These tender, gluten free brownies with almond butter are so chocolatey and rely on maple syrup for a hint of natural sweetness. Add almond flour for structure and flavor.
This weekend is the ‘unofficial official’ start to summer in the U.S., though where we currently live it’s felt like perpetual summer for months now. After a long and sunny fall in Morocco we had a month of occasional rain in Northern California and a few brisk and mostly dry winter months back in North Africa before migrating to the desert. On a good day the temperature hovers below 100 F and on those days we go to the park or indulge in an afternoon run. We eat thin cucumbers peeled, chopped, and sprinkled with salt and drizzle tahini sauce over cold bowls of quinoa and beets. We swim, I bake brownies. Endless summer is our new reality.
These brownies scrap the refined sugar and use maple syrup instead, which means you can use less sweet stuff than is typically called for in a more traditional recipe. Maybe because we’re no longer living in North America I find I crave maple syrup even more than I always have: it’s a little tie to our home continent. And it’s also a wonderful addition to baked goods and granola. Though maple syrup is still sugar the fact that it’s high in magnesium, potassium, calcium, and zinc makes me feel good as I whisk it into cake batter (and it’s sweet, so in a substitute for white sugar I can reduce the amount of sweetener needed overall. This is also why I like to use honey in place of white sugar). And, of course, I do love the taste of maple syrup.
This gluten free brownies with almond butter recipe is simple in premise and ingredients with a few small twists: brown the butter, use maple syrup, and scatter a bit of salt over the batter before sliding it into the oven. It’s solid, it’s reliable, it’s just the thing for a summer barbecue. If your summer happens to begin earlier this year, well, that’s just one more reason to bake a batch.
Brownies with Almond Butter
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup maple syrup , or light or dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup almond flour , or ½ cup spelt flour
- Heat the oven to 325°F and line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
- In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, letting it simmer for 3 minutes, then raise heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently and watching so it doesn’t burn, until the butter is slightly brown and smells nutty and fragrant. Pour melted butter into a large bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the maple syrup, cocoa powder, and salt and keep whisking until well combined and smooth.
- Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the almond meal or spelt flour and stir well. Beat vigorously for 40 strokes. Spread batter evenly in the lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake until a tester inserted into the center emerges slightly moist with batter and brownies are set, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a rack.
- Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.