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Hazelnut Brownies | Gluten-, Egg- & Grain-Free

Serve up these brownies and I'll bet you get some raised eyebrows. "No egg? No grain? Really?" Really.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from three exceptionally talented recipe developers, Elana at Elana's Pantry, Kelly at The Spunky Coconut and Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free. Last spring, for a family gathering, I baked batches of Elana's Chocolate Chip Brownies, Kelly's Egg-Free Grain-Free Brownies and Amy's Chewy Chocolate Vegan Date Brownies and held a taste test. I invited my family to help proclaim the "best brownie." After countless mmmm's and ahhh's and hands reaching in for seconds and thirds, the votes were tallied. We had an honest-to-goodness three-way tie! And, it was no surprise. Each brownie had its unique, star attributes.

What attracted me to Amy's recipe was the use of dates as a sweetener. What attracted me to Kelly and Elana's recipes was the main ingredient they shared—almond butter. What a concept. Protein with your brownie! So the other day as I stood in the kitchen licking Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter off a spoon, the thought came to me—vegan, date-sweetened, hazelnut brownies? Alas with some borrowing from Amy, Kelly and Elana, I present gluten-free, egg-free and grain-free Hazelnut Brownies.

Thank you Elana, Kelly and Amy for your inspiration!

Hazelnut Brownies

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan

Makes: 16 brownies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes 


Preheat oven to 350˚F. Combine and set aside to soften:

1 cup boiling filtered WATER
1/3-1/2 cup gently packed DATES (about 12 small or 9 large)

Add to food processor and process until very smooth:

Softened DATES and SOAKING WATER (remove pits and any stem debris)
1 tablespoon extra light OLIVE OIL or extra virgin COCONUT OIL
2 teaspoons gluten-free VANILLA EXTRACT
1 teaspoon LEMON JUICE
30 drops vanilla creme or chocolate SWEET LEAF LIQUID STEVIA
1/2 cup JUSTIN'S CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT BUTTER (or other chocolate nut butter)
2 tablespoons FLAX MEAL
1/2 scant teaspoon SEA SALT

Add to processor and process for one minute or until super smooth:

1/2 cup HAZELNUT MEAL (such as Bob's Red Mill which states it is gluten-free)

Finally, add to processor and process until just incorporated (do not over-mix):

2 teaspoons non-aluminum, corn-free BAKING POWDER (make your own)
1/2 teaspoon BAKING SODA

Gently and immediately spoon batter into a glass 9x9" oiled glass baking dish. With moistened hands, smooth top using a very light touch. Top brownie batter with and gently press in:

1/2 cup mini CHOCOLATE CHIPS (I use Enjoy Life® dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free mini chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons HAZELNUT MEAL

Bake at 350˚F for 40 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Reader Comments (18)

Oooo - I need a vegan brownie recipe for a group dinner. These look absolutely amazing. Definitely going to try these!


UPDATE FROM DEANNA (Deanna had wondered if 20 minutes bake time was good enough. I told her 35-40 was how long I liked to cook them for to ensure they didn't come out too gooey, here's her report back): "I went with 30 minutes [bake time], and they were done - not gooey. And, they were delicious! I gave most of them to a friend as a thank you for watching my kiddo a lot lately. But, I fed them to 3 kiddos first (one of which claims not to like nuts) and they gobbled them up. My kiddo is having a second one that I saved for him right now. Big hit. I'll definitely be making them again. I just about killed the last of the chocolate peanut butter, so next time I'll try them with some chocolate hazelnut butter. I need to make a trip to Trader Joe's tomorrow, and I think they have chocolate nut butters there. (I think.) Thanks so much for posting the recipe."

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna

You are ON FIRE these days, girlfriend! These look like they are unbelievable! I LOVE Justin's butters! I will definitely be trying these! I love using dates to sweeten. I have a muffin recipe that I do that with and they are so yummy!
I love this brownie recipe!

