Thick, fudgy, and deeply chocolatey brownies topped with a luscious strawberry frosting! These brownies are rich and decadent, but made with healthier ingredients so do not feel overindulgent! They are the perfect way to spoil yourself and your loved ones on Valentine’s Day! Or, if you’re just looking for a really good, super easy, small batch brownie, this recipe is the one! These Strawberry Frosted Brownies are made better-for-you using real, whole ingredients; they are paleo-friendly (gluten free, grain, free, and dairy free) and nut-free!
What Do These Healthy Strawberry Topped Brownies Taste Like?
These cocoa powder brownies are super thick, fudgy and chewy, perfectly moist, and incredibly chocolatey. They might just be the perfect brownies. They taste rich and decadent but are made with better-for-you ingredients! The strawberry topping is made of whipped up coconut cream and spiked with freeze-dried strawberries. It’s light and fluffy, very similar to whipped cream, and made just perfectly sweet from the strawberries, the perfect complement to the brownie. Yep, these brownies are all kinds of swoon-worthy.
What Ingredients Are Used to Make These Healthy Brownies And Strawberry Frosting?
These Strawberry Topped Brownies are made healthier as they contain no refined sugars, flours, or oils. They are paleo-friendly meaning they are gluten free, grain free, and dairy free! They also happen to be nut free!
Here’s a look at the ingredients used and some substitutions/variations:
- Cocoa Powder – These are cocoa powder based brownies so the cocoa powder is the most important part! It gives the brownies that rich chocolate flavor. Be sure to use a good quality, dutch process cocoa powder, not cacao powder or cocoa mix. My favorites are Guittard Cocoa Rouge, Equal Exchange Baking Cocoa, or the Whole Foods 365 brand (what I used).
- Sunflower Seed Butter – To make these brownies wonderfully dense and chewy. You can sub with any other thick and creamy nut/seed butter you like. Cashew butter is another good option. Almond butter would be fine as well but has a more dominant flavor. I use and love Sunbutter.
- Avocado Oil – Gives the brownies the perfect amount of moisture and crisp edges.
- Coconut Sugar – The best granulated sweetener for refined sugar free baking. I use and love Nutiva’s Coconut Sugar for the reasonable pricing and excellent quality.
- Cassava – An unprocessed flour that is gluten, grain, and nut free. I use and love Otto’s.
- Tapioca Flour – Thickens the batter without making it too dense or floury.
- Eggs – These are thick brownies, so we need four whole eggs to give them the right amount of moisture and lift.
- Vanilla – One whole tablespoon, trust me, it’s the perfect amount,
- Baking Soda – Gives the brownies just the right amount of rise.
- Salt – Adds balance to the brownies!
- Coconut Cream – The main ingredient in the dairy free topping. Use a new can of full-fat coconut milk. I really love this brand.
- Freeze Dried Strawberries – Adds the strawberry flavor and sweetness to the whipped coconut cream topping. You can substitute for your favorite strawberry jam if you prefer! This is the brand I used.
- Chocolate Chips – This is totally optional, but highly recommended.
How Do You Make Healthy Homemade Fudgy Cocoa Brownies?
The best part of this brownie recipe, other than well, the resulting fudgy brownies, is that this is a super easy brownie recipe! Lots of brownie recipes require some sort of melting or heating process when the base is made from baking chocolate (like chips or chopped bars). My recipe uses cocoa powder to give the brownies their chocolate flavor so the process really comes down to mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately, then mixing them together to form the batter. That’s (basically) it! Check out the step-by-step photos below.
Here’s an overview of the steps:
- Mix the dry ingredients together. To get all the lumps out of the cocoa powder and make sure the dry ingredients are well distributed when mixed into the wet ingredients.
- Mix the wet ingredients together until thick and creamy.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Stir until just combined.
- Stir in chocolate chips if you like. It’s optional. But, c’mon. Do it.
- Bake! These brownies are super thick and bake up in just over 30 minutes. Trust me, these are worth the wait.
- Let brownies cool.
- Make the frosting (steps below!).
How Do You Make Dairy Free Vegan Strawberry Frosting?
The fudgy brownies are finished with a whipped coconut cream and strawberry spiked topping. I would say it’s more similar to a fluffy whipped cream than a frosting. To make the coconut whip, you’ll need a fresh can of full-fat coconut cream that has chilled in the fridge (at least) overnight. So be sure to plan ahead!
Here’s how to make the Dairy Free Strawberry Topping:
- Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk. For at least overnight. The longer the better.
- Blend the freeze dried strawberries in a DRY blender until it becomes a powder.
- Scoop out the coconut cream (firm upper layer) from the can of coconut milk.
- Whip in a stand mixer, or with a whisk by hand, until thick, fluffy, and no lumps remain.
