Believe the hype: these ridiculously good low-carb chocolate brownies are just that. With a reassuringly high fat to (almond) flour ratio, these keto-compliant babies will please even your pickiest brownie purist. Unless they like their brownies on the cakey side. (Who are these people?). We are talking gooey. We are talking fudgy. We are talking absolutely irresistible.
So, grab a bag of pecans, a bar of darkest chocolate and let’s make these deliciously decadent, more-ish bites! I’ll walk you through it. Let’s go!
How are these brownies low-carb and keto?
Well, the main reasons are that these brownies have no grains (flour), no sugar, and quite a lot of fat! But don’t be scared of the fat. Even though I am low-carb I am not too fond of lots of butter in my food. Even in baking. So, I’ve used some butter for flavour (get good stuff like Kerrygold or President), and also some sustainable palm fruit oil. Or you could use avocado oil or an unassertive olive oil.
The nut flour in this recipe also contains a good amount of fat, so the end result is a filling wee treat. The flavour is almost completely of chocolate and cocoa. So, the combination of being filling and having a rich flavour bodes well for enjoying these mindfully.
Another reason for the low-carb label is the type of nut flour: pecan. You do not, I repeat not, have to use pecan flour. But, if you do, know that pecan flour – homemade, and I tell you how – is lower in carbohydrate than is the keto-baking stalwart, almond. In the amounts here it is probably fairly negligible. But I must say that pecan is exceptionally good here – as you can imagine. You can also do a half and half approach: half bought almond flour and half pecan, or even sunflower seed flour. I think walnut might be a bit assertive. But do try that one if you like.
Isn’t chocolate high in carbohydrates?
Well, actually it is. But the higher the cocoa content, the less the sugar content. In most instances. Look for 85-90% chocolate – bar or chips – and it will be completely legit as low-carb. But do double check the label to be sure. Just an FYI, 100g of Lindt 85% cocoa has 19g of carbs per 100g, while Aldi’s Moser Roth 85% cocoa bar is 18g per 100g. So there is not much between a more expensive brand and a cheaper one.
But to be keto-compliant you might wish to buy chocolate sweetened with Xylitol or another safe, no-carb sweetener. I often use Plamil brand for chocolatey baking (its chocolate is certified ethically made). This link is directly to what I buy. It’s a catering pack, and is half the price of the same thing on Amazon UK. (This is just a courtesy link. I’m not an affiliate.) But I do think that it’s best to use darkest chocolate, with its wee bit of sugar, in these brownies for the most authentic brownie experience.
What’s in these Ridiculously Good Low-Carb Chocolate Brownies?
Most of these items are easily found at your grocery store. And are certainly available online. If you don’t wish to use the low-carb sweeteners, just use granulated sugar. Same amount. 🙂
Pecans – or fine almond flour. I tell you how to make your own nut flour below!
Butter – good stuff as it makes a big difference.
A fruity olive oil, sustainable palm fruit oil (so high in beta-carotene) or avocado oil. I don’t like coconut oil here.
Xylitol – or erythritol. Xylitol is preferred here, but is not suitable if you have doggies in the house – very toxic to them. You can use ordinary granulated sugar or coconut sugar if not following a low-carb diet. Xylitol is often found in larger grocery stores. Read the label and beware of brands that cut the their sweeteners with things like maltodextrin, as these may affect blood glucose levels.
Cocoa powder – good stuff
Darkest chocolate – no-sugar or sugar-added, but get dark!
Flaky sea salt – optional
Just a note: I’ve not made these as vegan, but I imagine using chia eggs and vegan butter would work well. If you make these to be vegan, do let me know in the comments below!
Top tips for making Ridiculously Good Low-Carb Chocolate Brownies
- Use high quality ingredients – good chocolate (Aldi’s chocolate is excellent), butter, oil, organic eggs, excellent fresh nuts or almond flour, proper vanilla extract, etc. You want these to be awesome brownies, so don’t compromise!
- If making the pecan flour, toast the pecans first, then pulse in a high powered blender or in a food processor until you get a fine floury texture. If you don’t have a blender or food processor capable of making the flour, just buy almond flour. I like the Kirkland brand (Costco and Amazon)
- Use the right pan. I use a metal 8-inch x 8-inch pan for best results. I’ve not tried a 9 x 7 pan, but that should be fine. For thicker brownies (you may have to play with the timings though), you could use a loaf tin. If using a glass or ceramic pan, add a minute or two to the timings. I have not used a silicone pan so don’t know how these brownies would turn out in such a pan.
- Stick to the timings I’ve given. I made these four times before I got them as they are, and found that the timing is the most crucial thing. If you are using Xylitol, they bake to fudgy gorgeousness in 18 minutes. With erythritol, the time is 15 minutes. Once cooled they will firm up quite a lot so do bear that in mind when testing. You want a toothpick to come out sticky and gooey, not uncooked/wet – and not clean/dry.
