These Pumpkin Swirl Brownies are naturally sweetened and made with coconut flour, making them Paleo pumpkin brownies. This is the perfect pumpkin brownie recipe if you're looking for something indulgent that will still make you feel good!
You can't start off the month of October without pumpkin! I'm one of those Fall-creatures-of-habit and love to dive into all the pumpkin goodness this season has to offer. I love trying new innovative pumpkin ideas as well as making my own tried and true recipes.
One of my favorite ways to add pumpkin to my menu is with these Pumpkin Swirl Brownies. Taking a gooey, fudgy brownie and adding a swirl of pumpkin custard is just the right thing to do.
These brownies are both gluten free and paleo friendly and all kids will love them! They'd make a great addition to any Halloween parties you may have coming up as well.
Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
For the Brownie Batter:
- 2/3 cup coconut oil melted
- 2/3 cup honey
- 4 eggs large
- 2/3 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2/3 tsp sea salt
For the Pumpkin Swirl:
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 egg
- 2 TB coconut oil melted
- 2 TB coconut sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 square brownie pan with parchment paper.
- In a food processor (or by hand) combine melted coconut oil, honey, 4 eggs, coconut flour, cocoa powder, water, vanilla and sea salt. Blend the batter until completely smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine: pumpkin puree, 1 egg, 2 T coconut oil, 2 T coconut sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp nutmeg to make the pumpkin swirl.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Spoon dollops of the pumpkin swirl over the brownie batter, then use a butter knife and cut through to create a marbled look.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until a knife when inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before serving.
What makes these Paleo pumpkin brownies?
While this pumpkin brownie recipe is without a doubt indulgent, it's also made with some pretty great ingredients. It uses coconut flour instead of a wheat-based flour and calls for a mix of honey and coconut sugar instead of refined cane sugar.
So why are coconut flour and coconut sugar allowed on the Paleo diet?
Coconut flour is simply ground up dried coconut, so doesn't contain any questionable ingredients. It is not highly processed and is found in nature, making it a good Paleo flour option.
Similarly, coconut sugar is considered Paleo because it is a natural sweetener made from dehydrating the sap from the coconut palm tree. It is much less processed than cane sugar and contains some nutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium and antioxidants. It is also slightly lower on the GI index, meaning it does not impact your blood sugar as significantly. Consuming coconut sugar is similar to using honey or pure maple syrup – it is a healthier option when choosing a sweetener, but should still be used in moderation.
Another factor making my pumpkin brownies a good Paleo option is that they are also totally dairy free, using coconut oil in place of butter. If you're looking for more dairy free recipes, make sure to check out my YouTube video on 10 Dairy Free Alternatives to favorite foods!
Can I substitute almond flour for coconut flour?
In short, no. Coconut flour behaves quite differently than other gluten free flours. It absorbs much more liquid than other flours. If you review coconut flour recipes like this one, you'll notice the flour to liquid ratio is different than in recipes using other types of flour.
As with this coconut flour brownie recipe, lots of eggs are often used to provide moisture and help bind the recipe. Combined with the fact that coconut flour is relatively high in protein, this results in a fairly high protein baked good – an added bonus!
While I don't recommend you substitute for the coconut flour here unless you're quite experienced with using this type of flour, the good news is coconut flour is easy to come by and relatively inexpensive. This 16 oz bag from Thrive Market is only $3.49!
What is the nutrition like for these pumpkin swirl brownies?
While clearly a dessert, my pumpkin swirl brownies do actually offer some nutritional benefits. Pumpkin, ginger, cocoa powder – these are all ingredients that pack in some serious health perks! Here are some of the nutritional benefits you can expect from this brownie recipe:
- Coconut Oil: Much of the beneficial nutritional impact from coconut oil stems from the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) it contains. Processed differently than other fats, your liver turns MCTs into ketones, which are good for brain health. The lauric acid found in coconut also has beneficial antimicrobial properties.
- Coconut Flour: Coconut flour may benefit heart health, blood sugar stability, and digestion. Furthermore, a 1/4 cup serving offers 6 grams of protein and 20% of daily iron needs.
- Honey: Honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which are strongest in darker honey. Buy raw local honey when possible as filtering the honey can diminish its nutrients.
- Eggs: An egg contains 7 grams of protein and is full of lutein (good for your eyes) and choline (good for your brain).
- Cocoa Powder: Rich in the antioxidant known as polyphenols, cocoa powder may help decrease inflammation and lower blood pressure. This is one superfood it's easy to get the kiddos to eat!
- Pumpkin: Super high in vitamin K and beta-carotene, pumpkin also contains vitamin C, vitamin E and Iron. All of these nutrients make pumpkin great for your immune system, eye health and heart health. Just make sure the canned pumpkin you buy has only one ingredient – pumpkin!
- Cinnamon: Frequently used in traditional medicine, cinnamon is good for your heart and also may help stabilize blood sugar. Research also suggests that cinnamon may help lower cholesterol.
- Ginger: Ginger helps with nausea and indigestion and also provides antibacterial and antioxidant benefits.
Can I make my own pumpkin puree for this pumpkin brownie recipe?
Sure! If you're feeling ambitious, try making homemade pumpkin puree instead of using canned. While this obviously requires more time and effort, it can be a really fun kitchen project to tackle with your kids – a perfect activity for a cold winter day!
Making homemade pumpkin puree is actually super simple. First, make sure you have a sugar pumpkin or baking pumpkin – these are smaller than the pumpkins used for jack-o-lanterns and have more flavor. Cut the pumpkin in half, top to bottom, and scrape out the seeds (save these for roasting!) Then simply brush a little olive oil on the pumpkin flesh and roast at 400 F until soft. Let it cool a bit and scrape the flesh into a food processor. Process until pureed and you're ready to go!
While homemade pumpkin puree isn't necessarily healthier than canned (as long as the only ingredient is pumpkin), it can have a deeper flavor and can be fun to make if you have a bit of extra time!
Want more pumpkin recipes? See some of our favorites here!
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