These brownie cookies are moist, fudgy, and soft, while also being healthy! It's low in added sugar (plus has no refined sugar), flourless, and high in healthy fats (so they keep you full)!
Some recipes make it here with few trials, while others take much longer to perfect. Because you know I wouldn't post a recipe unless I'm sure it's just right.
These brownie cookies definitely took more trials, but I am proud to say these are the best healthy brownie cookies I've ever eaten. 100% worth all that testing!
They're high in fiber and healthy fats to keep you full and satisfied, and much lower in added sugar than most I've seen! Plus, they're completely flourless (not even almond flour!) and gluten free!
They're also incredibly fudgy and soft, and not dense at all! My sister, who is very picky about cookies said that they are the best cookies she's ever had.
Definitely a proud moment for me😂
Brownies and cookies are two of my favorite desserts. When combined, they are EVERYTHING. If you love cookies and brownies, this recipe is sure to be a keeper.
Ingredients in Healthy Brownie Cookies
The "traditional" brownie cookie usually has refined sugar, butter, and flour. While it's okay to have these on occasion, it's not ideal. To make these cookies healthy, we won't use any of them!
I used 3 types of sugar in this recipe, which may seem like a lot, but I promise they all have a purpose!
My favorite natural sweetener by far is medjool dates. It's a whole fruit with many nutrients, and not considered as added sugar by the FDA (meaning it's even better than maple syrup or honey!).
Make sure you get medjool dates, not regular dates. Medjool dates have a rich, sweet, caramel-like flavor like none other. Because of how similar the taste is to sugar, you can't even tell the difference!
I use medjool dates in all of these recipes because of it's unique flavor and health benefits. If you haven't tried it, I can't recommend it enough!
Tip: if your dates are dry, soak them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes to soften. This isn't always necessary, but they blend better when soft.
Although honey isn't as healthy as dates, it's still a much better alternative to processed white sugar. It has antioxidants, and is completely natural.
I prefer honey to maple syrup or regular sugar because it is much sweeter. I find that you need to use much less of it to get the same results. And I think we can all agree less sugar for the same taste is always a good thing.
Pure Cane Sugar
Pure cane sugar is basically just sugar, but unrefined. It's not as healthy as honey or dates, but it's only 3-4 tablespoons.
If you don't like/want to use cane sugar, you can also use regular brown sugar. I have not tried coconut sugar in this recipe yet, but I think it will work well.
You can also try using more honey in its place, but again I haven't tried it.
This time there's two butter substitutes! Butter is very high in calories and saturated fat, with little nutritional value. Instead, I've replaced it with healthy fats!
I do not believe in using just applesauce, sweet potatoes, or fat free alternatives completely in replacement of butter (don't get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with using those with other fats too).
No matter how much you claim it tastes the same, it doesn't. You need fat for richness and fudginess! And there are many fats out there that are really good for you. Don't be afraid of fat!
I just started using cashew butter in recipes pretty recently, and it has been a complete game changer. I don't know why I didn't start sooner!
Cashew butter has a similar texture to peanut butter, but without a nutty taste. While there's nothing wrong with a peanut butter cookie, it's not necessarily what I want in every recipe. If you want a peanut butter flavor or don't have cashew butter, you can substitute it.
Cashew butter also has a very similar nutrition profile to peanut butter. It packs in plenty of fiber and lots of protein, but most importantly, healthy fats! They make cashew butter just as rich regular butter, but much better for you. These healthy fats keep you full and satisfied, so you are much less likely to overeat!
This has been one of my favorite baking ingredients for quite some time now. Unlike most vegetable and seed oils (like canola), avocado oil is not chemically processed and contains healthy unsaturated fats and omega-3s.
It has a very similar nutrition profile to olive oil, but it has a more neutral taste. Olive oil can be substituted instead, but I recommend using light-tasting ones.
Avocado oil actually makes baked goods even moister and fudgier than butter! You won't miss the butter with the cashew butter and avocado oil.
Like the name suggests, this recipe has no flour at all! Flour usually acts as a binder in cookies or brownies, to hold everything together. There are a few healthy ingredients that replace it here.
Surprise! Not only does cashew butter add healthy fats in replace of butter, it also acts as a flour replacement!
I know it sounds kinda strange because cashew butter is nothing like flour, but it really works! Cashew butter is very thick, so it binds the ingredients very well.
I use this ingredient a LOT in my recipes, and for a good reason. Flaxseed meal is just ground up flax seeds, and commonly used as an egg replacement when mixed with water. But it does so much more than that!
I like to use it dry, to help bind without flour. But here's where the difference is: Flour tends to dry things out because it has no fat and no moisture. Flaxseed meal, on the other hand (and nut butter), contains more moisture and healthy fats so that your cookie holds together without drying out!
The health benefits of flaxseed meal include healthy unsaturated fats, omega-3s, fiber, and protein! And in case you're wondering, it's not one of those things that you use once and don't have a use for anymore. There are so many ways to use it! See all my recipes with flax for some ideas!
Other Helpful Ingredients
While the sugar, butter, and flour are main components of a cookie, there are other important and essential ingredients in this recipe.
Eggs: eggs are important not only to act as a binder, but also to keep these cookies soft and fluffy. Sometimes making a date paste can make baked goods a little dense, so it is important to use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and whip in some air.
Bonus: eggs are also high in protein!🎉
Cocoa powder: so this is pretty obvious, but still super important! For rich, chocolaty goodness.
Instant espresso powder: totally optional, but enhances the flavor of the chocolate. You can also use decaf.
Salt + vanilla: these are essential in almost any baked good because they really enhance the flavor! You can actually notice a difference between cookies with and without them. Without these, the flavors fall flat and become a little bland.
Baking powder: this is super important for soft cookies, and so they won't be dense. For this recipe, baking powder works better than baking soda because it has more structured air pockets.
Chocolate chips: I highly recommend using dark chocolate because of it's more intense flavor, and less sugar! In the recipe I wrote it as optional. While they still taste amazing without, chocolate chips really bring these to another level.
I really hope you like this recipe! If you decide to make it, be sure to post a picture and tag me @nutritiousdelights on Instagram--I'd love to see it!💕
More recipes you might love:
Healthy Flourless Brownie Cookies!
- 1 ¾ cup (packed) medjool dates, pitted about 20
- ½ cup cashew butter natural*
- 7 tablespoons avocado oil*
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 3-4 tablespoons cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal finely ground
- 1 ⅛ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder optional
- ¼ teaspoon salt* depending on how salty the nut butter is
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips optional
- Soak the dates in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain water.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spray with oil. Set aside.
- In a food processor, process the soaked dates, cashew butter, oil, honey, vanilla, and sugar until very smooth "paste" forms. Transfer to a large bowl. Add one egg and beat it into the date paste with an electric whisk (high speed). Then beat in the second egg. Beat it well to make it lighter and airier, about 1-2 minutes.
- Sift in all the dry ingredients: flaxseed meal, cornstarch, baking powder, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt. Fold into the wet ingredients and add chocolate chips if using.
- Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of batter and place on the prepared baking sheet. Press it into a circle shape with the back of a spoon. Repeat until the tray is full, then bake for 10 minutes. They will be fairly tall. Bang against a countertop or sturdy surface a few times until they flatten slightly. Bake for another 4-5 minutes. Let them cool on a cooling rack, or eat them right away.