Double Chocolate & Peanut Butter Layer Brownies

I have begun realising that you can’t please everybody. That’s probably obvious but one of the over riding feelings I get from baking/cooking for other people is one of hoping that they love my food. I just want them to say how delicious it is and to enjoy it and to come back for more!puppy-dog-eyes1

Is that sad?!

Am a bit like a puppy dog giving you the big eyes and just wanting to be cuddled?

Maybe I am.

I used to get the same feeling when I painted for clients. Before cooking, before children, before dogs, before everything, when it was just me and my newly wedded hubs, I used to paint. When we lived in New York I developed a small business producing pastel painting of clients’ pets. I still do some pastel work when I can except nowadays I tend to work on a quicker scale developing pen and ink illustrations, card designs and writing children’s stories about a certain spotty dog that I live with. Hard not to be inspired by this guy right?! This is Mickey Dog and he’s a nearly 5 year old pedigree Dalmatian.

But the thing is, yes it’s totally lovely to sit in my studio and sketch, or spend hours in the kitchen creating something tasty, but the really lovely moment is when someone appreciates it. There’s not really much point in doing it if there’s no one to share it with.

Seeing my kids delight when I rustle them up a huge bowl of banana nice cream or serving them a slice of delicious cake as a surprise for pudding….or hearing friends comments when I’ve baked something for the school coffee shop….or even just hearing the hubs enjoying dinner and finishing every mouthful – there’s nothing quite like it.

It’s like a pat on the back for doing a good job. And I get it from doing what I love – how good is that! What is that famous Confucious quote….”If you do a job that you love you never work a day in your life”. That sums up what I do. God I’m lucky!

But the thing is, it doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes I share pictures and recipes with people online and in online forums and although I often gets lots of likes and nice comments, I also get people saying daft things like ‘Oh I can’t have that because it has the wrong kind of flour, sugar, eggs in it and I’m allergic/intolerant to that’. I’m not insulted by that or even cross but what I want to say to you all is…you need to use your imagination and be brave with your cooking creativity!

I am definitely the type of person who wings it a lot of time and that doesn’t exclude when I’m in the kitchen. If I don’t have the ‘right’ type of something then I substitute it for something else. If I don’t have eggs then I use flax or apple sauce. If I don’t have veggie butter then I’ll use coconut oil. If I don’t have rice flour then how about normal gf flour or coconut flour perhaps. If I don’t have lemons I’ll use oranges. If I don’t have almonds I’ll use cashews. Do you catch my drift?

I hope that if you read my blog often enough you will begin to see that most of my recipes are very much ‘created’ and hence some things work better than others. I do use recipes from time to time and I often use recipes for inspiration for something else. But there’s nothing more satisfying than experimenting a bit, trying something new, and for it to turn out great….like in this recipe that I’m about to share with you.


So this brownie turned out to be gluten free and dairy free (obviously!) but also egg free and so it’s vegan which is great. Because I’m dairy free and often eat vegetarian I suppose some of the time I end up being vegan by default and I love that. I adore animals, we have had 3 cats, 1 dog and numerous numbers of fish in our family which we all love. I think it’s lovely and very important for kids to grow up with animals around them.

In my late teenage years I ate as a vegetarian for three or four years although I did always eat fish. I can’t eat shellfish as I’m intolerant but I do love salmon and fish generally. I’ve never enjoyed the concept of meat particularly, it makes me feel a bit squeamish somehow, and mostly I only eat white meat, chicken or turkey, and hardly ever red meat. But lately for some reason I am definitely leaning back towards becoming more vegetarian again. Perhaps it’s because I spend a lot of time reading vegan recipe books and blogs and instagram posts for inspiration with the dairy free aspect of my cooking. And now I’ve had the realisation that it’s not that hard to remove dairy I’m starting to see that it’s also not that hard to remove eggs as well.

So I hope that both vegans and vegetarians alike will enjoy more of my baking recipes and that you guys can appreciate where I’m coming from. I don’t want to be a bore about it and I would hate to sound preachy but I just thought I ought to explain my thinking!

Double Chocolate & Peanut Butter Layer Brownies

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Bottom chocolate layer:
130g gf plain flour
65g quinoa
1 flax egg (1tbsp flax mixed with 3tbsp water leave until it gets gooey)
150g maple syrup
40g cocoa powder
2tsp arrowroot powder
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarb soda
50g dark chocolate chips

Top peanut butter layer:
100g gf plain flour
50g quinoa
1 flax egg (1tbsp flax mixed with 3tbsp water leave until it gets gooey)
100g maple syrup
150g peanut butter
100g melted coconut oil
2tsp arrowroot powder
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarb soda
1tbsp extra chocolate chips for the top


You make it like this:

  1. Mix together all the bottom layer ingredients except the chocolate chips in a blender (don’t over blend it else it will get too sticky, just until it comes together)
  2. Mix in the chocolate chips by hand
  3. Line a square 8″ tray with baking parchment
  4. Fill with the chocolate mix, using wet hands to push the mixture flat and right into the corners, make it as flat as possible
  5. Mix together all the top layer ingredients in a blender (don’t over blend it else it will get too sticky, just until it comes together)
  6. Pour mixture on top of the bottom layer and smooth out to the edges
  7. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on the top
  8. Bake at 170c for 20-25 mins until the top starts to crack
  9. Leave to cool in tin before carefully turning out and chopping into squares

So go for it….try this recipe, substitute things if you need to, you can always ask my advice if you’re not sure about something working in a recipe and I’ll try to help you out. But be confident at being creative with your cooking – trust me, it’s always worth it in the end when something looks and tastes as good as this does!!



4 thoughts on “Double Chocolate & Peanut Butter Layer Brownies

  1. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. The recipes always look fab! I have a quick question though: on the recipe above, what measurement of quinoa is required? 65 what? grams? 🙂


    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, so glad you enjoy reading it! And thanks for pointing out my error….typing too fast I think! It’s grams and I’ve corrected it on the blog.


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