Alternative Browniesss.

I’ve been experimenting with alternative brownies just to figure out whether there are any worthy contenders against the classic, chewy, fudgy brownies that I love. I’ve had successes with Coconut Flour Brownies and Hazelnut Flour Brownies although I realise that to enjoy a good coconut flour brownie, you have to like the flavour of coconut so it’s not always to everyone’s taste.

I decided to bake 5 different brownies and do a side-by-side comparison. I had one using my favourite Hazelnut Flour, one using Kidney Beans, one with Pumpkin Puree, one with Coconut Flour and one with Beetroot.


I won’t deny, there are sOoOOo many many recipes floating around promising the best results from using alternative ingredients in brownies so while I cannot say that I’ve tried every single recipe out there, out of the ones I experimented with, I daresay that I have my favourites.


Where chocolate was needed, I tended to stick to the higher percentage dark chocolates which yielded deeper, darker flavour profiles. Personally, I found this exceptionally favourable but for those who are more used to your brownies being less intense on the chocolate, feel free to go with 60% dark chocolate or even milk chocolates although watch for the amount of sugar. Generally, I reduce the amount of sugar in my recipes so that in turn lessens the extent to which the fudge-factor of the brownies might potentially reach.


Initially, I thought to break this post up into 5 different ones, each post focussing on one Alternative Brownie. However, I realised that not all the recipes are share-worthy and therefore, one post should be enough with the recipes I believe deserve a place in your stomach!

It’s funny because when I first tasted the brownies with Pumpkin puree (pic. above), it felt too ‘soft’ and wet to me. But after chilling it, it had such a creamy mouthfeel that it was almost like eating ice-cream. Technically not what a typical brownie should be, and possibly more wet because of the tinned puree I used, but it totally grew on me and became one of my favourites.


As for my Coconut Flour Brownies, I’d suggest to stick to my original recipe. I’ve tried to give a few other coconut flour brownie recipes a chance but until now, most of them have turned out a bit too dry and unimpressive.


With my Hazelnut Flour brownies, I topped it with some fresh banana chunks. Hazelnuts, chocolate and bananas definitely hang well together and I thoroughly enjoyed these brownies as I always do when it comes to hazelnut flour ones. There’s something about ground hazelnuts that you just cannot dislike!


The ones that took me most by surprise were these Kidney Bean Brownies. Since the first time I hear about them a few years back, I just refused to believe that beans or legumes had a place in brownies. I decided to give it a shot anyway and while black beans are more often the ones used, I went with kidney beans mainly because they’re my favourite beans and they’re similar to adzuki red beans that are often used in Asian confectionary.

I’d have to say that these were the closest to the real thing in terms of texture and flavour. I couldn’t even taste the beans in these brownies and the only giveaway were the small pieces that I didn’t manage to blend down entirely.


I was also happy with the overall moistness of the Beetroot Brownies. They did have a faint earthy flavour but I enjoy beetroot so it was definitely no deal-breaker to me.

It was really fun playing around with alternative ingredients in order to weasel out the kind of alternative brownie that hits the spot for me. If you have others that you think are awesome, hit me up! I’m excited to work through other recipes with other possible ingredients that didn’t quite do it for me or that I haven’t thought of using.

For now though, I’m going to share with you the three recipes that blew me away with their flavour and ultimate fudginess. These brownies definitely fall short of chewiness more so because of the type of ‘flour’ used. If you hanker after chewy brownies, I’d stick to the traditional recipes or you can try my Brown Butter Spelt Flour Blondies which are my go-to every time I need something deliciously chewy.


Pumpkin Brownies (Makes 1 8×8″ Square)

425g Pumpkin Puree
150g Melted Butter/Coconut Oil
115g Coconut Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp Espresso in 1 tsp Hot water
60g Cocoa Powder
1/4tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
Pepita Seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 175deg C and line an 8×8″ baking tin.
  2. In a clean bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, melted butter/coconut oil, sugar, vanilla, eggs and espresso.
  3. Incorporate cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared tin and top with pepita seeds.
  5. Bake for 22-28min until set. Longer if you prefer it to be less ‘wet’. I baked closer to the 22min mark.
  6. Allow to cool. Chilling after it has cooled for 2-3 hours will make for easier cutting.


As I type this, I’ve already finished the last of my pumpkin brownies and dreaming about having that melt-in-my-mouth moment with them once again. I believe that you can also swap out pumpkin for sweet potato puree in this recipe as well if pumpkin doesn’t float your boat. Also, if you use homemade puree, I think you’ll probably produce a brownie that’s even better in texture than mine.


Beetroot Rye Brownies with Blueberries (Makes 1 8×8″ Square)

170g Melted Butter/Coconut Oil
110g Coconut sugar
3 Eggs
80g Spelt Flour
60g Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
100g Grated Beetroot
50g Blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 170 deg C and line an 8×8″ baking tin.
  2. In a clean bowl, whisk together melted butter/coconut oil, coconut sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Whisk in spelt flour, cocoa powder and salt until just combined.
  4. Fold in beetroot and 30g of blueberries.
  5. Pour batter into prepared tin and top with remaining blueberries.
  6. Bake for 25-30 min until set and dry to the touch.
  7. Allow to cool before slicing.

I decided to share this beetroot brownie recipe with you because even though I adored the hazelnut flour ones, it was very much similar to the first recipe I shared with all of you so rather than add on another hazelnut brownie to your recipe book, I might as well share with you something different and new and just as delightful to the tastebuds!


Kidney Bean Brownies (Makes 1 8×8″ Square)

1 tin Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
35g Coconut Sugar
50g Cocoa Powder
3 Medjool Dates
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 Eggs
30g Walnuts
50g Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp Salt

Chocolate Chips

  1. Preheat oven to 170 deg C and line an 8×8″ baking tin.
  2. Place all ingredients apart from chocolate chips into a food processor and blitz until  mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour batter into prepared tin and top with chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25min until dry to the touch.
  4. Allow to cool before removing from tin and slicing.


Definitely don’t miss out on the chocolate chips on top of these Kidney Bean Brownies. If you choose to omit them, do so at their own risk! Don’t say I didn’t warn yaaaa! After all, awesome brownies because awesomer by the simple addition of chocolate chips! Also, they make them look that little bit prettier too.


I’m so excited for you to try these alternative brownies and share with me your thoughts on them. I know that not all the ingredients are easily accessible or super affordable so if coconut sugar isn’t available close to where you are, brown sugar or even caster sugar will work just fine. Also, melted butter in place of coconut oil work just as well, and if kidney beans don’t catch your fancy, I’m sure chickpeas, black beans or even pinto beans will be awesome substitutes.

If hazelnut flour is not readily available, you can toast up some hazelnuts, let them cool and blitz them in the food processor. Careful not too over-process them otherwise you’ll be left with hazelnut butter instead of hazelnut meal. And although you can for sure use almond flour as a substitute, I promise you, the hazelnut flour makes ALL the difference!

Let me know how your brownies turn out whenever you make them. If there are ways you think they can be better, I’m all ears and again, if there are other alternative brownies you think I should try, I’m eager to try my hand at them! X

5 thoughts on “Alternative Browniesss.

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