If you think the term “healthy dessert” is an oxymoron, these Purely Fruit Sweetened Brownies just might change your mind. Better yet? They’re made with only six real food ingredients, and you can whip them up in no time at all. These fudgey brownies are packed with intense chocolatey flavor.

The main ingredient in these flourless gluten-free brownies is antioxidant rich dark (as in 100%, no sugar added!) chocolate. Dark chocolate contains small amounts of tannins, an antioxidant, to make it a little less naughty than regular chocolate.

This recipe is rounded out with eggs (high in protein) and coconut oil (rich in neuro-protective fats), along with dates, a bit of baking soda, and a good dose of vanilla –one of my favorite ingredients, vanilla makes everything taste better.

Purely Fruit Sweetened Brownies

  • 200 grams baking chocolate (unsweetened chocolate)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 200 grams pitted dates (about 10 dates)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. In a food processor, pulse chocolate and baking soda until texture of coarse sand
  2. Pulse in dates, then eggs, coconut oil and vanilla
  3. Transfer batter into a 20 x 20 centimeter baking dish
  4. Bake at 180°C/350°F for 26-30 minutes
  5. Cool for 1 hour
  6. Serve

The veritable icing on this healthy dark-chocolate dessert is that it’s not only gluten-free, it’s grain-free as well. Some might dare call it Paleo.

However, I’m not worried about the semantics of the healthy desserts I’ve been creating for over a decade. As always, I just want you to have something sweet after dinner, made of real food ingredients that won’t leave you with a high-carb hangover. So enjoy these Purely Fruit Sweetened gluten-free, grain-free brownies.

Check out my website for more vibrantly delicious, super simple, satisfyingly healthy recipes made with real food!  The site has tips for good living and over 700 gluten-free, grain-free recipes.

Elana Amsterdam

About the author

Wellness expert and gluten-free guru Elana Amsterdam is the New York Times best-selling author of the book Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry, and founder of the blog, where she shares simple, healthy recipes and lifestyle advice. Elana has written for Parents, Shape Magazine and Delicious Living, and has been featured in a variety of media outlets including Fortune Magazine, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Live. Her other books include The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook (Random House 2009) named one of the "Best Cookbooks of the Year" by The Denver Post, and Gluten Free Cupcakes (Random House 2011), a tome of enticing, yet healthy desserts. Elana has a BA in history from Columbia University. She now lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband of 18 years and her two teenage sons.

Elana Amsterdam's blog


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  • Mardi Michels

    Well now, these look so very decadent, yet they aren’t (really)! Love cakes sweetened with dates (nature’s candy!) and I am intrigued to try this flourless dessert for some of my gluten-free friends.

  • spas yankov

    love brownies,try them with brown sugar,oats …fingers crossed to hear as gluten-free brownie recipe to stay on te theme,so after all this brownies dont contain sugar,well thats great for people who dont like it.

  • Missy Hartmann

    I’d like to try these, but I do not use eggs. Would egg replacers be ok?

    • Guest

      Hi Missy,

      I haven’t tried making these brownies without eggs, and I’m not sure if that would work. If you do try it, will you please stop back by here on Jamie’s blog and let us know how it goes?


    • Elana’s Pantry

      Hi Missy,

      I haven’t tried making these brownies without eggs, and I’m not sure if that would work. If you do try it, will you please stop back by here on Jamie’s blog and let us know how it goes?



      • Missy Hartmann

        I will :-)

  • Navid

    Thanks, Jamie! : )

  • Torsten Fleischer

    wow – that sounds great! low recipes without flour! thx from berlin

  • Beulah

    Looks great but is there an alternative to coconut oil? It’s bit outside my budget.

    • Alessandra Petroni

      the same to me… here is hard to find coconut oil. Ideas?

      • Nathalie

        Butter should work just fine :)

        • Elana’s Pantry

          I haven’t tried making these with butter, but I bet it could work. If anyone tries it, please let us know how it goes :-)

      • Somer Jernigan

        Costco sells coconut oil, but it’s still about $22. I usually use homemade applesauce instead of oil, so I might try that.

