The Yummiest Brownies, that also happen to be Sugar-Free and Vegan!!

“We want pudding after tea Mummy” they said…..

we want cake says Harper at Nurtured.me we want cake says Amber at Nurtured.me

“We want chocolate cake and ice cream after tea Mummy!” they said

Oh no!!! That means you’ll never sleep though!

My kids don’t do well with sugar, well, particularly my eldest who has just turned 4 doesn’t do well with sugar. She hypers out for a good 10-15 minutes then crashes in a heap. She’s the reason behind me going refined sugar-free in April 2018. Yes, that would be me, the chocoholic who had a 200g bar a day addiction and sung the praises of chocolate to everyone I met. The girl who baked almost every day and generally ate it all. But also, the girl who never seemed to much weight on. Do you hate me already?

“Please Mummy!”

Amber wants cake at Nurtured.me

So a while ago, I started to really miss chocolate and cakes and set upon trying to find alternatives that were healthy, that were maybe less likely to put us at risk of health problems, alternatives to sugar that would keep us being able to bake together, annd eat yummy puddings, and here we are. Sugar-free brownies. Now, these aren’t just refined sugar-free brownies, they’re zero sugar. The sweetness comes from Dates, which are considered to be a low glycemic index due to being high in fibre. This means the blood sugars rise at a lower, safer pace. In one test, the glycemic index of dates was around 46 to 55 in healthy subjects, and around 43 to 53 in type 2 diabetes subjects. Around half of that the glycemic index of refined sugar.

Dates are low on the glycemic index at Nurtured.me

I had a search around and looked at a few recipes for sugar-free brownies that might work. But they all contained sugar substitutes, such as Stevia. But since I made a gorgeous Carrot Sticky Toffee Cake by accident at Christmas I had a hankering to use dates in baking again, so did a bit more digging and came up with this from a combination of recipes. And if you’re vegan, fear not, I have NOT left you out…. Keep reading!

These brownies are so simple to make. Just add all the ingredients step by step into a food processor or Nutribullet and blend.

Start by blending the dates. You need to get them to a smoothish kind of paste, so depending on which dates you are using, you may need to add water to the mix. If you want, you can even choose to soak them in hot water for 10 minutes before blending. This is your sugar replacement. So if you like your brownies super sweet, here is where you’d add a couple more dates.

date-puree at Nurtured.me

Next you want to add in the butter, and blend again. Promise me something though. Do NOT taste it at this stage, however tempted you are. It might look and smell just like Werthers Originals, but you are making BROWNIES!! You need to power through and add in the eggs (or the vegan substitute) or you WILL devour the whole lot and have to start again.

You just tried it didn’t you!? Me too! Every time 😉

So, now you need to make a choice. Are you following the vegan or none vegan recipe?It turns out that it’s a super easy swap for both the eggs and butter. Vegan butter is widely available now in supermarkets, but although my initial thoughts were to swap out the eggs for banana, I discovered that you can actually use one of my favourites – Chia Seeds! This makes a lot of sense, especially if you’ve tried my Chocolate Chia Pudding  And it also made the brownies even better, lighter, gooier and much more brownie-like! So, I highly recommend you make your brownies with this vegan recipe, or at least substitute the eggs for Chia Seeds if you’re not vegan and still want to use real butter.

Chia Seeds as a egg substitute at Nurtured.me

I HIGHLY recommend you take the Chia Seed route. Not only are you replacing eggs with a nutrition-packed seed, you’re practically turning your dessert into a superfood. And besides that, it somehow turns this mix into something beyond just a brownie. You actually feel angelic while eating it, they’re that good for you. So soak those Chia Seeds, leave them for 5 minutes, and give it a stir, and the texture will be gloopy, like egg whites. It’s a great science experiment for your kids in itself.

Soaked Chia Seeds inn sugar free vegan chocolate brownies at Nurtured.me

So when they’re nice and gloopy (or if you’re using eggs) then add them to the mix now along with the vanilla extract.

Raw Cacao Powder inn Sugar Free Chocolate Brownies by nurtured.me

Give it another blend, then add in the raw cacao powder (or sugar-free cocoa powder if you don’t have the raw) and the flour. By now, the mix will look like this…..

Brownie batter at nurtured.me

Then just pour it into the tin, spread it out to your desired thickness, and bake for around 20 minutes until the brownie is still gooey. Allow to cool completely before you slice it. Into 12 pieces for generous portions, or 16 if you’re aiming to be reserved.

Yummy Sugar-Free Chocolate Brownies

IngredientsNutritional Info for the Sugar Free Brownies at Nurtured.me

  • 170g pitted dates 
  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 40g flour (plain or wholemeal)
  • 30g raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line a baking tin with baking paper, don’t worry about the size as the mixture will be sturdy enough to hold it’s own shape
  2. Place dates in a food processor or the large cup of a Nutribullet. Blend until they are completely smooth. You may need to add a little water during blending, depending on the dates you’re using.
  3. Add softened butter to the date puree and blend again to combine.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla extract; process until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the flour, raw cacao powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt (if using). Blend again until mixture is just combined. It should be a rich dark brown chocolatey colour.
  6. Pour brownie mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges just begin to set, 18 to 25 minutes depending on the thickness you pour.
  8. Cool in the baking tin for 10 minutes, then remove brownies from pan by lifting out with the baking paper. Allow to cool completely before slicing into 12 generous portions.

Sugar Free Brownies with dates from Nurtured.me

They were delicious, I loved it, my girls loved it, and of course, we HAD to serve it with our delicious Super Fast Banana Ice Cream too.

Sugar Free Brownies with dates from Nurtured.me

And then this morning I shared a photo, with the ingredients you needed to get in ready to make these gorgeous brownies. But then somebody asked on the Facebook post if there was a vegan substitute for the eggs, and it set me off on a search again. I’m kind of on a mission to make super delicious meals and desserts as healthy as possible, and as it’s currently #veganuary then I couldn’t pass up the challenge, could I?

Even Yummier Vegan Sugar-Free Chocolate Brownies

IngredientsNutritional Info for the Sugar Free Vegan Brownies at Nurtured.me

  • 170g pitted dates 
  • 120g unsalted vegan butter
  • 4 tbsp Chia Seeds- soaked for 5 mins in 6 tbsp water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 40g flour (plain or wholemeal)
  • 30g raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line a baking tin with baking paper, don’t worry about the size as the mixture will be sturdy enough to hold it’s own shape
  2. Place dates in a food processor or the large cup of a Nutribullet. Blend until they are completely smooth. You may need to add a little water during blending, depending on the dates you’re using.
  3. Add the vegan butter to the date puree and blend again to combine.
  4. Add the soaked Chia Seeds and vanilla extract; process until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the flour, raw cacao powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt (if using). Blend again until mixture is just combined. It should be a rich dark brown chocolatey colour.
  6. Pour/spoon brownie mixture onto the paper in the prepared baking dish.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges just begin to set, 18 to 25 minutes depending on the thickness you pour and how you like your brownies. They should be lovely and cracked on top.
  8. Cool in the baking tin for 10 minutes, then remove brownies from pan by lifting out with the baking paper. Allow to cool completely before slicing into 12 generous portions and serving.

These are SO utterly delicious, and almost guilt free too!

Vegan Brownies from Nurtured.me

Please let me know if you make them. Comment below or tag me in your photo on Instagram or Facebook @Nurtured.me

Vegan Brownies from Nurtured.me