PPS: Best Brownies Ever

This dish is featured as part of my Passover Prep Series – a collection of recipes to enjoy whether you celebrate Passover or not! If this is your first time visiting Cara’s Cravings during the PPS, click here to read more about it.

You may remember a sneak peak of these brownies from a couple weeks ago. My good friend Sophie let me guest-blog them as part of a feature on gluten-free brownies. So what’s the connection between these gluten-free brownies and Passover? When I first discovered the recipe in Nigella Express: Good Food Fast, I noticed how ridiculously rich and fudgy they looked, and that they contained no flour, only almond meal. Thereby making them perfectly passable on Passover. I had some experience with baked goods involving a combination of almond meal and flour, and I knew how much more moist and decadent they were compared to their all-flour counterparts. So I was already giddy with excitement over how good this all-almond-meal-and-bittersweet-chocolate treat was going to taste.

And a treat they certainly are – these butter, nut, and sugar-packed bites are one of those things to be enjoyed in their full-fat form, in moderation of course. Fortunately, they’re so rich that you probably only need a couple bites. (Who am I kidding? “Too rich” doesn’t exist on my palette. But you know, for a normal person, a bite or two will do.) When I served these on Passover, my family not only thought they were the best Passover brownies we’d ever tasted, but the best any kind of  brownie, ever.

Nigella Lawson’s Flourless Brownies
slightly adapted from Nigella Express: Good Food Fast

1 cup (2 sticks) butter*
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate (I use Ghirardelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups almond meal (can be purchased, or you can grind your own in a food processor)
1 cup chopped walnuts (I’ve always omitted these and never felt anything lacking, so these are optional)
pinch of salt (not included in original recipe, but added for good measure!)

Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8×8 square baking dish with parchment paper.

Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and mix in sugar and vanilla with a wooden spoon. Cool for a few minutes, then stir in the eggs and almond meal. Finally, fold in the walnuts, if using.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until just set on top (mine take a little more, about 33 minutes.) Let the brownies cool completely (it doesn’t hurt to make them ahead and refrigerate overnight) before slicing.

*Jews who keep Kosher will separate dairy and meat, so these would not be suitable following a meat meal. If you are going to be a guest at a Seder and you’re not sure what to bring, make sure to ask the host if a dairy-containing dessert is ok. Most Passover desserts are “pareve”, or non-dairy, so that they may be enjoyed after a meat meal. Usually the fat in these desserts would be vegetable or canola oil. I have not tried making these brownies with oil, so I can’t comment on how that would turn out.

But if you’re intrigued by baking with almond meal and you want to make a pareve dessert, I’ve got another recipe for you! This Lemon-Honey Almond Cake is one of my favorites, and that’s coming from a chocolate whore. Almond meal and matzoh meal make for a somewhat gritty yet addicting texture, such as a polenta or cornmeal cake would have. Combined with the lemon-honey glaze, it’s super moist with a Mediterranean flavor somewhat reminiscent of baklava. I’ve made it several times but don’t have my own picture, so you’ll just have to trust me!

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26 Responses to “PPS: Best Brownies Ever”

  1. 1

    denise @ quickies on the dinner table — March 19, 2010 @ 12:51 pm Reply

    I have to agree with your family – I think this recipe kicks serious regular brownie butt!!! I'm practically drooling here :D

  2. 2

    yumventures — March 19, 2010 @ 1:04 pm Reply

    Every time I see your guest post on my blog, I say to myself "I have to make these!" They look so delicious, I can't wait to try them!

  3. 3

    preventionrd — March 19, 2010 @ 1:21 pm Reply

    Ahhh! Those do look like the best brownies ever!! 2 sticks of butter…lalala! Can't have a bad result with that :)Have a great weekend!

  4. 4

    Dawn — March 19, 2010 @ 1:44 pm Reply

    And here I was all excited about making your avocado brownies. These look great too but I can't seem to get myself to splurge with butter. (Only Nutella apparently….)

  5. 5

    Bridget — March 19, 2010 @ 5:32 pm Reply

    Wow, those do look absolutely perfect. Now I want to go visit my gluten-intolerant grandmother and show off all my (well, your) awesome GF baking recipes!

  6. 6

    *Naomi* — March 19, 2010 @ 9:44 pm Reply

    passover friendy!! YAYAYAY! :) I love this passover series you are doing!

  7. 7

    Nicole Chow - HealthyChow.com — March 19, 2010 @ 9:50 pm Reply

    OK, one could swim in the pool of drool that is beneath my mouth right now (sorry, TMI?)! These look insane! I love how dark, dense and moist they look. And I can bet money that they taste even better. I'm speechless… I need a brownie ASAP!Love the cake plate BTW :) And oh yeah, I LOVE gefilte fish…is that odd?

