Home » desserts » almond flour » (Crackly Top!) Almond Flour Brownies ⚡

(Crackly Top!) Almond Flour Brownies ⚡

Here lies the secret to ultra fudgy almond flour brownies with a legit crackly top… not to mention, whipped up with just cocoa powder as our chocolate base!

Almond flour brownies with a crackly top showing the fudgy center

Almond Flour Brownies

with a legit crackly top! ⚡

Imho “crackly top” brownies are the crème de la crème, adding the perfect contrasting texture to an ultra fudgy center.

But generally associated with their gluten counterparts (and chocolate bar variety), making a version with just almond flour had eluded me… until this past weekend, and it turns out its all in the methodology.

Alas, its also not possible to yield this texture with just keto sweeteners… but I did do a test batch with an allulose and erythritol mix (3/4 cup allulose + 1/4 cup erythritol) and they came out awesome too (just no crackly top). It’s also no surprise here, as the ratios are pretty much those of my (1g net carb) keto brownies just with a different methodology.

How to make crackly top brownies with gluten free almond flour

how to get a crackly top brownie

Turns out the secret lies in mixing refrigerator cold eggs, sugar and pipping hot butter- yup, that’s it!

I tried a few different ways around this, and the best yielding results come from whisking the eggs with cane sugar until super light and fluffy, slowly tempering in some hot (browned!!) butter and then just adding cocoa powder and almond flour.

Its *so* easy to whip these guys up… and the only way you can go wrong is if you over bake them. But even then, and I surely did that with one batch, they still came out chewy and delicious… so if you don’t like your brownies ultra fudgy and prefer some texture, this is also the recipe for you.

Freshly backed almond flour brownies garnished with flakey sea salt

the ingredients

Cocoa brownies are generally regarded as second best to their ‘molten chocolate bar’ counterparts, given that they’re generally more cake-like than fudgy. But that’s most definitely not the case here, as these are some of the fudgiest brownies you’ll ever make.

Super simple ingredients otherwise, but quality will make a difference here: you want an ultra fine almond flour (think Anthony’s), a solid quality of cocoa powder (Valrhona is my favorite, but Ghirardelli alkalized cocoa is up there too), refrigerator cold eggs and a good butter (using half salted butter and skipping the kosher salt will add greater depth of flavor).

I also always suggest a generous pour of a good vanilla extract and garnishing with flaky sea salt. And while some of you swear by adding 1/4 tsp of espresso powder to my original brownie recipe, I don’t feel it adds much here (particularly since we’re browning the butter

 

Closeup freshly cut almond flour brownie stack showing their shiny tops

Almond flour brownies with a crackly top showing the fudgy center

(Crackly Top!) Almond Flour Brownies

Here lies the secret to ultra fudgy almond flour brownies with a legit crackly top... not to mention, whipped up with just cocoa powder as our chocolate base!
4.91 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Gluten Free
Servings 16 brownies
Calories 135 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 130 g unsalted grass-fed butter or sub half with salted butter and skip the kosher salt (for greater flavor complexity!)
  • 140-200 g cane sugar use the lower amount if you're like me and generally find things "too sweet"*
  • 2 eggs refrigerator cold
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 70 g cocoa powder
  • 70 g almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

To garnish

Instructions
 

  • Position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C. Line with parchment paper a 8x8-inch baking pan and set aside. 
  • Add butter to a saucepan and brown over medium/low heat until fully golden and fragrant. Bonus points: use half unsalted / half salted butter (and skip the kosher salt) for greater depth of flavor.
  • While the butter is browning, add the (super cold!) eggs and sugar to a large bowl and whisk for a couple minutes until fluffy, light in color and all the sugar has dissolved. Once your butter is nice and browned, you'll want to temper it into your egg and sugar mixture (you know, little by little so as to not scramble the eggs!). But it is the contrast of adding the hot butter to the cold sugar and egg mixture that will give you the crackly top. Just be sure to drizzle it in slowly, while whisking continuously, until fully incorporated. The batter will be very creamy and silky at this point.
  • Whisk in the cocoa powder, salt and almond flour- ensuring the cocoa powder and salt are fully incorporated before adding in the almond flour (as it'll get tougher to whisk). Transfer to prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula (the texture is not quite pourable, but it spreads easily with a little help).
  • Bake for 17-22 minutes (I do 20), or until the center is just set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out moist. This really does vary (a lot!!) from oven to oven (think convection etc), so give them a check from minute 15 the first time around, and remember that you'll brownies will continue to cook while they cool. 
  • Sprinkle with flaky sea salt (optional, but always highly suggested) and allow to cool completely on a rack. Lift brownies using the edges of the parchment paper and cut into desired size. To get extra clean edges, place in the freezer for 10 minutes prior to cutting. 

