How to make your Brownies Healthy: Gluten Free, Vegan, and Dairy Free Substitutions

How to make your Brownies Healthy: Gluten Free, Vegan, and Dairy Free Substitutions

Making conscious health choices are becoming increasingly important for us and our families. But...but...BROWNIES! Well, we've got your back. For the baking nerds and chocoholics, we're breaking down gluten free, dairy free, vegan and sugar free substitutions to a standard brownie recipe that will keep it delicious AND nutritious!

Start by making them from scratch, that way you can design to eliminate almost any part that either doesn’t work for your diet or reduces the total number of calories, fat or sugar.

For gluten free, replace the flour in the recipe either with a store bought all purpose gluten free flour (Bob's red mill, and King Arthur both have a one to one replacements) or make you own blend. We really like this recipe,

To make your own gluten free flour:

11/2 C brown rice flour

1/2 C potato starch

1/4 C teff flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

The important point to remember is that regular wheat flour can not be replaced one for one with any single other flour, you must create a blend. 

Dairy free brownies are easy and delicious! Simply replace butter with any neutral tasting oil, e.g. canola oil, refined coconut oil (otherwise your brownies will taste like coconuts), light olive oil (extra virgin has a distinct flavor), at a 1:1 ratio. Note: The resulting brownie will be fudgier.

If you’re Vegan, replace the butter as you did for Dairy Free and replace the eggs with the exact amount in weight of the amount of eggs called for in the brownie recipe (for reference, a large egg is 57 grams or about 2 ounces). For example, our brownie recipe calls for 2 eggs, in that case you would use 4 ounces of the following options; ground flax, chia seed meal, mashed banana, apple sauce, pureed avocado, pureed pumpkin, pureed silken tofu, peanut butter, almond butter, as well as any ground seed or nut. Each replacement will create a new distinct flavor so chose something you like! 

Here is a reference table so you can adjust any recipe!

One egg is approximately equivalent to the following replacements:

1 tbsp ground flax+ 3 tbsp water (leave for about 20 minutes to soak)

1 tbsp chia seed meal+ 3 tbsp water

1/2 a medium banana

4 tbsp apple sauce

4 tbsp pureed avocado

4 tbsp pureed pumpkin

4 tbsp silken tofu (pureed)

3 tbsp peanut butter

3 tbsp almond butter

3 tbsp any ground seed or nut

2 tbsp corn starch + 3 tbsp water

Our favorite egg replacement in brownies is flax water. If you don't have an issue with nut and seed butters, they are also great substitutes. Fruit substitutes will change the texture of brownies so we generally don’t use them, but feel free to try!

To replace regular sugar you can use the following natural sweeteners; coconut sugar, date sugar, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses, erythritol (if you’re keto) and honey if you’re paleo. The dry sugar replacements, such as coconut sugar, can be used as one to one substitutions. If you’re using a liquid form of sugar replacement, increase the amount of flour to dry out your recipe as the liquid sweetener alone will yield a chewier end result. 

If you are baking for diabetes, there are several options. The commonly used sugar alcohols include sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, maltitol syrup, lactitol, erythritol, isomalt and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates. Their calorie content ranges from zero to three calories per gram compared to four calories per gram for sucrose or other sugars. 

If you are more concerned with calories or want a more natural approach to baking for diabetes, monkfruit and stevia are great options. Monkfruit is a natural sweetener but because the extract is about 250 times sweeter than table sugar, most manufacturers mix it with other sweeteners such as inulin or erythritol to reduce the level of sweetness for a one to one substitution with table sugar. Stevia is another zero calorie natural sweetener which is also about 250 times sweeter than sugar in its natural state. So, like monk fruit it is manufactured using erythritol and natural flavors for one to one substitution as sugar.

If all of this is making your head spin, let us do the baking for you! We have delicious gluten free, dairy free, vegan and sugar free options delivered right to your door!

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