Almond Butter Amaretto Brownies (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

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Ever since I was forced to go low carb, I’ve been on the hunt for a truly great, fudgey low carb, gluten free brownie recipe. It isn’t as simple as you might think. It isn’t just a matter of substituting almond flour for regular flour and low carb sweetener for sugar. Gluten and sugar combine in a seemingly magical way that allows for a crispy top and a gooey center that’s hard to replicate in their absence. I’ve tried a number of recipes and a lot of them end up more cakey than fudgey. Others use cream cheese to make them fudgey, but then to me they taste slightly more like cheesecake. They all have pretty good flavour, but they just aren’t what I am looking for.

A few weeks ago, I typed in “flourless brownies” instead of “low carb brownies” and got a whole new set of ideas. There were many hits for the ubiquitous black bean brownies, but black beans are hardly low carb so I wasn’t going down that road. But then I came across THIS recipe, which struck me as quite smart. There are flourless peanut butter cookies…why not spread similar batter in a pan and make them into brownies!?!? And why didn’t I think of that? They certainly looked rich and chocolatey and fudgey. Would they be as good with erythritol in place of the honey?

First, I had to get my hands on some almond butter. I had a little homemade in the fridge, but didn’t feel up to the task of making more just to make these brownies. As I happened to be hitting Trader Joe’s, I figured I’d pick some up there. I haven’t really liked Trader Joe’s Almond Butter in the past, and preferred my own. But this time, I picked up one that had roasted flax seeds in it as well, and from the moment I opened the jar, I knew there was a huge difference. It had a richer, more complex flavour and I liked it a lot more than the others I’ve tried. The roasted flax seeds add both flavour and nutrition, so you really can’t go wrong.

I also knew I’d be making more changes to this recipe than just subbing in erythritol for the honey. First off, as honey is a liquid, I needed something to make up some of the lost moisture, so I settled on greek yogurt. And where the recipe said to add in water if the batter seemed dry, I went with almond milk. I also decided to really amp up the almond flavour with a little almond extract. And glaze…to make them really appetizing, brownies need glaze. In keeping with the almond theme, I flavoured the glaze with some amaretto, and sprinkled some toasted sliced almonds on top.

The Results: First, let’s discuss flavour. The flavour of these brownies is wonderful. Intensely chocolate, but with a lovely hint of almond/amaretto that doesn’t overpower. Now, let’s discuss texture. Yes, these are definitely fudgey and dense. They don’t have that crispy/fudgey thing going on that you get with flour-and-sugar brownies, but that might just be something that’s impossible to achieve with low carb ingredients. I did find the edges of these a bit on the dry side, but once you were 1/2 an inch in towards the center, they were lovely and moist. I think the dryness on the edges can’t really be helped, and if you were to try to underbake these, you’d get a gooey mess. The glaze certainly helps to add to the flavour and the consistency, and the crunch of the toasted almonds on the top was great.

There are some things I might do differently next time. First, I might increase the batter by about 50%, to get a thicker brownie. Obviously, this would change the baking time by at least a few minutes. I would also line the pan with a parchment sling, so I could lift the whole thing out. That way, I could cut off that little edge that was a bit too dry and then spread the rest with glaze. Center bits for everyone!

Almond Butter Amaretto Brownies

Brownies:
1 cup almond butter
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
2 large eggs
2 tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
25 drops stevia extract

Glaze:
1/4 cup butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp powdered erythritol
3 tbsp cocoa powder
16 drops stevia extract
2 tbsp amaretto liqueur
1/2 tsp vegetable oil

Garnish:
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

For the brownies, preheat oven to 325F and grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, beat together almond butter, greek yogurt, cocoa powder and erythritol until combined. Beat in eggs, almond milk, almond extract, salt and stevia.

Spread in prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until just set in center. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan.

For the glaze, melt butter, chocolate and erythritol in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in cocoa powder. Whisk in stevia and amaretto until combined. It will thicken slightly, so stir in vegetable oil to smooth it back out.

Spread glaze on cooled brownies. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Serves 16. Each brownie has a total of 6.4g of carbs and 3.4g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3g.

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Comments

  1. thelittleloaf says

    These look so fudgey and delicious – I'm amazed that there's no sugar in them! I love the idea of using almond butter and although it will be hard to tear myself away from my favourite brownie recipe, I'm bookmarketing this for a coeliac friend who will die and go to heaven when she hears about these!

  2. The Mom Chef says

    I don't think there is any blog I pass around to my friends more than yours. There are so many people who are developing gluten allergies around me and no one is as ingenious or creative at turning high carb/gluten foods into low or free versions. This is another example. Fantastic.