Notes

*coming from years of doing keto and baking with sweeteners, my gut stopped tolerating them completely and in the past year I've gone back to consuming regular unrefined sugars (cane, dates, maple, honey and coconut). It's been quite an interesting experience, and it's made me realize something I'm guessing most of us already know: that most of "the problems" we encounter while baking keto don't come from from the flours... but the sweeteners.
Alas, this is an ongoing experiment for me, but I'm finding recipes such as this one incredibly satisfying (like you guys... these are legit brownies through and through, despite being made with almond flour). 

Nutrition

Serving: 1brownie | Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword almond flour brownies, crackly top brownies, gluten free brownies
Whip up this recipe?Comment below or drop me a line @gnomgnom._ and tag #gnomgnomyum!

39 comments

  1. Cat says:

    Hello,
    When using an allulose blend of allulose, stevia and Monkfruit, how much would you say is equal to the amount of regular sugar used? Also, please excuse my ignorance, but would I be able to use avocado oil instead of butter?
    Thank you.

  2. Eve says:

    Hey Paulo, good to see your back. I understand about your own health journey and that the alternative sugars aren’t working for you. They are still working for me for now and I love your baking. Is there anyway to tell me how much monk fruit/erythritol this would take?

    Also, I hope you’re not going to take away any of those older recipes that you used to make and use as you are/were the BEST out there!!! Especially around baking

    I’ve been extremely gluten intolerant my whole life (presented like celiac and other chronic illnesses ) but didn’t know about it until my late 20s. Kept gaining weight from inflammation every year after removing gluten. Tried raw, vegan, portion control whole 30 and finally keto is the one that made my body feel better. Still didn’t lose much weight. Now I’m doing some thing that’s helping my hormones more and losing weight, Green keto, which is just a lot more cruciferous vegetables and less dairy (though I do use ghee and small amount of heavy cream) But I do it a few keto sweets almost exclusively from your recipes ♥️

  3. Justin says:

    🤮 your recipe calls for concentrated cow puss (butter) and chicken menstrual cycles (eggs) which are both extremely toxic to human health and will promote the onset of diabetes, heart disease and many types of cancers. Shame on you!!

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Justin can you please explain to me why vegans are some of the biggest bullies on the internet? There are many, many ways you could have your point come across… and you chose this?

      Also, I live in a homestead and I’m very familiar with the provenance of butter and eggs, so I suggest you educate yourself further about their effects on our health. Properly kept animals that are grass fed and live in small nurturing communities aren’t the enemy Justin.

      p.s. gnom-gnom is a fear free space, we don’t believe in shaming people into submission 😉

      • Heather says:

        Paola, please teach me how to be as reserved and classy you are! I’ve read other comments by people that make me want to throat punch them but you are always calm and kind while putting them in their place. You are my hero. Xoxo Heather

        • Paola van der Hulst says:

          Lol Heather, it’s because doing my job (ie reading thousands of people on the internet) you quickly realize that what people say and do is a reflection of themselves, their inner world… and I think it also doesn’t hurt that I’m autistic and we tend to see the world from a place of logic rather than ego, so I rarely take things personal 🫣

          Thank you for being a part of the community 😌

        • Larissa says:

          I second your response, Heather. Paola is a classy and very talented lady. I would have snapped at Justin’s comment right away 🙁 . If veganism works for some-good luck, why not.. But the way vegans verbally attack- is another thing.
          Thank you, Paola, for being an example to all of us, love from Toronto

    • Renee says:

      5 stars
      Vegans suffer from horrible health issues as they age- grass-fed butters and organic eggs are filled with nutrients that promote thriving in the human body- fertility is extremely poor for vegans as well, so hoping you’re not looking to get pregnant anytime soon Justin😜

    • Allison says:

      you seem like a happy person. why are vegans so hypocritical? you realise that ALL diets require *intentional* animal deaths? what do you think happens when land is cleared for agriculture? little critters, many many, are killed intentionally as part of land clearance and pest control. we’re all responsible for intentional animal deaths in order to eat. the only difference is that vegans don’t consume them.

    • Terra Q says:

      5 stars
      You say that people are terrible for eating butter, eggs, etc. but then vegans just eat most animals’ only source of food thus still negatively affecting animals.

    • Robyn Benson says:

      Your ignorance is glaring. Butter is a perfect food. Eggs are not a chickens menstrual cycle. 😂
      Have a great day, if that’s possible in your world.
      ❤️🍀

    • Heather says:

      5 stars
      Eggs and butter actually do the complete opposite of causing cancer/diabetes and heart disease when eaten as part of a healthy, OMNIVOROUS diet.
      Also – Paola super happy you’re incorporating real (unrefined) sugars into your recipes. Feels more like what nature intended for us. Love all your recipes and as a gluten intolerant person I’m sooooooo looking forward to your new recipes and journey xo

  4. Hess says:

    5 stars
    Incredible recipe! I used the lower amount of sugar but might use a little bit more next time, otherwise it’s hard to believe these are almond flour brownies because out of all the recipes I’ve tried none have come out this chewy and fudgy. Like sure some are even too fudgy, but they lack the chewiness of real brownies. Thank you, will be making again!