- Temperature is so important for brownies. For this recipe, to avoid burning the delicate nut flour, make sure to heat your oven to 160C fan/convection, 180C conventional/non-fan, 350F, or gas mark 3.
- Leave them alone! Let them cool so that the bottom of the tin is touchable. Then you can lift them from the pan by the baking paper, onto a cutting board, cool a few minutes, and slice as you wish. We cut them into 16 pieces, but this might seem a bit miserly if serving to others!
- Store them right. These brownies can be enjoyed over about five days: in the fridge please. If you like, slice them up and interleave between baking paper to store in your freezer. Defrost your brownie on the countertop for 15 minutes or so, and refresh for 10 seconds in a microwave. You can also restore essential fudginess to unfrozen brownies with a 10-second blast on high in the microwave.
So, are you ready to don your apron and do some baking?
Do let me know in the comments if you make these Ridiculously Good Low-Carb Chocolate Brownies and how they were for you. And, if you post a pic on social media, do tag me so that I can see it and possibly share, depending on your privacy settings. 🙂 .
These brownies are very much inspired by the iconic Cocoa Brownies from Alice Medrich. I have a minty version of these brownies (all the carbs!) from the very beginning of this blog, some 9 plus year’s ago.
More brownies on Food To Glow
I used to make these all the time for work. *wistful face*
Ridiculously Good Low-Carb Chocolate Brownies
A low-carb adaptation of baking doyenne Alice Medrich's iconic Cocoa Brownies, using nut flour and sugar alternatives. Plus a cheeky smattering of darkest chocolate.
- 80 g pecans* or almond flour
- 60 g organic butter
- 60 ml mild olive oil sustainable palm fruit oil or avocado oil
- 160 g Xylitol** can use erythritol, but Xylitol works best
- 65 g unsweetened cocoa or cacao
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 med organic eggs room temp; medium eggs for UK and large for US
- 30 g dark chocolate chips** or chopped dark chocolate
- Flaky salt optional for finishing
Place the pecan nuts in the baking tin and bake at 140°C fan/325°F for 10 minutes. Keep the oven on but turn it up to 160C fan/350F.
Allow the pecans to briefly cool, then pop in a blender and pulse until you have a floury texture. Don't got to far or the oils will start seeping out and you are on the road to making nut butter.
Line the tin with non-stick baking parchment. I like to crumple the paper so that it can be pressed into the corners more easily.
Melt the butter on low in a saucepan then stir in the 'sugar' and salt. Once this is melted - about 1 minute, add the cocoa powder and oil. Mix really well. Take off the heat.
Beat in the room temperature eggs. Add the toasted pecan flour or almond flour and beat for 1 minute by hand. Fold in the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate.
Scrape the thick batter into the lined tin and place in the lower third of your oven. Turn the tin around halfway through baking, adding any toppings at this time. If using Xylitol bake for 18 minutes for a soft, fudgy texture; if using erythritol bake for about 15 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out gooey/sticky rather than unbaked/wet. If wet, bake for one more minute. Bear in mind that the brownies will continue to cook a bit more out of the oven, and will firm up - but still be soft and a bit gooey - when cool. Don't be tempted to bake any longer than suggested. Xylitol takes much longer to firm up the brownies than erythritol, so be patient when you are letting them cool down.
Pull from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Sprinkle with flaky salt if you wish. Leave to cool until the bottom of the tin itself is touchable. Carefully lift the paper from the tin before cutting into 16 or so pieces. These are lovely with a blob of crème fraîche or ice cream. Store in a lidded box at a cool room temperature, or in the refrigerator. You can rewarm individual pieces in a microwave for about 10 seconds. Absolutely delicious re-warmed, in fact!
* Pecans - you can certainly use almond flour if that's what you have and prefer. The pecans are really good though, and have less carbohydrates than almonds. In the scheme of things, per serving, the latter is pretty negligible though.
** Sweeteners - Xylitol is my preference here. I've made these brownies with both, and Xylitol interacts better with regards to both taste and texture with the cocoa, imo. But my taste testers loved both versions. So, if you only have erythritol, please use this. When stirring erythritol in it may stiffen quite a bit; just add a little hot water. Some of you may want to blitz whatever sugar you are using as neither melts like sugar. Once baked they tend to lose any grittiness. Also, if you aren't into low-carb but are wanting to not use grain flour, just use regular sugar or coconut sugar.
*** Dark chocolate chips - I often use dark chocolate chips sweetened with Xylitol. But please use darkest (80-90%) chocolate chips, or a chopped up dark chocolate bar, if you wish. Again, you aren't using much so the carb count isn't very great.
Options - make these as raspberry brownies by adding 1/4-1/2 tsp (depends on strength) of raspberry extract/flavouring tot he batter. Top with freeze-dried raspberries as you pull the brownies from the oven. Or why not top with chopped nuts of choice? Or maybe a few drops of peppermint extract or orange?
Vegan - I've not made these to be vegan. But I imagine 2 chia "eggs' and a good quality vegan butter would work well.