Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

I like to think brownies are the universal dessert. They’re on nearly every restaurant menu (in one form or another) and it seems as though I can’t walk into a bakery or coffee shop without a much-larger-than-one-portion brownie staring me in the face. If you, like me, have trouble digesting dairy or are just straight up allergic, chances are you’ve walked away from a lot of brownies in your life. Which is kind of sad. But the good news is I’m here with a recipe that more than makes up for it.

If you want to take these brownies to the next level, I highly recommend pairing them with a hot fudge sundae to make the ultimate end-of-summer dessert. And if topping with hot fudge sauce seems like chocolate overload (is there really such a thing?) you can drizzle the sundaes with melted peanut butter and add crushed peanuts for a crunchy final touch.

This recipe is pretty straightforward, but in the event you want to switch things up with the flour, you shouldn’t have much of an issue. I’ve made these with whole wheat flour (reducing the flour measurement by 2 tablespoons), spelt flour, and a gluten-free flour blend (reducing the flour measurement by 2 to 3 tablespoons). Both the whole wheat and spelt flour varieties yielded brownies similar to the recipe below, but the brownies made with the gluten-free flour were rather dense and weren’t nearly as chewy … although they were still delicious. I used raw cacao powder (which is essentially the same as natural cocoa powder) but I’ve got to warn you: Do not try to substitute Dutch-processed cocoa powder unless you adjust the leavening agents. If you don’t have coconut oil, canola oil will work in a pinch but I recommend trying to get your hands on some refined coconut oil, as it really is superior to canola.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Makes 8 to 9 servings


  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (at least 70 percent dark chocolate)
  • 1 1/4 cups cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 flax egg
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8-to-9-inch round or square baking pan with parchment paper and oil; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao powder, salt and baking soda; set aside.
  3. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and chocolate. Once melted, stir in the sugar and almond milk, then let cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the flax egg and chocolate mixture; stir with a whisk just until combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan (it will be fairly thick) then drizzle with melted peanut butter. Use a knife or toothpick to create a swirl effect.
  6. Bake at 350 F for 24 to 26 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to five days.

Photo credit: Ashlae Warner