Melt-in-your-mouth coconut flavored gluten-free brownies made with quinoa flour and coconut oil.

Quinoa and Coconut Brownies : The Wimpy VegetarianThese brownies are made without any wheat flour, butter, or granulated sugar, and instead of tasting like the graveyard dirt – the possibility of which I was a little haunted by, neither texture nor flavor are sacrificed.

Big, huge sigh of relief.

There’s typically a trade off when switching to healthier alternatives to long favored foods, but so far I can’t find any with this recipe.

A little about what I did:

  • In place of traditional wheat flour, I used quinoa flour, and only quinoa flour. One of the things I like about working with this flour is that it doesn’t require gums, such as xanthan or guar gum, for it to hold together nicely in a baked product. If quinoa flour is relatively new to you, it has essentially the same texture as wheat flour (perhaps a little grittier), and has a nutty flavor. I’ve also seen the taste described as a little soapy, something I don’t disagree with. Because it does lend a distinctive flavor to baked goods, I strongly recommend using it in recipes with a strong counterbalancing flavor like chocolate for your first trial bake to ease the way. This brownie was a perfect vehicle.
  • Next, I swapped coconut oil in for the butter. This is my new go-to cooking and baking oil thanks to my husband’s stepdaughter Robin. I wasn’t at all familiar with it until she brought it to my attention when making this fabulous no-bake fudge when she and her family visited us last summer. My cholesterol has insinuatingly creeped up over the years, and coconut oil looks to be a fantastic alternative to butter. In fact, there is increasing evidence that this former bad boy is actually good for you, but I should warn that it does have a coconut flavor, so you might not want to use it when scrambling eggs.
  • And finally we come to the sugar. Brownies typically have a combination of sugar and brown sugar, but I’m trying to cut back on my processed sugar intake by at least half this month as my commitment to October Unprocessed. I went through the usual alternatives. I nixed agave nectar: I’m reading more studies indicating that agave nectar isn’t really much better for you than granulated sugar because of its high levels of concentrated fructose. Honey was quickly eliminated: I wasn’t looking for a honey flavor in the mix with the chocolate and coconut rumba. Scanning my shelves, my eyes lit up when I saw a bag of blonde coconut palm sugar. It was perfect with its faint brown sugar flavor, has some compelling advantages over sugar, and passed my unprocessed test with flying colors.

I made these little brownies a couple of times to get the texture and baking times right – my first attempt resulting in a brownie more cake-like than I prefer. So the second time through, I changed my eggs from large to extra-large, and cut back on both the flour and baking time to increase the chewiness. The result was a chocolaty brownie with faint overtones of coconut and cardamom that I plan to keep in my regular rotation!

As I note, the tombstones are shards of white chocolate and the RIP is white chocolate tinted with red food coloring (I use a powdered form). I placed the white chocolate tombstone shards in the freezer for 15 minutes. I melted some white chocolate with a couple of zaps in the microwave oven, added some food coloring, stirred well, cooled slightly, and piped onto the tombstones. It hardened immediately on the cold tombstones.

The pool of blood strawberry syrup is just melted strawberry preserves, strained.

(Graveyard) Quinoa and Coconut Brownies

     by Susan Pridmore



  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour (3.375 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon powdered instant coffee
  • ¼ cup unsweetened chocolate powder
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 ounces coconut oil
  • 5 ounces unsweetened bar chocolate, cut into small pieces (I used Sharffenberger)
  • 1 ¾ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon powdered cardamom

Brownie Sprinkle

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa nibs
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coconut sugar


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 8″ X 8″ baking pan with foil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the quinoa flour, instant coffee, unsweetened chocolate powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the coconut oil and the unsweetened chocolate together, stirring with a whisk to mix. Remove from the heat periodically so that the chocolate doesn’t get too hot. Pour into the bowl of a standing mixer, add the coconut sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and cardamom. Mix on high for 3 minutes.

Fold the dry ingredients in just until they are completely mixed in.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth with a spatula.

Combine the three Brownie Sprinkle ingredients in a spice grinder and whirl it around a few times. Sprinkle the mixture on top across the top of the brownies.

Bake for 30 minutes. If you test the center with a toothpick, it will have a mixture of batter and crumbs on it. Remove from the oven and keep the brownies in the baking pan for 10 minutes.

Pull the brownies out of the baking pan by the edges of the foil, and carefully peel the foil away from the brownies. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and slice into individual pieces.

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I hope you’re ready for a howling good time, because today, my #SundaySupper friends and I will be conjuring up some magic in our bubbling cauldrons to bring you everything from Ghoulish Gruel to Haunted Snacks to Spooky Sweets, and of course a few Bewitching Brews!