        • Megan Mack

          I don’t think that applesauce would work as a replacement in this recipe.

        • Jude Morganson

          It will make it drier if you use apple sauce. Use Extra Virgin Olive oil – although it may not still have as nice a taste

          • Becky

            Use Butternut Squash and tasteless Veg Oil

          • Elana’s Pantry

            Wow, what an interesting idea. If you try it please let us know if it works.

          • Lauren Matheson

            For heaven’s sake do NOT use vegetable oil! That blows the notion of healthy right out of the water. Look at Asian or Caribbean markets for coconut products at much more reasonable prices than health food stores. The “virgin” stuff tastes like coconut, the cheaper stuff does not. Olive oil would work, so would a very pure lard (non-hydrogenated!). Butter or ghee might make these too rich. Or just cut them smaller :)

          • Becky

            I think a cold pressed virgin rapeseed oil would be great. I can locally source this too, there is nothing unhealthy about that!

  • sandy

    Solid or powder chocolate?

    • Elana’s Pantry

      Hi Sandy,

      This recipe calls for solid chocolate, it will not work with cacao powder.



      • sandy

        They. Were. Awesome.

        So glad I only made 13 of the recipe.

  • Karen

    Can we get a US measure for the chocolate? The recipe is a strange combination of metrics and US measures….1/2 tsp and 200 grams. Thanks.

    • Jude Morganson

      1/2 tsp is 1/2 a tsp – tspns are not a metric or imperial measurement. However, you can Google convert grams to ounces and it will give you the conversions

      • Karen

        I didn’t as about the tsp. Got that. I did as about the cocoa. Thanks. I’ll look it up.

    • Elizabeth Walton

      Invest in a digital scale? :-) Lindt and Ghirardelli bars are 100g each I think. I got two packets of Bakers Chocolate and both minus the last two rows was exactly 200 gr. (thank goodness – it is very hard to chop – almost killed the motor on my Cuisinart I think!)

  • ronak moussavi

    Would it still work if I replace Coconut Oil with Applesauce and add protein powder and walnut to it?

    • Guestie

      Only if you want a sugar headache! Coconut oil is a healthy fat – or substitute ghee/butter. The fats are necessary to slow down absorption of the carbs. Check out the book Eat Fat, Lose Fat for the whole story on the importance of fats.

    • Elana’s Pantry

      Hi Ronak,

      Unfortunately it is unlikely that applesauce will work in place of coconut oil in this recipe.



  • Margaret

    Just baked them. Absolutely delicious. Husband and four kids loved it. I am ready to bake the second batch already.

    • Elana’s Pantry

      Hi Margaret,

      I’m so glad you made these brownies already and that your family enjoyed!



  • Becky

    How many do these make.

    • Elana’s Pantry

      Hi Becky,

      This recipe makes 16 brownies. If you make it please let us know how it goes :-)



      • Becky

        I will!

  • Ellen Mini

    I am wondering if high quality bittersweet chocolate could be used for these and just omit or cut down on the dates? What are everyone’s thoughts on that?

  • Ellen Mini

    Trader Joe’s sells organic coconut oil for $5.99. It’s the most affordable one I have found, except for sales.

  • Elana’s Pantry

    Thanks :-)

  • Sandra L Mort

    Is there anything you can swap for the dates? They have such an overpowering flavor! :(

    • sandy

      I also made them with figs. They were good also, but they had that fig crunch.

      The original recipe with dates is awesome. No date flavor, just rich chocolate.

  • Charlotte

    Could you maybe substitute the coconut oil with rapeseed oil or maybe avocados?

  • Jules

    Just made them – they are so easy and really good! I used semi-sweet chocolate chips and it worked really well.

  • Malgorzata Haggu

    I love this recipe! I have too trie very soon!

