Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fudgy Double Walnut Brownies (Gluten-Free)

I was on a walnut roll after whipping up those Walnut Gougères the other day, and I still had some of the goodies that the California Walnut Commission (@CaWalnuts) had sent me to play with! I have to say these brownies were the crowning glory of the four recipes they sent, both because it's baked and because it's dark chocolate! They are also a fairly healthy gift (or treat for you!) - not only do you get all the goodness of  walnuts, including the polyunsaturated fats, Omega-3s, antioxidants and a wealth of minerals, there is no added sugar! Instead, these bittersweet, fudgy bars use pureed dates and the inherent sweetness in the chocolate to transform into dessert. They are also gluten free (a scant amount of cocoa, quinoa flour and finely chopped walnuts fill the "dry" role), and easily made vegan with coconut oil and egg replacer for the butter and eggs. They're so sinful though, could never guess these were nutritious!

If you decide to create edible gifts for the holidays (either to save money or add a personal flair), get the kids in the kitchen and make some memories! If you don't have kids at home, get your friends together instead and have a "bake night" and "sweet swap". Taste testing is always encouraged - whether over some coffee or a freshly opened bottle of wine (FYI, a nice Malbec or Sangiovese is a great brownie accompaniment - thanks ENOFYLZ Wine Blog!). These activities make holiday food preparation more practical, fun and meaningful. Of course, if you are working with a common allergen like nuts, peanuts or wheat, make sure your guests are aware and can take adequate steps to stay safe!

When wrapping your goodies (including any of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats you try), look at the choices you have!! For cookies, I like either good ol' paper bags or "grind your own coffee" bags. For larger batches of baked goodies, pans of brownies and biscuits (like
Walnut Gougères!), or cookies that are delicate (i.e. shortbreads), there are tons of places willing to help you out with decorative, practical storage and shipping options. Near me, a place called Creative Bag Co. Ltd. has hooked me up in the past with both the stereotypical "Chinese take-out boxes" (which, FYI, I have never received Chinese take out in!) and some other "bakery" boxes. Fancier boxes are available at a couple online retailers. Bulk food retailers and dollar stores are other good places to look for a deal around this time!

This is what the CWC says about these (obviously) fudgy, dense, delectably nutty bars:

Guaranteed to please any sweet tooth, this gluten-free brownie recipe packs a nutritious punch in every tasty bite. The addition of dates and quinoa flour add to the fudgy texture, while significantly raising the bar for a scrumptious treat that’s full of goodness.
Freeze for easy storage; once thawed, store these brownies in air-tight containers to keep them tasting fresh!

Fudgy Walnut Brownies (Gluten-Free)
Makes 10
10 dates, pitted   
1 ½ tbsp hot coffee   
3.5 oz 70% chocolate (I used Green & Black's)    
3 tbsp salted butter   
1 egg   
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder   
1 tbsp quinoa flour   
¾ cup California walnut pieces, divided   
2 tbsp chocolate chips or icing sugar   
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
  3. In the food processor, blend dates and coffee into a smooth paste.
  4. Melt the butter and chocolate together, then process into the date paste.
  5. Add the egg and process until fully incorporated.
  6. Add cocoa powder, quinoa flour and ¼ cup of the walnuts and mix in until smooth and the nuts are ground.
  7. Add the remaining walnuts and pulse just to chop them.
  8. Spread into prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips (if using).
  11. Place immediately into the freezer for 30 minutes, then move to the fridge and chill overnight.
  12. If using icing sugar, sift sugar over the top of the brownies using your favourite holiday stencil.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 185.8
Total Fat: 15.2 g
Cholesterol: 27.7 mg
Sodium: 39.3 mg
Total Carbs: 14.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g
Protein: 3.3 g


  1. These look amazing! And I love that they are GF! My coworkers will love these!

  2. These look SUPER yummy!! Thanks for kicking off the Gluten Free Fridays party this weekend! WOOT! We have some awesome recipes and they just keep coming!! So....Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) Cindy from


Thanks for the feedback!