Easy Fudgy Brownies (Dairy and Gluten Free)

Fudgy Dairy Free Brownies | A Sweet Spoonful I officially have one more month of maternity leave left. A big part of me is excited to go back to the office and be around other adults — to wear real clothes and eat lunch in relative peace. The other part of me is, of course, worried I’ll be sad to leave Frances and the reliable and awfully sweet domestic routine we’ve established together: Walking the neighborhood looking at spring flowers and early morning chai and mat time. This past month Frances has become more wakeful and alert; she spends more time playing in her little chair and even laughed for the first time! But this increased wakefulness has also meant much less snoozing time and more fussing, which can often make for a pretty long day.

I remember while I was home with Oliver a few years ago feeling a heightened sense of anxiety with each tough moment, as if the current state of things would be a permanent part of our reality. Baby doesn’t stop crying from 5 – 6pm? Clearly you’ll never have a quiet dinner again. Baby’s now waking up three times each night. You”ll likely never sleep again. Of course now we have the perspective to know that Oliver is pretty decent evening company and sleeps through the night just fine — most kids do, eventually. If one thing’s a guarantee about parenthood, it’s that nothing remains the same.

Lately Frances hasn’t been napping well during the day. She’ll nap a bit in the carseat or carrier, but not in her crib. With Oliver, I would’ve been really worried about this, wondering if he’d ever nap, reading all the sleep books, googling like a crazy lady at 3 am, lamenting the fact that his brain wasn’t developing during those apparently critical sleep hours. Today Sam and I both look at each other with eyes that say, well what can you do?!
Fudgy Dairy Free Brownies | A Sweet Spoonful I’m reading a short book called It’s Easier than You Think: The Buddhist Guide to Happiness and, in it, Sylvia Boorstein talks about the difference between pain and suffering (hang with me here!) Pain is something we’ll all experience – it’s the bad stuff in life that we just can’t control (sickness, accidents, tragedy). Suffering, on the other hand, is our reaction to the pain. This we can control.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in relation to motherhood and finding the comparison quite powerful: each day will bring new challenges whether they relate to sleep, breastfeeding, or staying healthy. But instead of letting these things unravel me or allowing my mind to race and reel about what it means for the long run, I just tell myself we’re just getting through today. I don’t feel badly about the fact that Frances takes her afternoon nap in the carseat even though I know it’d be best for her if she’d sleep in her crib. It’s the second best option, and the one that works for right now. Tomorrow may be different… but that’s not up to me.

Those of you that know me well know that I love brownies. Because I haven’t been eating dairy lately (as we think Frances has an allergy), I’ve been slowly adapting my favorite treats so we can all enjoy them, and after a few attempts these brownies are a home run. They’re dairy and gluten free, have a super rich chocolatey flavor and are even better the second day. I hope you all like them.

Easy Fudgy Brownies (Dairy and Gluten Free)

Easy Fudgy Brownies (Dairy and Gluten Free)

  • Yield: 9 large or 16 small brownies
  • Prep time: 10 mins
  • Cook time: 30 mins
  • Total time: 40 mins

These brownies are super chocolaty but they do have a relatively tender crumb so I don’t recommend adding nuts. As for the oil, if you don’t have coconut oil at home, I imagine that olive oil would work just fine and if you’re looking to make these completely vegan, substitute flax eggs for the whole eggs called for here, and you’ll be good to go.


2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup (50g) almond meal
1/2 cup (40g) dairy-free unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut oil, plus more for the pan
8 ounces dark (at least 60%) dairy-free chocolate
3/4 cup (125g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (75g) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, beaten


Heat the oven to 350°F and prepare the pan: Line an 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper, and grease the parchment paper and pan with a little coconut oil.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

Take 2 ounces of the dark chocolate and coarsely chop it. Set it aside. Take the other 6 ounces and add it to a small saucepan along with the coconut oil. Over low heat, warm them, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted, about 2 minutes.

Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl. Whisk both sugars and vanilla extract into the chocolate mixture, stirring vigorously until combined. Fold in the eggs.

Add the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Fold in the 2 ounces chopped chocolate. The batter will be quite thick —it won’t be loose and thin like many traditional brownie batters.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, and use a rubber spatula to smooth it into the pan in an even layer.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, or until the edges are set and no longer jiggly. The tops of the brownies will still feel soft; they’ll firm up as they cool.

Let the brownies cool completely before slicing, at least 2 hours.

Slice, serve, and store: Using the parchment paper as a handle, lift the cooled brownies up out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice. Leftover brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


  1. Susan

    Wonderful post...........yes, there is a difference between Pain and Suffering. Glad you found that book. Chers.

    1. megang

      Thanks, Susan :)

  2. Nadja

    My experience the second time around was exactly the same and overall the second child was so much more fussy but I was still much calmer. With the first, i was always looking for rhyme and reason and a pattern that if positive could be repeated and if negative could be avoided. Second time around while i am still not the biggest fan of the first year, I do know that it passes quickly and everything is indeed just a phase! No more looking up growth spurts or magic solutions, just rolling with it. And: Asking for help and taking care of myself better than I did with just the one!

    1. megang

      I agree, Nadja. I'm actually not a huge fan of the first year either - it just gets better and better the more they can interact, and you do realize it's just futile trying to find those patterns which is strangely reassuring the second time. Thank you for the comment - and hooray to taking care of yourself better!

  3. Kari Edwards

    What could I sub for dark brown sugar? And can use arrowroot powder instead of corn starch? Need to make these TONIGHT for teacher appreciation day ;)

    1. megang

      Hi, Kari! Hmmm brown sugar is a key ingredient there. Coconut sugar?? I haven't tested it with another sugar so can't say for sure but that should work. Worst case try a turbinado sugar and I'm guessing you'll be ok. Arrowroot should be an ok sub, yes! Enjoy them :)

  4. Sharon Rausch

    I can hear good sound thank you so much for sharing nice post.

  5. Bree

    Any suggestions for a coconut oil substitute? Can I just use vegetable oil or applesauce? Trying to bake for the family with dairy, egg, and coconut allergies…

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