Better-than-Starbucks’ Double Chocolate Brownies

Ooh I love this one! I’ve made things naturally sweetened, vegan, and all-over healthier before, but this time I’ve made it gluten free too! Yay!

You know how I love to ‘make over’ Starbucks treats:

Well, this one is my favourite one yet! On Tuesday, when discussing the things I am most excited about right now, I teased you guys with this photo of a recipe I promised to share with you on Friday:

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Well, it’s Friday, and I keep my promises :).

But I also asked, on Twitter, Facebook and the blog, what you guys thought it was. I guess my photography wasn’t fooling anyone because most of you got brownies right away, and a lovely reader called Janice even successfully guessed the secret ingredient in these babies!

Did I lose you with the chickpeas?

Chickpeas don’t taste as ‘beany’ as black beans, and people make brownies with black beans all the time! I promise you won’t taste them! Just stay with me here…

Let’s round up the goodness that is these wonderful treats:

  • low calorie (266 calories per brownies compared to Starbucks’ 410 calories!)
  • dairy free (they do contain eggs, but if anyone wants to try them with flax/chia eggs let me know how it works!)
  • lower fat (15.7g in mine compared to 24g in Starbucks)
  • high protein (7g per brownie)
  • high fibre (6.4g per brownie – more than double Starbucks’ 3g!)
  • naturally sweetened
  • gluten free

I felt bad for putting my mom through my cleanse with me – she didn’t actually do the cleanse with me of course, but I requested that there be as few treats as possible around the apartment while I was detoxing so that I wouldn’t be tempted! So when my cleanse ended I asked her what she most enjoys splurging on when she goes to Starbucks. Her answer? Their Double Chocolate Brownies.

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One thing this cleanse got me really into is gluten-free baking. In general I try to avoid gluten when possible – I’m not sensitive to it but I feel as though we have way too much of it in our lives (try reading Wheat Belly, it’s a great read!).

However, I usually don’t bother about avoiding gluten when I eat out, or when I bake treats. But this time I really wanted to put this newfound gluten-free baking knowledge to the test.

Of course, after 33 days of cleansing, my tastebuds were not the most discerning. I would have enjoyed ANYthing that even looked like chocolate, even if it tasted more like mud. So I turned to some trusty taste testers for some feedback on these brownies. Everyone enjoyed them, but here are some notes if you are planning on feeding these to people who don’t have quite the same tastebuds as us ‘special diet’ lovers :).

  • If the texture of these brownies is too ‘gluten free’ – the coconut flour is a bit like rice flour in that it can render the texture slightly powdery – then nix the coconut flour altogether and use almond flour for the whole amount of total flours
  • If you want to make this non gluten free, please bear in mind that I have not done this myself, but give it a go by starting out with 1/2 cup wheat flour instead of replacing the whole 3/4 cups. Then if the mixture seems too wet add more. You can also reduce the applesauce to keep the balance in check.
  • If you have people that like things really sweet, increase the maple syrup quantity to 3/4 cup or even 1 cup.
  • To make it vegan, give it a try with flax/chia eggs instead of regular eggs. I haven’t tried this myself, but let me know if it works out!
  • Feel free to throw in add-ins such as nuts or extra chocolate chips. You can also add some peppermint essence to the batter for mint brownies, or coffee granules for espresso brownies!

Now that you’re sufficiently impressed by the health benefits, let’s go on to the taste…well, obviously I can’t SHOW you the taste, but I can try my darndest to make you feel it with some photo overload!

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That’s not enough, surely?

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Let’s eyeball that texture, shall we?

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Okay, okay, I’ll leave you alone now. Here’s the recipe…

Better-than-Starbucks’ Double Chocolate Brownies (gluten-free!)

INGREDIENTS (makes 9 large brownies):

1 cup chickpeas
3 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup coconut butter
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup 70% or darker chocolate chunks/chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a square brownie pan.

2. Blend chickpeas in a blender. Add eggs, maple syrup, applesauce and vanilla, blend till smooth.

3. Add coconut butter and blend till smooth.

4. Combine flours and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl.

5. Pour in liquid mixture from blender, stir until combined.

6. Fold in chocolate chunks or chips and pour batter into greased pan. It was quite thick for me so I spread it out with a spatula.

7. Bake for 40-45 minutes. I like mine extra soft in the centre so I baked just 40 minutes.

8. LET COOL. With these brownies, being gluten-free, they’ll fall apart if you don’t let them cool first. Then slice into squares and enjoy the fudgy goodness!

