A brownie is only as good as it’s texture, and these babies hit the mark. I wanted them to be a mix of fudgy and cakey, because that’s how I roll with my brownies, yo. If we wanted cake we would make cake, and if we wanted fudge we would make fudge. Am-I-right or am-I-right? Not only are these brownies the best of both worlds, but they are also a tad bit springy / spongey…and coconut free!
They are also egg-free, nut-free, and dairy-free…whoop whoop! If you use carob powder in place of cocoa powder, they are AIP-friendly, too. Carob generally swaps 1:1 in recipes calling for cocoa, which is great for anti-inflammatory diets. My favorite carob comes from Bob’s Red Mill. It is nicely toasted and rich, but not overly bitter. My go-to cocoa powder is Anthony’s…it’s got just the right amount of bitter you would expect for dark-chocolatey confections, and it’s deep flavor is absolutely luxurious. I use it blended in my decaf coffee in the morning along with collagen for a fabulous mocha latte.
Tapioca starch, Anthony’s Tiger Nut Flour (which is the moistest and finest-ground of its kind that I’ve found), along with pumpkin puree all work together to create a scrumptious and delectable treat. The tapioca helps make it fluffy, the tiger nut flour gives it some depth and texture, and the pumpkin acts as a binder as well as gives the brownies a ton of moisture. Palm shortening and gelatin partner up to lend a lightness and help it to bake up a little bit puffy-like.
The trick to any brownie is not to under-bake or over-bake. Under-baking will result in a loose brownie that doesn’t hold its shape, and over-baking will lend a dry confection that you can use as a projectile weapon in case of zombie-emergencies. Moral of the brownie story is: check your brownie before you think it’s done, and if it needs more baking, only cook a little bit longer at a time before checking again. Oven temps can vary so that’s why I usually leave a time frame in my baked goodies recipes.
I found the “clean toothpick” method doesn’t check out for testing the doneness of brownies, really. I like to look at the top center of the batch during cooking to see if it has dried / crusted over. As soon as it looks dry and set in the middle-top, they should be done. Since this batter is so thick, there really won’t be much jiggling going on in the first place, so the jiggle-test isn’t foolproof here either.
I don’t mean to intimidate you with these tips, though! These brownies are super duper easy to whip up and came out perfectly the first time I made them. They are easy to hold, don’t fall apart when picking them up, and easy to carry around with you and nibble on without leaving a trail of cocoa-crumbles behind. They hold their own but are still moist enough to be called fudgy-cakey-spongey.
- 1/3 cup tapioca starch
- 1/3 cup Anthony's Tiger Nut Flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (sub carob for AIP)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tb gelatin
- 1/8 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup palm shortening, melted, plus more for greasing
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (use alcohol-free for AIP)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- coarse sea salt for topping, optional
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- Sift the first four ingredients together into a medium mixing bowl.
- Add the gelatin and salt to the flour mixture, and mix well with a fork.
- Make a well in the center and add in the pumpkin, shortening, vanilla and maple syrup.
- Stir the wet ingredients together first in the center, then stir into the dry until a smooth batter forms.
- Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish with a slather of shortening.
- Use a spatula to evenly spread the brownie batter into the prepared dish, and smooth the top.
- Sprinkle a tiny bit of coarse sea salt over the top if desired.
- Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until center top looks dry and set. Overcooking will result in dryer, harder brownies, so check at 22 minutes to see if they are done before cooking any further.
- Cool completely and entirely before cutting to avoid crumbling. This step is necessary, and allows the brownies to further set and firm up all the way. (You can always re-warm your brownie later for nomming.)
- Delicious served with my dairy-free Mexican "Chocolate" Ice Cream and topped with strawberries! Brownie banana-split sundae, anyone?