Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies Recipe with Pecan Meal

Gluten free brownies that are rich and full of chocolate goodness
A rich, gluten-free chocolate brownie with pecan flour.

Everyone needs a rich decadent brownie treat now and then. Especially if you wake up to snow and ice and no electricity. Which means of course, no heat. No hot water. No shower. Which translates into one very bad hair day. And one prickly, cranky goddess. I'm serious.

What does Mother Nature think this is, December?

Oh. Wait.

I've been deep in denial, I admit it. I've been distracting myself tweaking blog color schemes and rustling up pumpkin waffles and cozy soups and watching old Humphrey Bogart movies and downloading music pretending Autumn Shade is forever. But winter, I hate to tell you, is only twelve days away, inching closer every shivering second. It's a good thing we have a kiva fireplace and a stack of pinon outside the door. With nothing to do, I bundled up and settled in to read (long overdue) Temple Grandin's amazing book Animals In Translation.

When the power finally flickered back on (after sputtering on and off and torturing our electricity deprived souls for hours) I heated up some leftover quinoa with artichokes and cranberries.

And Steve decided to make brownies.

I have an idea, I told him. Would you experiment? For the sake of our Wonderful Readers? Absolutely, he responded. What's it gonna be?

Pecans, I told him. Belgian chocolate brownies made with pecan meal.

That's the moment, Dear Reader, when he smiled.

Unfortunately for my vegan and egg-free readers, this brownie recipe contains eggs. Because all my tests and valiant efforts to create an egg-free brownie at high altitude has only led your plucky noshing goddess down a path of bitter disappointment and oily boiling chocolate slabs of gunk that in no way whatsoever resemble a brownie you might actually like to bite into- which- in a tender baker's dreams, one would wish for, fervently.

But. No.

Add eggs- and you get these beauties (pictured above).

Sometimes life isn't fair.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies Recipe

If those of you living at a friendlier altitude care to veganize this recipe- and wish to share your results- please do. I plan on trying this recipe egg-free (for me) when we eventually return to sea level. But for now I'll simply share the recipe with you and trust Steve when he tells me, Yeah. Damn good.


5 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening
2 large organic free-range eggs
1 cup firmly packed organic light brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ground pecan meal
1/4 slightly rounded cup sorghum flour
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract
1/2 cup extra semi-sweet chocolate chips for the top, if desired


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line an 9x11-inch baking pan with parchment or foil and lightly oil the bottom.

Using the microwave (or double boiler), gently melt the dark chocolate and shortening. Stir together to combine. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs on medium high till frothy. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth.

Add the melted chocolate mixture into the egg-sugar mixture a little at a time - incorporate it slowly- and beat well for a good minute. The chocolate will look smooth and glossy.

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients: pecan meal, sorghum flour, sea salt and baking soda; whisk together. Add the dry flour mix into the chocolate mixture and beat well for a minute. Add the vanilla, beat another half a minute or so.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Shake the pan a little bit to even out the batter.

Layer the semi-sweet chips all over the top of the batter and press them in slightly, if adding.

Bake in the center of a preheated 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the brownies are set. Do not overcook. *Now- here I must give you a BIG note- we bake at high altitude so these took extra-long for me to bake. But traditionally, a recipe like this one comes in at around 25 to 35 minutes.

So please, I beg you- watch them like a hawk- take them out when you know they are done- and test for doneness in the center- they should be firm but give slightly when touched.

Cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy. Freeze leftovers wrapped in foil and bagged.

Freezing gluten-free treats keeps their just baked texture and taste intact.

Makes 18 servings.

Enjoy sugary treats in moderation. 
Gluten-Free Goddess advises consuming no more than 2 tablespoons of sugar a day.


Steph said...

Wow! I'm drooling! And I'm so excited to see you use Spectrum. I just bought some, in the hopes that I can recreate some yummy holiday cookies and treats without the butter! Add this one to the top of that list!
What is a good brand of Belgian chocolate?

Anonymous said...

OMG these look wonderful. And there is nothing better than a good brownie. Gonna try them tomorrow. Susan

Jenny K in AK said...

Mmmmm... I'll have to try these, they look wonderful.

Have you tried duck eggs? They might be hard to find, but they don't seem to react like chicken eggs. My son & I heard about them from an egg-sensitive friend of ours and we have had good luck with them.

Simply Boulder said...

Thanks for the amazing recipe! Looking forward for more gluten-free goodness.

Shirley said...

Oh, my, yes ... those sound fabulous! An excellent way to banish the pre-winter "panic" I'd say.

Love the new look, too--your efforts are appreciated! ;-)

VeggieGirl said...


Elisa said...

Thank you for sharing this recipe! I have been curious since I saw your Tweet the other day :-)

Kate said...

How much Pecan meal do you use? It says 1/2, which I am guessing is 1/2 cup but I want to double check. Thank you!!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Those sound really good. Thank goodness I can still eat eggs, and I'm sorry you can't, my Goddess friend.~~Dee

Carrie said...

Yum!!! I did a *healthy* take on those black bean brownies last night that were really popular a few months ago! It turned out better than I thought! But your brownies are much prettier!! I bet they were delicious! I can never refuse a brownie!

Kate said...

This looks incredible.

I have a question - how much pecan meal is needed? I am guessing 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons?

1/2 plus 2 tablespoons ground pecan meal

Please let me know - I will be making this this weekend, maybe I'll try one with egg and one without and let you know the results. Thank you.

shady charbonnet said...

.....where can I buy pecan meal at 8am?

Angela Garcia said...

Hi Karina, I'm new to your blog (just landed from the UK) but just love all that you are doing. I'm a Mum of an autistic angel and a Dietitian and I'm always recommending your site to anyone who needs fresh ideas (here and in the UK). Would you share with us the brand of Belgium chocolate that you used in this recipe? Thank you.

