Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

Like all good brownies, these are soft and gooey. The recipe uses ground almonds instead of flour to make it gluten-free, and bananas for natural sweetness and moisture to help cut down on the amount of fat and added sugar required. It is also rich in protein from the nuts and eggs, which help slow down the release of sugar from the chocolate, as well as being good sources of B vitamins that will help put you in a good mood – as if you need extra help with brownies at hand!


Makes 12

100g (4oz) good quality dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids for flavour) for melting plus 50g (2oz) finely chopped into chips

150g (51/2oz) coconut oil, butter or dairy-free margarine suitable for baking, at room temperature

100g (4oz) xylitol (or caster sugar)

2 ripe bananas, mashed

4 large eggs, preferably free-range or organic, beaten

2 tsp vanilla extract (not artificial vanilla flavouring)

150g (51/2oz) ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if necessary)

25g (1oz) cocoa powder

200g (7oz) hazelnuts, chopped


1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 22cm (9in) square baking tin with baking paper.

2 Melt the 100g of chocolate over a bain marie (see page 153, step 1) or in the microwave.

3 Cream the oil, butter or margarine and xylitol until soft and fluffy, then either blend in the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or, to do it by hand: beat in the chocolate, bananas, beaten eggs and vanilla extract then stir in the chocolate chips, ground almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder
and chopped hazelnuts.

4 Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for around 20 minutes or until the mixture no longer wobbles when shaken and the top is just firm to the touch. You don’t want to cook it for too long or the brownies will lose their squidgy quality. Leave to cool then cut into slices for serving.

Cook’s Notes

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free baking powder, wheat-free, dairy-free if you use coconut oil or dairy-free margarine, yeast-free • V • Suitable for freezing • Can be made in advance

From Delicious, Health Sugar Free by Patrick Holford and Fiona McDonald Joyce. With special thanks to Fiona McDonald Joyce for use of these recipes for Holford Health Club members.

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