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Use caution.

These brownies deserve double-black-diamond-dessert status. This is a warning to amateur chocolate eaters. Proceed at your own risk.

I better explain. First off, these little gems are gluten-free and vegan. Yeah! But there’s more to the story. They’re not sugar-free, bean-free, guilt-free, caffeine-free, or buzz-free. But look at them, aren’t they gorgeous? Holiday sweetness packed into one-inch-thick chocolatey goodness, my contribution to this week’s Gluten Free Progressive Dessert Party that Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang is hosting. (See below for links to a whole week’s worth of gluten-free goodies.)

This brownie recipe is from the cookbook, Babycakes NYC. I followed the recipe step by step, with two exceptions. Three if you count adding my own home-made frosting. I cut back on the vanilla as mine is fairly strong and I switched out the pan choice. I didn’t have mini-muffin tins or a square baking pan (how can that be), so I used a 15 x 10 x 1 inch shallow sheetcake pan. That worked fine, but I had to alter the baking time and the temperature. Once finished, the thin little brownies looked a bit whimpy, so I figured I’d dress them up. What’s a girl to do when something looks plain? Add more sweet, frilly stuff. Accessorize!

The girls at Babycakes have come up with some absolutely divine, health conscious treats and I thank Erin and Emily for the use of this brownie recipe. I’ve heard the mini-muffin tin versions they sell at the NYC bakery are nearly impossible to keep in the case. People love them. This is one of the few recipes in the cookbook that calls for sugar, most of the others are refined sugar-free. All are vegan and most are also gluten-free. If you have multiple food sensitivities, happen to find yourself in NYC and are craving a special treat, visit Babycakes. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to cupcake heaven.

Babycakes brownies
what you need

1 cup garbanzo-fava bean flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for the muffin tins or the sheet-cake pan
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used my own home-made version)
1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (the Babycakes recipe calls for 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup hot water or coffee (I used coffee)
1 cup gluten-free, vegan chocolate chips

what you do for the my sheetcake version
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease your sheet-cake pan with oil.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, potato starch, arrowroot, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.  Add the 1/2 cup oil, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water or coffee to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips just until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
3. Pour and spread the batter evenly into the sheetcake pan.
4. Bake the brownies on the center rack, rotating the tray 180 degrees half-way through the baking time. I baked the sheet-cake version for a total of 22 minutes, rotating the pan after about 10 minutes.
5. Let cool and frost. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

* These are wonderful straight from the freezer. I tried to save myself from eating them, so I put them in the freezer. Much to my dismay, they were better frozen!

what you do for the Babycakes mini-muffin tin version
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease three 12-cup mini muffin tins with oil. Follow step #2 above. Using a melon baller, scoop the batter into each prepared mini-muffin cup. Bake the brownies on the center rack for 10 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees after 5 minutes. The finished brownie will have a firm edge with a soft center, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. Let the brownies stand in the pans for 10 minutes; they are best served warm.

Melissa’s frosting
what you need

1 and 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan “butter”
6 tablespoons light coconut milk
1 teaspoon coconut flour (skip if you don’t have it)
1/2 cup gluten-free, vegan chocolate chips

what you do
1. Place Earth Balance, sugar, coconut flour and coconut milk in a medium sauce pan. Blend well and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil (and stir) for 1 minute. Watch it carefully, stirring the whole time. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips. Gently stir until the chocolate chips have melted and are blended into the frosting. Pour over the sheet cake and spread evenly with a spatula. If you have room, put the sheet cake in the refrigerator. Once chilled, cut into small squares and serve or store in the freezer.

* I’m warning you, go easy on these! They are SO good, but think about what they’re made with before eating several in one sitting. Bean flour, sugar, chocolate, coffee – whoa, Nelly. You do want to sleep that night!