- Stir in the strawberry dust.
- Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
- Frost the brownies and enjoy!
These brownies are really at their best when they are room temperature. The frosting needs to be kept cold and will stand at room temperature only for a short while. I recommend storing the brownies at room temperature (for up to 2-3 days) and the coconut cream topping in the fridge. Then you can top the brownies with frosting as you’re ready to enjoy them! Alternatively, top the unsliced brownies with the coconut whips, slice, and store in the fridge! Move to freezer for longer storage. The Strawberry Topping will firm up when stored in the fridge.
These homemade Brownies & Strawberry Frosting are the perfect special dessert for Valentine’s Day that happens to be healthy! Made with better-for-you ingredients you can feel good about enjoying! The brownies are super easy to make and taste absolutely incredible – super moist, fudgy, deeply chocolatey and finished with a just perfectly sweet, strawberry spiked, topping. This is a strawberry and chocolate dessert that is sure to sweep you off your feet!
paleo friendly (gluten/grain/dairy free), naturally sweetened, nut free
Looking for More Healthier Valentine’s Day Dessert Ideas? Check These Out!
- Valentine’s Day Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (paleo)
- Chocolate Raspberry Tarts (paleo & nut free)
- Raspberry Sugar Cookies (paleo & sugar free)
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Thick Brownies with Strawberry Topping
Thick, fudgy, and deeply chocolatey brownies topped with a luscious strawberry frosting! They are super easy to make and incredibly delicious! You will need a chilled can (at least 8 hours) of full fat coconut cream to make the strawberry topping, so be sure to plan ahead!
paleo-friendly (gluten free, grain, free, and dairy free), refined sugar free, and nut-free
- 1 cup (92 grams) cocoa powder dutch process
- 1/2 cup (72 grams) cassava flour
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups (292 grams) coconut sugar
- 3/4 cup (192 grams) sunflower seed butter sub other thick and creamy nut/seed butter (with only 1 ingredient)
- 3/4 cup (183 grams) avocado oil sub melted and cooled coconut oil or olive oil
- 4 eggs ideally room temp
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) chocolate chips or chunks optional
- 1 cup freeze dried strawberries *see notes for sub
- 1 can full fat coconut milk chilled at least 8 hours
Heat oven to 375 degrees and prepare an 8 or 9 inch square pan by lining with parchment paper.
Mix the dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl whisk together the cocoa powder, cassava flour, tapioca flour, salt, and baking soda until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.
Mix the wet ingredients together. In the bowl of stand mixer, cream together the coconut sugar, sunflower seed butter, avocado oil, and eggs until well combined and bubbly.
Add the vanilla and beat on medium until mixture is thick and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir on low until flour mixture is just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl once again and mix briefly to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly distributed. Batter will be very thick and shiny.
Stir in chocolate chips if you like.
Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish, and use a rubber spatula to spread batter out into an even layer. Place in the middle of the center rack in the oven.
Bake brownies for 32-34 minutes. The edges with firm and crack and the center should look set. You can test for doneness by piercing the center with a toothpick. It may come out a bit chocolatey and moist but should not be gooey.
Let brownies cool for at least 10 minutes in the baking dish. Afterwards, use parchment paper to lift the brownie out of the baking dish and move to wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the frosting. Blend the freeze dried strawberries in a DRY blender. Scoop out the coconut cream (firm upper layer) from the can of coconut milk. Whip on high speed for 3-4 minutes or until cream is thick and fluffy with no lumps remaining. Stir in the strawberry dust.
Chill strawberry topping in the fridge until ready to use.
Frost the brownies (make sure they are cool) and enjoy!
Storage: The brownies are best when at room temperature. The frosting needs to be kept cold and will stand at room temperature for a short while. I recommend storing them separately, the brownies at room temperature (for up to 2-3 days) and the coconut cream topping in the fridge. Then you can top the brownies with frosting as you’re ready to enjoy them! Alternatively, frost the unsliced brownie, then slice, and store in the fridge! Move to freezer for longer storage.
Cocoa Powder – Use a good quality, dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder. Be sure to use cocoa powder, not cacao powder or cocoa mix. My favorites are Guittard Cocoa Rouge, Equal Exchange Baking Cocoa, or the Whole Foods 365 brand (what I used)
Sunflower Seed Butter – Use any other thick and creamy nut/seed butter you like. Cashew butter is another good option. Almond butter is also fine but will have a more dominant flavor. Choose a nut/seed butter with only 1 ingredient (no added oils or sugars). Always mix the nut/seed butter in the jar well before measuring.
Alternative Strawberry Topping – If you don't have freeze dried strawberries, you can use a premade strawberry jam. Just whip the topping as written in the directions, then stir in 3-4 tablespoons of jam in at the end!
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