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      That’s awesome to hear Hess! I agree re the chewiness, in fact that’s a big selling point that I should’ve probably mentioned: these guys are *legit* chewy and fudgy! Like I said, my favorite brownie recipe.

      And about the sweetness (to elaborate a little further), I would say that the larger amount gives you the sweetness in regular brownies… but so many of us that are coming from keto tend to find that a little too high, so the lower amount is for us. Otherwise you can use any amount in between those two, the recipe is very forgiving.

      • banesie says:

        hey! just to flag, there is no instruction of when to add the vanilla extract! i just put mine in the oven, realized i forgot to add it, and then realized why 🙂 not a big deal but probably easy enough to add!
        thanks for the beauty recipe!

  5. Em Jones says:

    5 stars
    If I could give this recipe more than 5 stars I would! It reminds me of your flourless pancake recipe, it was so simple that I didn’t expect it to live up to much and these are easily some of THE BEST brownies I’ve ever made. I think the brown butter really does something here and the texture is divine, these would easily come across as regular brownies…. if not better? My husband also tried them and he agreed- these taste gourmet!

    And to anyone wondering if they failed at getting the crackly texture, as I sure did as I pulled these out of the oven after 20 minutes but the crust developed as they cooled.

    BEAUTIFUL recipe!

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Ah thank you Em that’s so great to hear!! Agreed, its really hard to believe that these are just almond flour (like not even xanthan gum?!).

      AND YES on the texture, thanks for pointing that out! You get it as the sugar cools down and crystalizes on top 🙂

  6. Christina says:

    5 stars
    Can’t wait to make these, as I adore all of your creations. I agree as far as some of the keto *artificial* sweeteners however due to health issues and severe post-concussive migraines, I cannot tolerate any cane sugar at all- I become so ill and my head is in severe agony attempting even a tablespoon per an entire recipe. Also, even low-glycemic sweeteners seem too sweet for my now very adjusted taste buds. I’d like to use either coconut or maple sugar here, or date sugar, agave, honey, pure maple syrup, etc…? How much could I reduce the sugar in the recipe and which sweetening agent may be best in your opinion as I realize that baking generally is all chemistry & is indeed dependent upon sugar somewhat unlike cooking. Thank you!

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Ahhh such good options for sweeteners Christina! I’ve made these with maple syrup in the past and while the flavor was there, the texture def wasn’t (they were more like keto brownies, good but a more uniform bite). So I would say to opt for a granular sugar- maple might be best, otherwise another reader pointed out coconut palm sugar? I also think that regular coconut sugar will work, but given its natural molasses content you might not get as much of a crackly texture (honestly, I don’t know… I’m kinda keen to experiment on this further!).

      And how much it really depends on your taste buds, the larger amount will give you a sweetness of traditional brownies… if you know you generally find that a bit too sweet, you can reduce the amount up to 2/3 cup.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you decide to try them 😉

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Yes for sure Steph! I’ve only baked a couple times with it as its not a very common sugar still… but I found that both tines it baked up just like sugar (unlike regular coconut sugar which ends up working more like brown sugar). xo!

  7. John says:

    Hold up… so these are made with regular sugar but are still only 10g net? That’s still a lot lower carb than I would’ve expected.

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Yes! But even though they can fit macros of a low carb lifestyle, the will spike your sugar (though arguably they’re pretty fatty, so that should lessen the blow).

  8. Jenn says:

    Long time fan here Paola so please don’t take offense, but I do think you should’ve said something about what happened to Gnooda. I emailed you a few times and never heard back, it wasn’t professional at all. I’m sorry to hear, it sounds like a difficult situation.

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      No offense taken Jenn, in fact you’re right… I should’ve said something, and I take full accountability for leaving y’all hanging (forget professional, rude even?).

      This just wasn’t a “normal situation”, so I’ve had to take a couple years to think what I want to do about it. And the truth is you also would’ve never heard anything about it from me had Tatiana not began emailing y’all… so now I *really* had to say something, and I’m sorry that it’s not something substantial even.

      Thank you for sharing honestly- I appreciate you echoing the thoughts I think many of you have.

  9. JST says:

    I’m sorry about Gnooda, your silence and everything was really weird. Glad you’re back though, I hope you’re doing well in spite of everything girl!

  10. Claire S says:

    5 stars
    These look amazing Paola! Don’t worry about Tatiana and gnooda, I wasn’t one of the people who emailed you but I figured from reading her emails that she stole your lupin recipe and just did her product. Why is she emailing gnom-gnom readers though? Can she?

  11. Emily Allen says:

    5 stars
    Paola I’ve wondered for years about your silence when gnooda was such a great product, I guess many of us wondered what happened. But in the end you didn’t have to say anything, once I got Tatiana’s emails it didn’t sit right and I figured you were done dirty. If it makes you feel better I got an icky feeling reading all the gnooda references on her new brand and how she’s using the clout you gave her… even emailing us. Keep your head up high, we love you!

    Emily, a long time reader

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