  8. 8

    marla {Family Fresh Cooking} — March 20, 2010 @ 6:14 pm Reply

    I love the use of almond meal in these brownies. The flavor looks huge in the photos! I too love walnuts with my chocolate.Lovin the new banner. Clean and fresh design.

  9. 9

    J — March 22, 2010 @ 10:47 pm Reply

    hmm, replacing butter with oil will probably make the brownies a bit softer, IMHO. :)

  10. 10

    grace — March 24, 2010 @ 10:22 am Reply

    yep, i always scoff when someone says 'oh, this is too rich for me.' utter nonsense. :)gorgeous brownies, cara–they seem perfectly dense and chewy and chocolatey. i'll take care of the share of anyone who finds them too rich… :)

  11. 11

    hoosier — April 8, 2010 @ 5:55 pm Reply

    I made these and the raspberry bars for my family seder and they were a big hit! My dad brought them in to his office and someone (not Jewish) even asked for the recipe! I had a lot of trouble with sticking to the paper, and not really staying in true squares though. Still tasted great!

  12. 12

    *Naomi* — April 5, 2011 @ 1:17 am Reply

    passover friendy!! YAYAYAY! :) I love this passover series you are doing!

  13. 13

    grace — April 5, 2011 @ 1:17 am Reply

    yep, i always scoff when someone says 'oh, this is too rich for me.' utter nonsense. :)gorgeous brownies, cara–they seem perfectly dense and chewy and chocolatey. i'll take care of the share of anyone who finds them too rich… :)

  14. 14

    Dawn — April 5, 2011 @ 1:17 am Reply

    And here I was all excited about making your avocado brownies. These look great too but I can't seem to get myself to splurge with butter. (Only Nutella apparently….)

  15. 15

    denise @ quickies on the dinne — April 5, 2011 @ 1:17 am Reply

    I have to agree with your family – I think this recipe kicks serious regular brownie butt!!! I'm practically drooling here :D

  16. 16

    Alleram — December 8, 2011 @ 10:44 pm Reply

    I think this has too much butter!  My batter was pretty oily and after baking, was moist but somewhat greasy.  

  17. 17

    Cara — December 8, 2011 @ 11:57 pm Reply

    Sorry you didn't love them! they're still a favorite in my family, but everyone has different taste.

  18. 18

    Adi M — January 13, 2012 @ 12:02 pm Reply

    how can I substitute the sugar with stevia? I know it would be 1/3cup + 1/2tbsp stevia but I read that one has to add 1/3 to a cup of some bulky liquid to make up for the sugar.. Any recommendations?

    • 18.1

      Cara — January 13, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

      Hi Adi, That is a great question. And hard to answer because stevia comes in many forms, at different concentrations. I have some stevia powder that is very concentrated and you only need 1/2 tsp to equal the same sweetness as 1 cup of sugar! It sounds like you have something bulkier. There are some brands of stevia that measure cup-for-cup like sugar that are supposedly great for baking (I haven’t tried them). I think for what you have, if you would be using roughly 1/3 cup of stevia, you wouldn’t need to add anything else for bulk. But that’s really just my guess, as I haven’t made this with stevia and I don’t know what brand you have. Good luck!

  19. 19

    Adi M — January 13, 2012 @ 4:37 pm Reply

    I have powder truvia!! Thx so much for your prompt response.

  20. 20

    Renae — April 21, 2012 @ 11:54 am Reply

    Just wanted to say these brownies were amazing! I liked them better than any other brownie I’ve made before, including ones that weren’t gluten free! Thanks for the recipe :)

    • 20.1

      Cara — April 22, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

      I feel the same way! Glad you liked them!

  21. 21

    SIMONE — August 20, 2012 @ 9:18 pm Reply

    these brownies are freakin awesome. I’m going to have hit the gym after them.

  22. 22

    Danielle — March 23, 2013 @ 2:59 pm Reply

    Hi Cara! I will be making these for Passover can I subistute the butter for vegetable oil? If so how much?

    • 22.1

      Cara — March 23, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

      Hi Danielle, I haven’t tried it but I think you’ll need an equal amount of fat. Good luck and happy passover!

  23. 23

    lydia purple — March 24, 2013 @ 3:18 am Reply

    To make it pareve one could use coconut oil instead of butter. It’s more like butter than liquid vegetable oil, so the result should be the same as using butter. It’s not healthier though, since it contains high amount of saturated fats as does butter… but i made this brownies during the last passover and in between… it’s on the must-do dessert list for this passover too! It’s amazing!

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