  • Benedicte Symcox

    I’m taking the plunge, but would love confirmation…. 200g dates is a lot more than 10… 7 dates weighed 20g… I’ll go with the weight I think!

  • Christine Williams

    I made this today. A complete and utter success! Thank you.

  • danna

    I tried this recipe last night using my vitamix instead of a food processor (don’t have one) and it was a disaserous mess. I used 10 dried dates and the brownies were’nts eet at all. My husband said this was the worst recipee ver. I decided to try again today and burnt out my immersion blender on the processor attachment. Since i’m headed to the store for a replacement, can anyone suggest a processor? Also, should I get regular dates instead of dry or go by weight instead of number. I’m really trying ot maketh isw ork for a valantines recipeat work on Friday.

  • Jen

    I saw this recipe on your site and it called for almond flour but not on this recipe? I’m confused…is there a difference?

  • Amanda Lutty

    I tried them and they were great!! I tested it out as a cupcake first and they definitely have a very dark chocolate/bitter aftertaste. I love dark chocolate so I thought it was great, and my 4 year old loves them too. We’re paleo so she’s not used to super sweet desserts anyway. But I tried adding 2 tbsp of honey which took the edge off of the bitterness and it made them more appealing to non-paleo tastebuds. I’d like to try it again and just increase the number of dates to see if I can skip the honey.

    I’d also be interested in an egg-free version as I have a vegan friend and I’m always looking for recipes that are both paleo and vegan that we can share when we’re together :)

    • Kate

      Thanks for the suggestion of melting the chocolate. I tried putting it in the processor and just ending up with the kitchen covered in chocolate dust (and this is an expensive Kenwood processor…!)

  • Dana

    I made these over VD weekend since we’re on a diet. My husband really liked them and I thought they were good also. I baked for 26 min. I thought they were a bit dry (still great though!). Do you think adding a bit of extra coconut oil or applesauce could make them less dry? I love the fact that these are healthy and taste great. Of course, we were thinking they would go really good with some ice cream. LOL

  • Hatice Can

    Just baked them. Dates have sweeten them well. I used olive oil instead of coconut oil. Is there any option that we could make them healthier for diabetic?

  • Hatice Can

    Just baked them. Dates have sweeten them well. I used olive oil instead of coconut oil. Is there any option that we could make them healthier for diabetic?

  • Ingrid Pugh

    I tried making this recipe up twice and have burnt it each time in the oven. Could it be i am using a fan forced oven and that i don’t need to leave them in as long! Also i don’t end up with much brownie mixture either.

  • Linzi Barrow

    These are amazing and work everytime, thanks Elana

  • Veronika

    Just made these – substituted 1/3 of the chocolate chips with carob chip and folded in about half a cup of lightly toasted walnuts before baking. Deeee vine! Thank you!

  • Ava

    Form your pastry recipe I created mini cupcakes (of course, I reduce the
    baking time). They were delicious. I already made them two times, you
    can see them on my blog (the blog is in my native language, thou).

  • Elizabeth Walton

    Made these and my boys loved them…I thought they were a bit dry. Would baking them a bit less (I aimed for the middle of the time range) help that? They are a bit pricey to make compared to using cocoa powder, but I had dates on hand. Also, I used dried dates, which seemed to work, but it was way more than 10 dates.
    Also…next time I’ll make sure I add the liquid ingredients sooner as trying to chop sticky dates into hard chocolate almost killed my Cuisinart’s motor!

  • Georgios Georgiadis

    It is almost impossible for me to find baking(unsweetened) chocolate. Could you please suggest an alternative? My husband is diabetic and I am extremelly interested in this recipe, Could that be 100 gr semi sweet chocolate and the rest cocoa powder and maybe increase coconut oil?

    • Susanna

      Hi! I can’t either find unsweetened chocolate, so I melted some coconut butter (200g) and mixed that with cocoa powder. Then I put it in the freezer, enough to harden it. It worked for me. :)

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