Witches, ghosts, goblins, vampires, zombies, monsters…  Everyone is invited.



On the menu for our Trick-or-Treat #SundaySupper Halloween Party:

Bewitching Brews:

Ghoulish Gruel:

Haunted Snacks:

Spooky Sweets:

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day, Sunday (October 28th) during #SundaySupper.  We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm (Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about all things Halloween.  All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat.

We’d also love to feature your favorite Halloween recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers, too.

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77 Responses to “Brownies & Strawberry Syrup: #SundaySupper” Subscribe

  1. CCU October 27, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Gaaaaah blood coming out of a graveyard! Oh wait no… its just something super delicious 😉

    CCU recently posted..Think Pink!My Profile

  2. Renee October 28, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    I’m going to have to try baking with coconut oil. My cholesterol has been creeping up too. I usually cook with olive oil and so I need to try something different for baking.
    Renee recently posted..Jack O Lantern Cookies for #Halloween Trick-Or-Treat #SundaySupperMy Profile

  3. apuginthekitchen October 28, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    I just bought some coconut oil, want to start incorporating that into my baked goods, and really love the coconut palm sugar instead of granulated. On the fence about quinoa flour, I think I will have to give it try, the brownies look wonderful and I dislike using the gums to hold gluten free baked goods together Really spooky looking with the strawberry puree and white chocolate headstones. Perfect healthful Halloween treat.
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..Pie Party NYCMy Profile

  4. Jen @JuanitasCocina October 28, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    These look amazing! Love the headstone! LOL!
    Jen @JuanitasCocina recently posted..Halloween Cookie Dough Pops ~ #TrickOrTreat #SundaySupper!My Profile

  5. Megan @ I Run For Wine October 28, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    SO CUTE! I also love that you used coconut oil & quinoa flour in this recipe. Thank you for sharing.
    Megan @ I Run For Wine recently posted..Steak Bites with Bloody Mary Dipping Sauce #SundaySupper Halloween PartyMy Profile

  6. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife October 28, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    I’ve never seen quinoa flour before (I just recently started using quinoa)but I can’t wait to try these
    Angie @ Big Bear’s Wife recently posted..Pumpkin Halloween Munch #SundaySupperMy Profile

  7. sunithi October 28, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Nice ! Love the white chocolate RIP ! Simple and creative :) If am not mistaken, these are gluten free too right ? If they are would love to hook them up to my GF cafe. My clients are always looking for good GF recipes and brownies made with Quinoa would be fab !!!
    sunithi recently posted..White Chocolate Strawberry Ghosts #SundaySupperMy Profile

  8. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen October 28, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    These brownies are fantastic! I´m always happy to use quinoa flour. Wonderful treat!
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen recently posted..White Chocolate Dulce de Leche `Ghosts´ #SundaySupperMy Profile

  9. Heather @girlichef October 28, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Oh my gosh, I am a sucker for brownies in absolutely ANY form – and these do sound wonderful. Nobody has to know they’re actually kinda healthy 😉 And love the spooked-up Halloween version! 😀
    Heather @girlichef recently posted..Shrunken Heads in Spiced Cider {#SundaySupper}My Profile

  10. Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen October 28, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Super cute! I am loving this weeks theme!!
    Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen recently posted..Goblin Eggs for Trick or Treat #SundaySupper #Halloween PartyMy Profile

  11. Lyn @LovelyPantry October 28, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Excellent ingredients, Susan! You know how much I love Quinoa anything :-) I too have been using coconut oil as a substitute for butter. So far, so good! Coconut sugar is awesome too!!! I like how you bake, Susan!!! LOL!
    Lyn @LovelyPantry recently posted..Quinoa BrowniesMy Profile

  12. Katie October 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Love the presentation of your brownies – the headstone and the pool of syrup are perfect!
    Katie recently posted..Meat Head: A Halloween DIY Tutorial for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  13. Tara October 28, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Those look great and I bet they taste divine. I love chocolate and berries together.
    Tara recently posted..Witch’s Fingers for Trick-Or-Treat Halloween Party at #SundaySupperMy Profile

  14. claire @ the realistic nutritionist October 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    What an amazing idea!!! So cute.
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist recently posted..Sunday Suppers: Ogre Eye CookiesMy Profile

  15. veronica gantley October 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    You had me at brownie.
    veronica gantley recently posted..Eggs in Purgatory #SundaySupperMy Profile

  16. Martin D. Redmond October 28, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Love this recipe! I must try it! Where can I purchase coconut palm sugar?

