2020 Updated Recipe: I love the original recipe of these, but I wanted to make these brownies more fudgy and chewy and less cakey. I want to sit down with a cold glass of milk when I’m eating my brownies, and these are absolutely perfect for that. If you prefer a lighter brownie with slightly less calories, see the notes below the recipe card for the original recipe!
I love brownies. A lot. There are few things better than a soft, fudgy, chewy brownie. That’s why I always go for the center of a fresh batch- I don’t want a crispy crust, I want my brownie to be soft and gooey all around!
Well, this recipe promises exactly that. Soft, full of chocolate, chewy, and dense. Sit down with one or two of these brownies and a cold glass of milk, and you’ll be set. Plus, you’ll be getting in as much protein as a protein bar!
Each brownie contains…
105 calories, 5g fat, 3g net carbs, and 11g protein!!
And did I mention these are flourless AND gluten-free?!
Yup, you can enjoy these if you’re gluten-free OR keto.
I promise you, these taste just like the real thing. Feed these to any brownie lover (kids included) and I bet they would never know the difference.
The Main Ingredients
The base of this recipe is going to be chocolate whey protein, peanut butter, and canned pumpkin. There are other ingredients included, but these are the major players. And since I always get substitution questions, I want to address the main ones up front:
Chocolate protein powder: You should be able to use any chocolate whey protein you have. I used Bowmar Nutrition Protein Hot Chocolate powder in this recipe, because it’s what I happen to have right now. Another whey protein should work, although I can’t guarantee results. The most important thing is that you like the flavor of your protein! If you hate your protein powder, it’s going to overpower the flavor of these.
I haven’t tested with a whey/casein mix, or a non-dairy powder, but it may be worth giving it a shot.
Peanut butter: You might be tempted to swap this out for alternatives such as PB2 (powdered peanut butter), but I don’t recommend it. I understand wanting to save even more calories, but these macros are already awesome, and I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the authentic brownie texture that the fat provides us. You can definitely swap another nut butter like almond or cashew butter, though. If you insist on using a powdered peanut butter, just make sure you are including extra liquid to compensate.
Pumpkin: Pumpkin puree (or canned pumpkin) is also vital. It sounds weird, I know, but it’s one of the main pieces of this recipe that keeps the brownies nice and gooey. Don’t omit it. Trust me, I don’t even love the taste of pumpkin, but you won’t taste it in your brownies, I promise! You might be able to swap it out for applesauce if it’s all you have, but the result might be a little more cakey and less dense.
Other recommended ingredients
There are more ingredients to this recipe other than what I listed above, and while you don’t need to use any specific brands for any of the remaining ingredients, there are two that I highly recommend:
- Swerve Sweeteners: I have absolutely no affiliation with Swerve, I just love them as a sugar substitute. You can use any sugar or substitute you’d like in this recipe, but Swerve is by far my favorite and I just buy right from Amazon.
- Lily’s Baking Chips: Any chocolate chips will work in this recipe, but Lily’s has a semi-sweet chocolate chip with 0g sugar that I use as my secret weapon. You can use the store locator on their website to find where you can grab these chips! We’re going to melt the chocolate to stir into the batter, but the beauty of these chips being low calorie and sugar-free is that you can toss extra chips right into your batter for an even richer chocolate flavor.
I used an 8×8 baking dish for these, and you should try to do the same. A larger pan will lead to much thinner brownies, which totally defeats the purpose.
And if you want the original recipe with only 90 calories per brownie and a slightly less dense result, check out the notes following the recipe!
Don't forget to check out my recipe books if you enjoy my recipes. There are plenty of recipes in there for chocolate lovers!
Macros for each brownie (recipe makes 9):
*3g Fiber & only 1g Sugar!
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Using a hand mixer, mix together your eggs, vanilla extract, brown sugar, peanut butter, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree. If you don’t have an electric mixer, use a whisk and make sure everything is mixed well.
- In a separate bowl, mix together your dry ingredients. Combine the cocoa power, chocolate whey protein, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and mix well.
- Slowly add your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients a little bit at a time until you have a nice smooth batter.
- In a small bowl, at your chocolate chips. Microwave for 15-20 seconds, enough to melt the chocolate. We want it to be melted and soft, but not hot. This is important. If the chocolate is hot, it is going to solidify once it touches the cool batter. If the chocolate is too hot, let it cool for a few minutes. Once cool, add to your batter and mix in.
- Generously spray an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray, pour your batter in and add to the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes. As oven temperatures tend to vary, you may need an additional 5 minutes. I pulled mine at exactly 30 minutes and they were very soft, but that was the texture I was looking for. They’ll continue to cook a bit more in the pan once they’re pulled from the oven. Slightly undercooked is always better than slightly overcooked with high-protein baked goods, in my experience.
- Let cool for about 20-30 minutes to allow the brownies to fully set. Slice into 9 brownies and enjoy! Don’t get too eager and cut the brownies right out of the oven- they need this time to set or they’ll be too soft and fall apart.
- These are best fresh out of the oven, but can be kept in an air-tight container and enjoyed throughout the week.
Notes for substitutions:
- When it comes to liquid sweeteners, you can use regular maple syrup, agave, honey… but as always, it will change up the macros.
- Nobody ever complained about TOO MUCH chocolate. Feel free to add some extra chocolate chips to your batter!
- Want to make a lighter brownie with 90 calories, 4g fat, 3g net carbs and 10g protein? Follow the recipe above, but make the following ingredient tweaks: lower the peanut butter to 32g (2 tbsp), lower the cocoa powder to 10g total, bump the brown sugar to 80g total.