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim @ Cook It Allergy Free

Awesome, Lexie! I've made Kelly's brownies and they are the bomb for sure! And, I've drooled over both Elana's and Amy's brownies. I love all the factors of your "inspired" brownies, especially Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. ;-) As soon as I get some dates, I'm making these! Thanks, dear. :-)


October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShirley @ gfe

Kim and Shirley, I'd love to know how these turn out for you. What I learned at the family taste test was that people don't always like their brownies the same way. Some like them fudgy, some like them cakey. These are a nice middle ground—moist, cakey and a little fudgy. : )


October 23, 2010 | Registered CommenterLexie

Brownie contests! Can I please move into your house? I love the sounds of these ones. I don't think they sell Justins way up here in Canada :) So I guess I will have to move in.

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

Maggie dearest ... I love it when you leave comments. I could use some girl company in my house today : ) So come on down from the great North! Me and the dog are outnumbered by boys.

I feel like I've tested this recipe 50 times, following it to a T and adjusting. Now that I've got the hazelnut version down, I was going to experiment with other nut butters and nut meals. I bet these would be JUST fine with almond butter and almond meal/flour.


October 23, 2010 | Registered CommenterLexie


What a great post! I love the idea that you actually took the time to bake and test all versions. I like using soaked mejool dates as a sweetener and mixed with almond butter, it makes for such a sweet, moist and healthy recipe ingredient. I can't believe I've never used Jason's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. I keep thinking I'll try something with it, but have never gotten around to it. You've inspired me! I'm wondering about skipping the xanthan gum since it's such a small amount, or do you think is it one of those "key" ingredients? I might try this without it. I'll report back to you. =)

Great post with such a fun subject. I love it! Hope all is well with you.
Peace, joy and brownie love!

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterglutenfreeforgood

Hi Melissa,

Yes, I bet xanthan gum could be omitted. I will try that ... seems all the gooey stuff might do the job of binding. And that Hazelnut Butter ... so good. Reminds me of backpacking Europe sustaining on French bread and Nutella (oh the days). Tastes just like the latter (maybe not as smooth) minus all the bad stuff.

Brownie love to you, too!


October 24, 2010 | Registered CommenterLexie

Lexie, those look AMAZING! It would be impossible to guess from the photo how free-from those are. I can't believe you made them gluten-free and egg-free. You are my hero!

October 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

I just love it when someone else does all the work and gives me the best of all options. I bought some dates to try one of Amy's recipes and I didn't know a healthy alternative to Nutella existed. I can't wait to try this recipe and I will as soon as I find some of that Justin's Hazelnut butter. I love their almond butter, but that's all I've found close to home.

October 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCeliacs in the House

Hi there Wendy, I am so excited that you're thinking of trying the recipe. So honored! Let me know if you agree about the taste of Justin's Hazelnut butter vs. Nutella ... pretty close to me. Mmmmm.


October 25, 2010 | Registered CommenterLexie

Thanks Alisa. You can leave a comment ANY day. You leave sunshine wherever you go!


October 25, 2010 | Registered CommenterLexie

I am fully honored to have tied with two of my biggest heroes! I adore Elana and Kelly and, really, I don't think my brownies hold a candle to theirs but it feels good to see that someone else does. :) Lexie, it looks like you've come up with a winner, too! I love hazelnut and chocolate.

Amy, many thanks again, for inspiring me in so many ways!


October 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterLexie

Oh man, these sound too good to be true! I'm always hunting for good vegan and gluten free recipes, and I see the potential for a new favorite food here. Thanks so much for sharing this.

- Sarah

October 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Wow these look awesome! Thanks for the inspiration - brownies are my biggest weakness =)

Mine, too!

: )


November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I found your recipe via Elana's Pantry and just baked these yummies today. Besides my house smelling amazing on this cold & snowy day in Boulder, I was so happy to see this recipe using hazelnut meal & coconut flour. I don't do well with almonds but didn't know hazelnut meal was an option. Yeah! They just came out of the oven & even though you said to wait until they cool before cutting I couldn't help myself. Heaven, chocolate heaven! I can't believe how light & fluffy the dough was & how perfectly they baked up even at 5400 ft!! Thanks for this fabulous recipe. I'll be sharing it with all of my gfdf friends!!

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJane

Thanks so much for the recipe! These look amazing!!! Can't wait to try them!

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMy Fit Formula

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