Monday, December 7th Baked Desserts with Shauna the Gluten Free Girl & The Chef, Alison at Sure Foods Living, and Ali from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.
Tuesday, December 8th Frozen or Chilled Desserts with Shirley at Gluten Free Easily and Diane at the W.H.O.L.E. Gang.
Wednesday, December 9th Chocolate Desserts with Karen at Cook 4 Seasons and Ali from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.
Thursday, December 9th with Diane at the W.H.O.L.E. Gang.
Friday, December 10th with Melissa at Gluten Free For Good.

Merry desserts everyone! Next week Melissa the nutritionist will be back with a little healthier fare. No groaning, I heard that.

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16 Responses to “babycakes brownies”

  1. Tevis says:

    Hi Mom,

    I’m sitting here at work, actually thinking about how I want to go to Babycakes either on my way home or on my lunch break to go get cupcakes or brownies and up comes this post. You’re killing me! And, I know that frosting, grew up with it on all of our brownies and ADORE it. Now I just want brownies with my coffee instead of my toast!

    Much love,

  2. Wow, you did very well, my dear, with your version. I don’t think any of us will complain about the icing to disguise the wimpiness. No wimpiness that I can see … just YUM!! Great addition to the Progressive Dinner Party, Melissa.

    Oh, don’t forget you can add this to Diane’s Friday Foodie Fix for chocolate today. 🙂



  3. Alta says:

    These do look rich! Yum!

  4. […] … read on.) Friday will be Favorite Desserts with Melissa from Gluten Free for Good (her version of Babycakes Brownies) and Jean of Gluten-Free Organics and […]

  5. Misty says:

    Oh yum! Gluten free and vegan? Fantastic. I just got your address from Grant Family Farms, and this is the first post I see. I am definitely going to search through the old posts. I’m drooling over here!

  6. […] December 11th Favorite Desserts with Melissa- Gluten Free For Good made Babycakes Brownies and Jean- Gluten Free Organics made Ready in a Week […]

  7. Garbanzo bean flour? I have never baked with that before. Your brownies look wonderful.

  8. Christy says:

    I love babycakes bakery! I’m thankful that it’s in my city, but also that it’s not very convenient to my home or work.

    I’ve made gluten free brownies using whole garbanzo beans or adzuki beans – will have to try them with bean flour next time.

  9. sanaa says:

    These brownies look very good. I bake brownies using white sorghum flour and orange marmalade for moisture. I will try yours.

  10. Melissa says:

    Hi everyone! Thanks for your comments. I do appreciate them and normally respond to each one individually, but this time of year is a bit hectic, so I’m behind.

    There are a couple of things I need to respond to here though, so excuse my brevity (not normally one of my strong points).

    Susan, garbanzo flour is wonderful and high in protein, but it doesn’t taste “beany.” I like Bob’s Red Mill mix of garbanzo and fava flour. It’s high protein content makes for healthier eating and easier GF baking.

  11. Melissa says:

    Misty — there lots of GF and vegan recipes sprinkled throughout my blog. Enjoy them and thanks for connecting with me. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. BTW, I’m in mourning since my veggie and fruit shares have stopped for the winter. I love the people at Grant Farms!!

  12. Melissa says:

    Tevis and Shirley — love you guys!


  13. Melissa says:

    Sanaa — I can’t believe you said that about the orange marmalade. I also use it and other jams and jellies for moisture and texture. In fact, I’m in the process of posting a recipe for orange muffins. I have various recipes using marmalade. You’re right, it’s great for adding moisture and sweetness. Thanks for your comment! We’re on the same page with this.

  14. Melissa says:


    Yes, I really like this bean flour mix. It works with most GF baked goods. My daughter lives in Brooklyn and rides her bike to Babycakes on the weekend. That way, all that exercise justifies having a treat!

  15. Heather says:

    Wow. No eggs too? I’ll have to make these for my honey for Valentines Day!

  16. […] December 11th Favorite Desserts ~ Melissa at Gluten Free For Good and Jean at Gluten-Free […]

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Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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