Karina Allrich said...

Steph- Spectrum Organic Shortening works very well in baking. We like it for cookies especially; this is the first time we've used it in a brownie.

The Belgian chocolate we used is Trader Joe's.

Susan- Hope you like them!

Sabryna- Thanks!

Jenny K- Thanks for the duck egg tip- no I have not seen any here in rural New Mexico; but hope to try them when we move to California.

Simply Boulder- Muchas gracias!

Shirely- Aw- thanks for noticing. I read up on color theory and it prompted me to change my color choices- again. :p

VeggieGirl- Right back atcha!

Elisa- Anything with chocolate gets my vote.

Kate- My bad! Yes, I forgot to type "cup"; it's fixed. Thank you!

Dee! Sigh. I miss eggs. But. It's worth the trouble to feel better. Thank you my friend.

Carrie- Heidi's recipe? For me black beans = very unhealthy (I'm allergic) but I'm glad they turned out well for you. You're in pecan territory, yeah? I bet you can get some amazing fresh pecans.

Shady- Ha! :) Seriously, if cross contamination is not an issue, Trader Joe's sells pecan meal. But we make our own in a food processor.

Angela- Greetings and welcome! I used Trader Joe's Belgian Chocolate- an importer here in the US.

Any good dark Belgian chocolate will work- just make sure it's gluten and dairy free.


Catherine said...

You've outdone yourself once again!!

Anonymous said...


Thank you for this blog; you are an inspiration for anyone with food allergies. I think that the recipe below is a good vegan recipe, although it is not as gooey as your picture shows.

Vegan Brownies

1 cup organic sugar
1 cup gluten-free flour blend, with added 1 t. xanthan gum
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Dash salt


Mix wet ingredients, then dump in all the dry... don't over mix. Optional: Add your favorite chocolate chips or nuts.

Bake at 350' for about 20-25 minutes.

Kalyn said...

Gorgeous looking recipes. You really are a baking goddess.

Lauren said...

Oh my, pecans?! Now you've roped me in. This Southern gal can't resist anything with that winning combo. And they're lower carb, yay!

Karen said...

I can hardly wait to make these. Mmmmmm.

Gina said...

These look great! I see you redesigned your site again :)

Lori said...

These look spectacular!!! I would echo the comment about duck eggs. We have many many food allergies and duck eggs seem to work for us even though chicken eggs do not. They bake up beautifully. We buy them at Whole Foods or New Seasons. I will try these this weekend substituting the pecan flour (unfortuantely). Thanks for your site! Lori

Vegetation said...

Oh delicious brownie goodness!

Margo said...

As someone who is new to the world of gluten free cooking this blog is just amazing! I made these with bobs red mill almond meal (I don't have a food processor to make pecan meal) and they are delicious! They need a bit more love and attention than standard brownies but are definitely worth the effort. Thank you!

Karina Allrich said...

Catherine- Thanks, Chica!

Anon- Thanks for sharing your vegan brownie recipe with flax.

Kalyn- Aw. Muchas gracias! xox

Lauren- Exactly- chocolate + pecans? Divine.

Karen- Enjoy!

Gina- Yes. I wanted warmer colors again. Thanks for noticing!

Lori- Can you do almond flour? Or are you avoiding nuts? Any good flour combo should work- not too starchy, though. You may have to adjust moisture, too.

Vegetation- Sheer chocolaty goodness. Yup.

Margo- Welcome to the world of gluten-free baking and cooking. Glad you found us!


Karina Allrich said...

PS: And thanks, all, for the duck eggs tip. I will keep an eye out for duck eggs (maybe at Whole Foods in Santa Fe?).


Anonymous said...

As a new "gluten free" baker I LOVE your site; only problem is I can't find how to get printer friendly versions and go through all kinds of gyrations to copy the recipes....any way to get printer friendly versions?
Thanks so much! Donna

Amy said...

I tried this brownies just this past weekend for a birthday of a friend of mine. They were a huge hit! I used better instead of shortening, for the flavor, but I think next time, I would do half butter, half shortening. They're pretty altitude friendly too so that's really helpful for me here in Denver. Thanks for sharing this recipe. It is, by far, one of the best gluten free brownies that I have made!

Anonymous said...

I have tried this recipe twice now. I used butter instead of shortening and almond meal instead of pecan meal and they came out super dry and crumbly both times. The first time, I cooked them for 30 mins, the 2nd time for 20 mins. I don't get what I'm doing wrong. How can I make them gooey?


Karina Allrich said...

Anthea, Did you use solid chocolate (not powder)? I can only guess that perhaps the butter is less oily than the shortening I use. These were quite moist. Try a smaller pan, perhaps, or baking for less time. Or use the shortening I use. Karina

Karina Allrich said...

PS: I will also say that pecan meal is fattier and oilier than almond meal. I find almond meal much drier.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Karina, I did use solid chocolate and I used a 9x11 pan so they came out about 2cm thick. You're probably right about the pecan meal but I couldn't find it anywhere. And I can't quite bring myself to use vegetable shortening, it just doesn't seem natural. Would coconut oil or coconut butter work?

Karina Allrich said...

The shortening I use is Spectrum organic- from palm oil, no hydrogenated fats. I do think coconut oil/butter might also work. I make my own pecan meal by processing pecans in my food processor till they turn into a fine meal. They are definitely oilier than almonds, I find. The other suggestion is to try a smaller pan- an 8x8-inch pan will create a thicker brownie, which may help in your case. Your oven may also run hotter than mine (baking them faster- hence the dryness). You could also try adding more melted chocolate. Karina

Anthea said...

Great, thanks for the tips. I will give them another try :)

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