  17. Sarah Reid, RHNC (@jo_jo_ba) October 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    Berries and brownies?? YES please!
    Sarah Reid, RHNC (@jo_jo_ba) recently posted..Nutella Stuffed Black Bean and Banana Cookies for a Spooky #SundaySupperMy Profile

  18. mjskit October 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    Cute, Clever and delicious I’m sure! :)
    mjskit recently posted..Fall in the Rio Grande ValleyMy Profile

  19. Karen Hartzell (@InTheKitchenKP) October 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Mmmmm…chocolate and strawberry…one of my favorite combos! YUM!
    Karen Hartzell (@InTheKitchenKP) recently posted..Baked Mummy Cheese Dogs For a Halloween #SundaySupperMy Profile

  20. Bea October 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Yay, milk free brownies – they look delicious and my brownie loving girls would love them. BTW – our entire kitchen is dairyfree and I have been substituting Earth Balance {vegan “butter”} for “cow”. The results are fantastic and there is coconut flavor to it :)
    Bea recently posted..Jack-O-Lantern Carrot Cake for #SundaySupper {#Dairyfree}My Profile

  21. Laura Hunter October 29, 2012 at 4:04 am #

    Healthier brownies, yes please!
    Laura Hunter recently posted..Mini Jack-o’-Lantern Sloppy Joe Pies #SundaySupperMy Profile

  22. Bevi October 29, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Hahahahaha! So cute!

  23. Hannah October 29, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    Love this Halloween treat! I have been baking more with coconut oil and just picked up quinoa flour (and also millet) to experiment with some gluten-free baking for the holidays. Thanks for sharing your spooky brownies – I can’t wait to make them!
    Hannah recently posted..Balsamic Grape Skillet Soufflé … Sort OfMy Profile

  24. Jennie @themessybakerblog October 29, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Oh my gosh, these are so cute. The brownies look so moist and fudgy. Happy Halloween!
    Jennie @themessybakerblog recently posted..Sweet Cream Stuffed Pumpkin Muffins~ #MuffinMondayMy Profile

  25. Parsley Sage October 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Nothing wimpy about these bad boys! These are pretty guiltless too! My kind of brownie :)
    Parsley Sage recently posted..Out of the Kitchen at the RitzMy Profile

  26. Susan October 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    A pool of blood was my first thought too!

    Love, love, love that these are Gluten Free. I’ve never used coconut oil for cooking. I bought some for cooking and to use on my hair but it goes hard and you have to dig it out to use it. Do you warm yours first before scooping it out for cooking?

    Looking forward to trying these brownies. Yum!
    Susan recently posted..What is the Minimum BMI for Gastric Bypass Surgery?My Profile

  27. Cindys Recipes October 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    The flavors together sound awesome! I love the headstone too!
    Cindys Recipes recently posted..Healthy Mediterranian Diet – O&CO Can HelpMy Profile

  28. Carla October 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Love the idea of this dessert! Not something I’ve seen before.
    Carla recently posted..Candy-Stuffed Rice Crispy Treat Pumpkins for #SundaySupper #HalloweenMy Profile

  29. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom October 30, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    OMG, I love these! And I LOVE the healthier option!!!! Fantastic! I have never baked with quinoa flour but you have convinced me to try it!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted..BOO Candy Corn and Chocolate Chip Cookies for Halloween #SundaySupperMy Profile

  30. Liz October 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    These are fantastic!!! What a cute idea and totally doable :)

  31. Sarah November 1, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    I love all the healty swaps you made. I do not have coconut oil and coconut palm sugar but I love the sound of coconut flavor in a brownie. I think it would be fantastic!
    Sarah recently posted..sweet & sour chicken when you can’t get deliveryMy Profile

  32. Brandie (@ Home Cooking Memories) November 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    I’ve been getting started using coconut oil, but still haven’t been sure what I could use it in for baking. Maybe it’s good for most everything? You’ve inspired me to use it in our brownies the next time I make them.
    Brandie (@ Home Cooking Memories) recently posted..A Foodie Surprise from Wisconsin #foodiepenpalsMy Profile

  33. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts November 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    I need to find quinoa flour. I don’t do nearly enough substitutions for wheat flour as I should.
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts recently posted..Comment on Linguini with Beef Ragu Sauce by Kim BeeMy Profile

  34. Kim Bee November 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Healthy, creepy and yummy, you are brilliant.
    Kim Bee recently posted..Poggio Alloro Beef Ragu Sauce from A Family Farm in Tuscany (Cookbook Giveaway)My Profile


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