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Nutritional information per brownie if makes 9:

266 kcals
15.7g fat
28.8g carbohydrates
6.4g fibre
7g protein 


  1. omg, I loooove the pictures!! the texture of your brownies just looks perfect! 😀

  2. Ohh I can’t wait to try these! I made brownies the other day, which I absolutely loved (they were gluten free, dairy free, wheat free, high protein etc. too!), and the following day, I went as far as trying black bean brownies – eek! Not a fan.. But I will definitely try these and let you know 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Clare – I just took a look at your blog, it looks fab! I’m going to go check it out in more detail in a second. Thanks for commenting!

      I PROMISE you won’t taste the beans in these. It’s like, beans, what beans?? Haha. I just wish I could have printed the recipe without revealing they have beans in because if you don’t know you won’t even think about it! x

  3. oh my god. these look absolutely fantastic! i want one now and its 6 in the morning! here’s the thing though – i don’t have a lot of these ingredients….but it may be worth the investment!!! girl, this is getting Pinned!

    • Aw you Pinned me? I’m so honoured!

      There’s a lot of subs you can do Sara. If you don’t want gluten-free, try it with my wheat flour suggestion, just 1/2 cup to start and increase if it’s too wet. If you don’t have coconut butter use any solid fat – plain butter or margarine should work. I KNOW you have chickpeas; you love ’em like I do haha!

      Any liquid sweetener would also probably work. Agave, for example, should work great though it may make them a little bit cakier (fluffier) rather than dense.

  4. Oh wow, these look GOOD! I used to get those brownies all of the time when I was younger! I would love them to try them out myself now 🙂

  5. These look so amazing! I just ate breakfast and find myself hungry again and for some chocolate! Amazing pics to make me really drool girl, lol.

    Happy Weekend! ❤

  6. These look AMAZING Anna! I love all the ingredients!! I have so many new recipes that I want to try, but I’m definitely going to add these to the list! YUM!

  7. 😀 Im going to try these! Im sure it will taste delicious! I love chickpeas… I’ve been wanting to try and make a healthier brownie with more natural ingredients lately but most of the time they require tofu… here is my chance!! 😀

    Also, can you use coconut butter instead? I want to know if there is a difference because I can only find coconut oil 😦

    • Psychic Janice lol! No idea how you guessed chickpeas! I could see you guessing black beans but when you guessed chickpeas I was blown away lol!

      No tofu or soy in these suckers! I hope you enjoy. I actually consider coconut butter = solid coconut oil. It just means you don’t melt the oil. Otherwise you can use any kind of solid fat such as margarine or butter!

  8. Yum, looks fab! I’ll have to try with the chickpeas!

  9. OH just in time for valentines! These look fabulous and I love that ingredients list! Way to go!

  10. Hi Anna!
    These look soooo amazing! Chickpeas are so awesome. 🙂

  11. I’m in love over here girl!!!! Ok, I’ve done blackbeans, but never chickpeas!! AMAZING!!!

    Have an amazing Friday! I have to go get some more coconut oil so I can rock these out!! BOOM!


  12. Great recipe girly!!! Love the mix of healthy flours and the inclusion of chickpeas is genius 🙂

  13. Oh my lordy those look amazing! Got to love a bean that you can put in anything! 🙂 Great pictures!!

  14. This is the first time I’ve been to your blog, and let me just say that you really couldn’t have timed this post aaany better. Straight up the page is loading…loading…and then BOOM gooeeeey, soft, brownies in my face. You’ve definitely got a new follower haha! Can’t wait to try these out. And good for you for sticking to that detox, that couldn’t have been easy to do!!

  15. Even my mother who likes her food pretty calorific and fat-laden (her words not mine!) has said that she would love to give these a go, they look so so good! She’d also like me to add that she is also very slim and fit (and she’s sitting right next to me at the moment).

  16. Gluten free chocolate brownies?! I used to love the brownies at Starbucks, but now having to follow a completely GF diet, and choosing to eat vegan, I haven’t had one in forever!! Thank you for sharing this!!!! 🙂

  17. Oh good lord I am drooling. I so need to learn to bake!
    Pinning this!


  1. […] crazy…half a cup has more than 8g of protein, for a start. I discovered this when making my Better-than-Starbucks’ Double Chocolate Brownies, which were protein-rich not only because of the secret ingredient (chickpeas, ssh!) but also […]

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