drugog) brasna
- 1 zlicica soda bikarbone
- malo cimeta
- malo soli
- Za posipanje
- 1 salica oraha
- 2 zlice javorovog sirupa
- 1 zlica kokosovog ulja (ili maslaca)
- prstohvat soli
- Napomena: 1 salice = 250 ml
- Umjesto bademovog maslaca mozete koristiti maslac od indijskih oracica.
- Zagrijte pecnicu na 175 C. Oblozite 20 x 20 cm kalup papirom za pecenje.
- U vecoj posudi pomijesajte pire od bundeve, maslac od badema, jaja, javorov sirup i vaniliju dok se sve dobro ne sjedini.
- Umijesajte brasno, kakao, sodu bikarbonu, cimet i sol. Rasporedite smjesu u pripremljeni kalup.
- Pecite oko 20-25 min (nemojte prepeci!) i kad je peceno, ostavite da se ohladi.
- Dok se browniji peku, pripremite orascice za posipanje. U tavi pomijesajte pekane ili orahe, javorov sirup, kokosovo ulje i malo soli i przite na laganoj vatri 10-minuta dok se blago karameliziraju. Maknite s vatre i ostavite da se ohlade.
- Razrezite brownije na kocke i posipajte pripremljenim karameliziranim orasima. Dobar tek!
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Natasa | My daily sourdough bread says
Oh, Lili, you just woke up my taste buds and the memories of Greece where I ate brownies everyday, they were so good. I haven’t even tried making them since then. But your recipe!! I’ve never like brownie recipes with tons of sugar either, so your recipe is on my favorite recipes list 🙂
Do you think I could use any gluten-free flour instead of spelt? Probably yes 🙂 I will try it and let you know 🙂
Will the butternut pumpkin work?
Wish you a nice day,
Dear Natasa, thank you so much for your sweet comment! There is just a little quantity of flour that goes in these brownies (1/3 cup) so I’m sure you could use some other gluten-free flour instead of spelt. Butternut pumpkin should work great! 🙂
Hey dear Lili,
I love your blog and you recipes. I always look first at your site when I want to make something new.
i have one littLe question about this brownies: do you think it will work with raw avocado instead of pumpkin puree?
Keep up great work
Greetings from slovenia
Hello dear Brigita, thank you very much for your kind words and for following my work! It means a lot to me! 🙂 Instead of avocado I would suggest to try replacing pumpkin puree with apple puree that you can easily make yourself by just cooking some apples until soft and than blending them to get a puree. That is much more similar in texture and also the taste would work well. Let me know if you give it a try! Have a great day, Lili <3
Thanks for your answer. I Ve been thinking about apple puree as well. I’ll let you know.
GReat day to you too.
Thank you Brigita! <3