Gluten-free Brazil Nut Brownies
With a crackly top and crisp-chewy edges, these decadent, ultra-fudgy brownies are the stuff chocolate dreams are made of. They're also gluten-free, and if you use chocolate that is free of soy lecithin and milk solids, they’re dairy and soy-free, too.
An added bonus, at least in my opinion, is the 8×8-inch pan. I mean, 9×13? Who on earth is going to eat all that? I am. That’s the problem.
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When I set out to create a Brazil nut brownie recipe, I had ulterior motives. I was trying to find an enjoyable way to eat what used to be my least favorite nut. My motivation came from the knowledge that Brazil nuts are a thyroid superfood and blow any other food out of the water when it comes to selenium content. Nothing comes close, and just one a day may exceed the recommended daily value (though be aware selenium content in Brazil nuts can vary widely).
In looking up food pairings for Brazil nuts, chocolate, coconut, and vanilla topped the list. Brownies seemed like a perfect excuse to get those Brazil nuts down, no problem.
If you've ever searched online for gluten-free brownie recipes, there are millions. But I wanted the BEST, and I had a vision of exactly what I was going for. I wanted to create a brownie reminiscent of the ones I grew up eating out of the red box-- glossy and a little bit crackly on top and super-moist and fudgy underneath. I wanted to find a method that just happened to be gluten-free and didn't come at a compromise.
In looking at brownie photos, you can clearly see that many of them are not what I was looking for. There are cakey brownies, dense brownies, crumbly brownies, or brownies that are drab looking on top. There are black bean brownies, sweet potato brownies, and brownies made with all sorts of wheat flour alternatives. None of them were quite right. I searched and searched.
It was a recipe for Gluten-free Brownies from professional chef and author David Lebovitz that caught my eye. It looked right, it tasted right, and ultimately it became the model for this recipe, adapted with a few thyroid-healthy tweaks.
I've baked many a pan of these brownies to bring to various parties, potlucks, and BBQs, and it's one of those recipes people ask for, regardless of their dietary restrictions. My kiddo begs me to make them, and he's my toughest critic. Unlike 99% of the recipes on this blog, this one does include refined sugar. You are welcome to experiment with other types of paleo-compliant sweeteners, like coconut sugar, but they do behave differently in the oven. I decided to break from my refined sugar-free rule for this recipe. If that doesn't work for you, there are several other Sweets Recipes for you to choose from in my recipe library that don't include refined sugar.
Thyroid-healthy Recipe Highlights:
- When cut into 16 squares, each brownie contains roughly 1 1/2 Brazil nuts, or approximately 190% DV for Selenium. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Selenium, in adults, is 55 micrograms (mcg) per day, so you can feel good about that. In addition to supporting the synthesis of thyroid hormone, selenium is essential to the conversion of T4 to T3 and protects the thyroid from stress. It also protects the thyroid from an overabundance of iodine. It’s like the thyroid gland’s bodyguard.
- Coconut oil has been touted as a thyroid, metabolism, energy, endurance, and weight loss booster by many health professionals, including Dr. Oz.
- Sea salt is a natural source of iodine as well as numerous other bioavailable trace minerals.
- Chocolate is usually high in sugar and can contain soy lecithin, which some people with an underactive thyroid choose to avoid; however, dark chocolate, when consumed in moderation, can be a good source of trace minerals like copper and manganese. Chocolate, esp. dark, also contains flavonols, a type of antioxidant that can reduce the cell damage caused by heart disease, and help to lower blood pressure and promote vascular function.
Happy cooking, happy thriving, and enjoy the recipe (below)!
P.S. Need more thyroid-friendly recipe inspiration? I’ve got you covered. My Thyroid-friendly Everyday eCookbook features over 50 quick and easy, thyroid-friendly recipes your whole family will love. To take a peek at what’s inside, CLICK HERE.
More Thyroid Healthy Desserts:
- Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Raspberry Cream Gels
- "Caramel" Nut Chocolate Bark
- Blueberries & Lemon Cream
- Pecan Date Dreams
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bliss Balls
- Anti-inflammatory Tart Cherry Gels