  3. Cookin' Canuck says

    It sounds as though all you hard work paid off. These look so fudge-y and satisfying. The next time I'm near a Trader Joe's, I am going to look for that almond butter with flax seeds.

  4. RavieNomNoms says

    You are fantastic Caroyln! These look so great. I am so impressed with all the recipes you come up with. These brownies are a definite must try. I was just at Trader Joe's, what was the almond butter you used called? I'd love to try it

  5. Divya Yadava says

    Carolyn, I'm always amazed by how you come up with the best low-carb recipes! This one would be perfect with an afternoon coffee.

  6. Erin says

    What a great job Carolyn! The icing on top looks delicious. Glad you finally found something is closer to what you are looking for!

  7. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says

    I like that Trader Joe's Almond butter with the flax seeds too! Sounds like a great addition to these brownies.

  8. Cake Duchess says

    You are so creative with all your GF baking. It's impressive. I would be thrilled with all those flavors GF or not:)xx

  9. Jacqueline - The Dusty Baker says

    Beautiful recipe! And I call that Trader Joe's almond butter "crack butter" – if it's in my kitchen, I have no choice but to eat it daily until it's gone.

    I can almost smell them from here!

  10. Becky says

    These GF brownies are the best. I'm bookmarking these babies. I have to look for that almond butter at TJ's.
    Thank you for all of your hard work and persistent.

  11. MikeVFMK says

    Carolyn, what's not to like about this? Nothing. It looks delicious and my mouth is literally starting to water. Another winner!

  12. Katherine Martinelli says

    Wow! I think you should market these – low carb, gluten free brownies that look and taste this amazing??? I love that there's almond butter in there too. Great recipe. I'm trying to be a bit more mindful of carbs so definitely bookmarking this.

  13. kita says

    OMG, brownies. I can't imagine how hard it must be on the quest for the perfect one for you. These do look like they came out rather deliciously though (I'd rather the chewy fudgy center then the crispy edge anyway) 😉

  14. geokatgirl says

    simpatico! I just made a fudge paleo brownie last night using almond butter.

    I like the addition of Greek yogurt in yours, and the glaze. The ones i made last night need something.

  15. Karen says

    All you need to say is Amaretto and I'm there! These look so rich and chocolatey. The glaze and topping of almonds really does put it over the top. Great brownies!

  16. Lynn says

    These sound amazing! I had a great GF brownie at a flea market once, there was definitely almond flour in it, but I could never figure out the rest and they would not share the recipe. I can't wait to try this!

  17. Anonymous says

    I made brownies using coconut manna as the base this weekend. I used the tropical traditions coconut cream recipe with the modifications suggested by a commenter on the site: sub honey with water, extra egg, xylitol and stevia. It came out really tasty, although I undercooked it.

    So I'm excited to see your recipe because 1) coconut cream is so expensive and 2) greek yogurt and almond milk sound so much richer than plain water.

  18. Terra says

    Holy cats! You always make me excited to try a new gluten free treat:-) These brownies look like chocolatey happiness! Hugs, Terra

  19. says

    I made these with sour cream instead of greek yogurt, and while it was super delicious, it wouldn’t set no matter how long I cooked it! I ate it like a lush caramel pudding. :)

    I’ll have to try again with less liquid or maybe an extra egg, because I think the sour cream can work. I have a hard time finding *real* greek yogurt that’s low enough in carbs to qualify, and I love the cultured zero-lactose sour cream I can get nearby.

    • Carolyn says

      I would have thought the sour cream would work too! Try a little almond flour as well, that might help set it more. Maybe 1/4 or 1/2 a cup?

      • says

        Yeah, I would think sour cream would work as well. The other difference was that I used granulated Splenda, as I didn’t have erythritol at the time. Still, I don’t see that that would have made a difference in the brownies’ ability to set. *headscratch*

        Regardless, I can’t wait to try this one again. I used a chocolate-raspberry flavor liquid stevia and the taste was delightful.

        So yeah, something dry I suppose. I could try hazelnut flour. I am also tempted to toss in some egg white protein and/or whey protein to see if it adds more chewiness.

        I’ll report back!

        • says

          Results: I used an extra Tbsp of cocoa powder and I also added 1/4 cup egg white protein. Texture was *amazing*, though more like flourless chocolate cake than brownies. I’m not going to complain, because it set beautifully.

          The other difference I only just realized, from the way you made yours, is that I used an 8×4 loaf pan lined with parchment, in order to get thicker brownies. So the fact that my original experiment didn’t set at all may have a lot more to do with the size of pan I used.

          This second experiment was under-sweet, so I think simply adding a little more sweetener (I used erythritol this time) would finish the job.

          Thanks for hearing me out — I love your blog and get so much inspiration from the things you do. :)

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