Secret Ingredient Brownies


The picture above has nothing to do with brownies or secret ingredients!  This is from my trip to Spain last year. I have been working on my photos to make a book.  Loved this little courtyard and the big trees.  Summer always gives me the travel bug, and this photo captures the spirit of all I love in a new place.  On now to brownies!


I have a terrible sweet tooth.  I don't eat many commercial sweets or much candy, but I eat dark chocolate every day. I also love a sweet breakfast, like muffins or pancakes.  I often cook these at home, as is apparent by the array of recipes on this blog.  I try to make them healthy, using natural sugars and good flours, whether with wheat-based, gluten-free, or grain free. Last week I made a truly delicious brownie based on a recipe I saw in Donna Hay magazine. Donna Hay is an Australian magazine, but is one you can read for free on Amazon Prime.  There was a whole spread on gluten free baked goods.  This one caught my eye as it is made with prunes! (okay, and three kinds of chocolate)  I often use dates but rarely use prunes. To be honest, I don't really like prunes. Just not a great taste or texture for me.  But they are full of fiber (thus that old laxative remedy) but also a great source of vitamins K and A, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin B-6, as well as some calcium, phosphorous, iron, and potassium. Read about them here and here. Brownies with all this goodness!  Win-win.   These brownies are also gluten-free as they are made with almond flour.  They are sweetened with the prunes and some maple syrup.  They are not vegan as they have eggs, but since these are a rather dense and fudgy brownie not a cakey one, I suspect you could use a chia egg or flax egg.  I ate some right out of the oven warm (yes you really should cool them) but I liked them best cold from the fridge.  And.....I ate one for breakfast! :)  (Eggs, prunes, almonds, maple syrup....perfect breakfast!) On a side note, sorry about the weight of the melted chocolate. I have a scale and thus did the weight. I think it would be about 1/3 cup chopped, maybe even a little less.  You can also look at the weight on your bar and guess! 

What else?  My hydrangeas are blooming!  I planted this one last year or maybe even the year before and this is the first time it has bloomed. I can't remember the variety, but I love it.  Nice compact blue flowers.  They don't look blue in the photos but the longer they are on the plant the bluer they get!  

And here is a beautiful one that is on my walking route. It is huge! 

I don't have much else to share. I made some felt dryer balls.  No photo and it is totally nerdy, but it was really fun.  Here is the You Tube video I used as a tutorial.  I love them and they really did help my clothes dry better.  I hope you all have a great week.  

Secret Ingredient Brownies

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free vegetarian almonds chocolate cocoa American

Ingredients (16 brownies)

  • 1 cup prunes, pitted
  • 50 grams 70% dark chocolate, melted
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ⅔ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa or carob powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350. Line a greased 8x8 inch cake pan with parchment paper.

Place prunes in a deep bowl or measuring cup. Cover with boiling water. Let soften for 10 minutes.

Drain the prunes, keeping them in the bowl. Add the melted chocolate, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Using a hand blender, blend until a smooth paste forms.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: almond flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add to the date paste and mix until everything is well combined.

Add the eggs and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scrape into the prepared pan, forming an even layer, and smoothing the top. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until cooked through.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from the pan and cut into squares.

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