These gluten-free peanut butter brownies are dense and delicious, made with seratonin-boosting bittersweet chocolate and happiness-inducing mucuna bean powder.
Mucuna pruriens, also known as velvet bean, is a bioavailable source of L-Dopa, an amino acid that metabolizes into dopamine in the brain. (Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for happiness.) This naturally occurring, caramel-tasting bean powder makes a sweet addition to this delicious gluten-free brownie batter. It makes an ideal compliment to the chocolate in this recipe, while gently elevating mood and soothing the nervous system. Mucuna pruriens is true brain food; research suggests that it may also help boost libido and regulate sleep patterns, which is why health-oriented cafes and juice bars are starting to use it in smoothies, oatmeal, ice cream, and baked goods.
And then there’s the chocolate. Decades of studies have shown that chocolate is a natural trigger for serotonin— another “feel good” neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of wellbeing and happiness. The below recipe contains twice the amount of chocolate as regular brownie recipes. This ratio yields a silkier, truffle-like consistency with added flavonoids.
These easy, fudgy brownies are also gluten-free and collagen enriched for added brain-friendly amino acids– but there’s also so much chocolate, butter, sugar, and peanut butter that you won’t be compromising on taste. As a result, these gluten-free peanut butter brownies are particularly good for people who are feeling down and need a mood boost. “Dessert” is already an intrinsically whimsical thing, but this delightful brownie recipe takes the good vibes to another level.
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe
- 30 ounces dark or bittersweet baking chocolate
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled (about 20 Tbsp)
- 4 eggs
- 2 1/4 cups sugar OR raw sugar
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons mucuna pruriens powder (optional)
- 2 1/4 cups gluten-free all purpose baking flour, unsifted
- 1/3 cup chocolate collagen peptides
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (we used Justin’s Classic Peanut Butter squeeze packs), for drizzle
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-by-13 inch brownie pan with parchment paper.
- Melt chocolate on the stovetop or in microwave with 3 tablespoons of the butter, and allow to cool so that it is only slightly warm but still liquid. (You’ll be incorporating it into the egg mixture later, and you don’t want it to cook the eggs.)
- Beat the rest of the cooled, melted butter with the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk the melted chocolate into this egg-sugar mixture. Add the mucuna pruriens powder and thoroughly combine.
- Add remaining dry ingredients until just combined– the batter will be stiff, almost like cookie dough.
- Pour batter into the pan, smooth, and drizzle with peanut butter. Drag a knife through the peanut butter drizzle in a criss-cross fashion to create a design.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees or until a butter knife inserted comes out clean. Brownies should be crispy on the edges and fudgy in the middle.
- Cool your peanut butter brownies 30 minutes in the pan before cutting. Enjoy!
Recipe yields about 2 dozen 2-inch square gluten-free peanut butter brownies.
If you’re weary of using mucuna or don’t want to buy it online, leave it out! The recipe is just as good without it and you’ll still get the benefits of serotonin from the double-portion of bittersweet chocolate.
Fun fact: there is about twice as much chocolate in this recipe as in standard brownie recipes. Avoid these brownies if you are caffeine sensitive; there is a LOT of chocolate in this batter, which can lead to jitters for those who are sensitive.
As noted above, this recipe is gluten free. It can also be made dairy-free by substituting melted coconut oil for the melted butter. That being said, these brownies pair really nicely with a big glass of milk! We also love them in a sundae.