These healthy pumpkin brownies are a great way to enjoy a low-fat, low sugar treat with Fall's favorite vegetable!
I couldn't let pumpkin season pass by without serving up an associated brownie!
What kind of friendly food blogger would I be if I didn't, I ask you?
In our early years of marriage, when I worked at Whole Foods, my husband and I used to buy a gluten-free brownie mix from the store. Despite the sugar, I truly felt like I was making a healthier choice.
It's only been in more recent years that I've really started dealing with blood sugar issues, even when using unrefined sweeteners.
In the end, it's just not worth it for me to have much of any sweetener, so I've been on a mission to recreate my favorites without it.
How to make brownies with less sugar
A major key when baking with less sugar is texture.
You can't have a dry, tasteless cookie or brownie AND no sugar. Who wants to eat that??
In my retrained sweet tooth's opinion, you can kind of 'trick' yourself into thinking you're having a treat.
I've learned so many foods have a natural sweetness that shines through if you take the time to learn.
Oats, coconut, fresh fruit purees, cinnamon, vanilla...these all contribute to a great, lower sugar recipe, in terms of 'sweetness'.
Even though there is no added fat and very little added sweetener, this recipe rocks in terms of texture!
Can it be cakey, yet fudgy at the same time? That's how I'd describe these.
While I'm usually on team 'little to no leavening agent' for brownie recipes, I find that the addition of baking powder/soda is enough to combat what can be a bitter cocoa taste. It also gives the brownie just enough rise without falling into the 'cake' category.
If you're still retraining your sweet tooth and can't imagine a nearly sugar-free brownie, try telling yourself that it's chocolate 'bread'. That may get you over the initial 'hump' of trying a less sweet brownie.
How to serve pumpkin brownies
- I like to top this off with a drizzle of full-fat yogurt and a big sprinkle of cinnamon.
- A trick that may help with sweetness is to top it with your favorite chocolate chips. That way, you at least get that top layer of sweetness, and it helps with the transition to lower sugar eating.
- Add an almond butter drizzle made of almond butter (or my Peanut Butter Frosting!), coconut milk, and a small drizzle of honey! Layering can help greatly with lower sugar treats.
I like to use my Homemade Coconut Milk in this recipe.
You can omit the oat flour and use 3/4 cup spelt flour (total), if desired.
If you're not a fan of molasses, maple syrup or honey can be substituted.
Healthy Pumpkin Brownies (Less Sugar!)
- ½ cup spelt flour
- ¼ cup oat flour
- 5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅔ cup applesauce
- ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 Tablespoons coconut milk
- 15-20 drops liquid stevia
- ¼ cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flours, cocoa, baking powder/soda, salt).
- Add the wet ingredients directly into the same bowl, stirring until well combined (reserve the chocolate for the top, if desired).
- Once the batter puffs up a bit (about 30-60 seconds), stir it again to 'deflate' it.
- Oil an 8 x 8 baking dish.
- Pour the batter into the dish and spread it out evenly.
- Top with the chocolate.
- Bake 15-18 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Don't overbake them or they will be dry!
- Allow to cool, slice, and enjoy!
Shared with: Full Plate Thursday
Bake gluten free. Can spelt be replaced with brown rice or sorghum flour, thanks, Linda
I haven't tried these with either of those, so I'm not sure. I think Bob's Red Mill makes a 1-to-1 GF flour that subs well for wheat or spelt.
Thanks for posting about the sub for gf as I don’t eat gluten. Bob’s is what I use to bake. I’ll make your recipe now!
These do have gluten, as spelt flour is a species of wheat. You could try making them with all oat flour, but they will be a bit crumbly without gluten.
YUMMMMM!!! I too have been following your low sugar journey. It has been the best decision ive ever made diet wise and i have your delicious recipes to thank! Thank you Lauren!