Gluten-free Bittersweet German Chocolate Brownies

By Sally Cameron on February 11, 2018

Dessert, the daniel plan, Vegetarian

With Valentines Day around the corner, my gift to you is this gluten-free bittersweet German chocolate brownie recipe to bake for your loves ones. It’s even dairy-free! I baked a batch today and the house smells heavenly. They are just the right combination of fudgy and cakey in brownie-speak.

German Chocolate Brownies |

Bittersweet German Chocolate Brownies

German Chocolate Brownies |

Inspired by my dad’s favorite cake, my German chocolate brownie recipe is made with bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened shredded coconut and coconut oil, and chopped pecans. These brownies have just 3 tablespoons of teff flour and teff has a great affinity for chocolate.

About Teff

Considered the smallest grain in the world, teff is the size of a poppy seed. It is native to Ethiopia and has been a dietary staple for thousands of years. Teff has a nutty, mild taste and packs a healthy punch with protein, fiber, minerals. While these brownies use teff ground into flour, whole grain teff can be used for breakfast porridge, added to stews, pilafs, mixed into baked goods and even mixed into veggie burgers. Think of it like quinoa.

Ingredient Notes

Sucanat |

I tested German chocolate brownies with coconut sugar and sucanat, an unrefined sugar containing all of the natural molasses giving it a golden color. It is a good replacement for brown sugar in baking and the granular texture is melts into the batter. Alternatively, use golden brown sugar.

German Chocolate Brownies |

German Chocolate Food Trivia

The roots of German chocolate trace to American baker Samuel German who developed a dark baking chocolate for the Baker’s Chocolate Company in 1852. The chocolate known as German’s eventually dropped the letter s. The original cake recipe was created in 1957 by a Texas homemaker. Whatever the roots, bake a batch of bittersweet German chocolate brownies as a Valentine’s treat for your friends and family.

Looking for another chocolate treat for your family? Try this decadent chocolate sorbet.

German Chocolate Brownies |

Bittersweet German Chocolate Brownies

These bittersweet chocolate brownies are reminiscent of German chocolate cake, with its pecans and coconut. Kind of a cross between fudgy and cakey, these brownies are gluten-free and dairy-free, made with teff flour (see note below) and coconut oil. To make the brownies look like the photo, drizzle cooled brownies with extra melted chocolate and sprinkle with extra nuts and coconut. 
Servings 9


  • 8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate 72% – 85%
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup natural light brown sugar or Sucunat 4 1/4 ounces
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons teff flour
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped raw pecans 4 ounces
  • 1/3 cup fine unsweetened shredded coconut 1 ounce


  • Grease a square light metal baking pan (8×8-inch) with ½ teaspoon of extra coconut oil. Line the pan with parchment paper, draping it over two opposite sides of the pan. The parchment overlap makes it easy to remove the brownies after baking. Pre-heat the oven to 325°F.
  • Chop the chocolate into medium chunks with a serrated bread knife or heavy chef’s knife. Place the chocolate in a clean, dry, glass bowl and microwave on 70% power for 1 minute. Stir with a flexible spatula or spoon, then continue melting chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring between times, until chocolate is melted, smooth and glossy. Cool chocolate for 5 minutes, then stir in the vanilla and the coconut oil with a spoon or flexible spatula until smooth. 
  • Place the brown sugar and eggs in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed, about 3 minutes. Whisk together the teff flour, arrowroot starch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients and beat on low speed for 3 more minutes. Stir in the chopped pecans and shredded coconut with a flexible spatula. The batter will be thick and stiff.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and distribute evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the brownie surface is a little firm to the touch, but not hard. Cool brownies in the pan for 10 minutes. Grasp the parchment paper edges and lift the brownies out, transferring them to a wire cooling rack. Slice into 9 pieces when cool.


What is Teff Flour?
One of the tiniest seeds in the world, teff is an ancient, gluten-free grain native to Ethiopia. Teff has a mild nutty flavor that works well in recipes calling for chocolate. It’s high in plant-based protein, calcium and high in resistant starch, a healthy and unique form of fiber. For another way to use teff flour, try the teff on page xx. Purchase teff flour at health-oriented markets and online. Store in the refrigerator once opened, for extended freshness.

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