I am obsessed with brownies. I’ll admit it. I have several brownies recipes on my blog, but if you only make one of my brownie recipes, make this one! As soon as I came up with my Cookie Dough Collagen Bars, I just knew I had to invent a brownie version. The result of my experimentation was a thick, fudge-like brownie with chewy edges, crackly top, and just the right balance of cocoa and sweetness. Not to mention, they are low carb with only 2 grams of sugar per brownie (including the chocolate chips) and a surprising 10 grams of protein. These are hands down the best brownies I’ve ever made and they’re healthy. Is that even possible? YES… they’re just as good as (if not better than) brownies from boxed mix!
For added protein, I used Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, which are versatile, flavorless, and easy to blend. I love baking with collagen! It adds beneficial protein and amino acids without ruining the flavor or texture of the end product. Since I know you might be wondering, no, cooking does not destroy collagen and its health benefits. Cooking does “denature” protein (essentially unraveling it’s structure), but you still get the same amino acids, therefore the nutritional content (and health benefits) remains unchanged. You can substitute the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides for another brand, or for one half cup almond flour, but please do not try substituting whey protein, whey-casein blend, or plant-based protein. The bars will turn out dry and “cakey” without additional modifications (which I have not perfected).
You can either use six tablespoons of gluten free 1-to-1 flour blend (as I did here), or three-quarters cup of almond flour in these brownies for a Paleo version (this will increase the calories from fat, see nutrition info below). You should also be able to use six tablespoons of any of the following flours: all-purpose, brown rice, oat flour, or sweet white sorghum flour. You may also need to adjust the amount of unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice) to achieve a very thick yet spreadable batter.
Check your brownies often towards the end of cooking – they’re done when a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out slightly dirty and the center seems gooey but not runny. NOTE: These brownies may seem a bit “cake-like” when you first take them out of the oven, but don’t worry, they will get super fudgey as they cool. Ohhhh baby…
To sweeten these heavenly squares, I used Pyure Organic Stevia Blend, a calorie-free blend of stevia and erythritol that’s twice as sweet as sugar. A virtually identical substitute would be Truvia Natural Sweetener. If you substitute baking stevia, granulated erythritol, or granulated sugar like coconut sugar, you may need up to twice as much (one and one half cup) to achieve the same level of sweetness. If using stevia extract or drops, please refer to the brand-specific conversion chart.
Instead of butter, I used creamy almond butter to add richness and moisture. You can also use cashew butter or peanut butter if you are allergic to almonds. The recipe does call for four egg whites but feel free to use two flax eggs if you’re allergic to eggs. I also added a generous measure of dark chocolate chips! I love Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips, but you can use sugar-free chocolate chips or dairy-free chocolate chips if you prefer. Or just leave them out – these bars will still taste amazing!
Without further ado, here’s the printable recipe. I’d love for you to rate or comment below if you try them 😉
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Collagen Protein Brownies (Gluten Free)
- 120 g 12 scoops unflavored collagen peptides*
- 3/4 cup stevia-erythritol blend*
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 tbsp. gluten free baking flour or 3/4 cup almond flour*
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt optional
- 1/2 cup creamy almond butter*
- 1/2 cup 4 large egg whites*
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk*
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract optional
- 2 oz. dark chocolate chips optional*
- *See above for substitutions.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together dry ingredients (through salt) in a small mixing bowl.
- Add wet ingredients (through vanilla) and mix until smooth.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Lightly grease an 8"x8" baking dish (or better yet, line it with parchment paper) and spread batter over the bottom evenly using a spatula (batter will be quite thick).
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out a little dirty.
- Let cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into 8 equal squares (for best results, use a plastic knife). Enjoy!
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge up to one week or in the freezer up to one month.
Calories (per 2”x2” brownie, using almond flour): 130kcal, Fat: 8.4g, Sat fat: 1.3g, Carbs: 5g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 11g, Sodium: 168mg
© 2017 No Excuses Nutrition. If you wish to publish this exact recipe digitally (website, blog, ebook) or in tangible format (cookbook, magazine), you must first request permission by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If publishing an adapted version with one or more ingredients changed, it is sufficient to mention "inspired by No Excuses Nutrition."