Bake

Flourless Walnut Brownies

November  8, 2021
4.7
22 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis.
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • makes One 8-inch square pan
Author Notes

Flour is the difference between a fudgy brownie and a cakey brownie—the more you add, the cakier it gets. So what would happen if you didn’t add any flour? And what is flour, anyway? While the default used to be all-purpose flour, nowadays there is a truckload of non-wheat ingredients calling themselves flour, from nuts (like almonds) to grains (like oats) to legumes (like chickpeas). These come in handy if you have a wheat allergy or intolerance—or if you want a super-fudgy brownie.

In this Passover-ready dessert, we’ll take advantage of an ingredient that many brownie recipes already include: walnuts. Some get toasted and stirred into the batter. Others are left raw, for a wheat-ish subtleness, and whooshed in a food processor. The rest of the recipe is as classic as it gets, inspired by Alice Medrich’s cocoa brownies to end all cocoa brownies. Thanks to the walnuts’ buttery fat and zero gluten, the result is rich, crackly, and halfway to chocolate ganache.
Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

Adapted with permission from Big Little Recipes by Emma Laperruque, published by Ten Speed Press, 2021 —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
Flourless Walnut Brownies
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup plus ¾ cup (170 grams) chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (80 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line an 8-inch (20-centimeter) square baking dish with parchment, with overhang on two sides to lift out the baked brownies.
  2. Place ⅔ cup (80 grams) of the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown.
  3. While those cool, add the remaining ¾ cup (90 grams) walnuts to a food processor and pulse in short bursts until a crumbly meal forms. (Don’t take it too far, or you’ll end up with walnut butter.)
  4. Add the butter to a medium saucepan and set over low heat. When that’s melted, remove from the heat and use a wooden spoon to stir in the cocoa powder, then the sugar and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition until incorporated. Set a timer and mix for 2 minutes (with feeling!), until the batter is smooth and glossy. Stir in the walnut flour, then the toasted walnuts.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes, until puffed around the edges with a glossy-crackly top and a toothpick inserted near a corner comes out mostly clean. Let cool until room temperature, then remove from the pan and cut into squares.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kelly Christie
    Kelly Christie
  • Pamela_in_Tokyo
    Pamela_in_Tokyo
  • Amy
    Amy
  • elaine23
    elaine23
  • Sierra Delta
    Sierra Delta
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

23 Reviews

Kelly C. November 26, 2022
This is simply the best. love it
 
Pamela_in_Tokyo November 3, 2022
I have lots of brownie recipes, with flour and without but I keep coming back to this one. It is easy and delicious! They are fudgy and full of chocolate flavor. I use 90g of almond flour instead of making my own walnut flour. I can get that here easily in Japan. I will be making them again today!

I recommend getting the best cocoa that you can. There is a great difference in the ones that have a higher percentage of cocoa butter: 20-22%
 
Dspear August 13, 2022
Since I left my previous review, I have begun making “brookies” (brownie layer on the bottom, cookie dough layer on top), using this recipe as the base layer and the Ovenly peanut butter cookie recipe on top. I cut them into very small square and store in the freezer, which is as close to portion control as I can manage!!!
 
pklenk February 8, 2022
Third time making this recipe! It's so good! Last time I cut back the cocoa powder from 1 cup to 3/4 cup and got good results, but wanted to try getting closer to original recipe so used between 3/4 and 1 cup (7/8th). Also used method of stirring cocoa into melted butter UNTIL DISSOLVED, then adding sugar, and rest of ingredients. Although I didn't get as glossy-crackly a top as last time, (baked 25-30 min) the results were delicious! ...fudgy, moist, addictive!
 
pklenk January 29, 2022
Couldn't wait to bake another batch, but was so glad that I watched the video again! Somethg shown and mentioned in the video but not stated clearly in the printed recipe, made a big difference for me in the batter results, and ultimately the end result! The video shows and states (by author's preference) to stir the cocoa into the melted butter UNTIL IT IS DISSOLVED!!! Then stir in sugar and other ingredients. When I followed this recommendation, the batter came out as was expected...not so stiff and dry as my first batch (see Jan 11). It was easier to whisk, spread into pan, and at 25 minutes the toothpick came out mostly clean after inserted! It was "puffed around the edges with a glossy-crackly top"! Results were perfect!...fudgy, delicious, and addictive! One adjustment I made was to decrease cocoa powder by 1/4 cup and I preferred this result. Left sugar quantity the same (tasted to make sure). Still cocoa flavor, but not so intense. Soooo delicious! Now that I got batter correct, I'll probably go back and test again with recommended amount of cocoa just to compare!
 
Terry January 16, 2022
I also subbed 90 grams of almond flour for the walnut flour. Batter was very thick. The toothpick did not come out mostly clean after 25 minutes, and I kept adding time, probably another 6+ minutes. The top never got the prized crackly crust, but the brownies were delicious.
I may take them out next time at the 25 minute mark and see what happens.
 
pklenk January 11, 2022
When I saw the name of this recipe I knew I had to try it out! Batter was very stiff and seemed dry so left out some of the toasted walnuts. After the 25 minutes baking time, inserted toothpick wasn't coming out "mostly clean" so baked another 5 minutes and retested. Results were the same so baked a bit more. It was probably overdone, but nonetheless delicious and fudgey! The next day the brownies seemed even fudgier! Very deep (maybe too deep) cocoa flavor for me, so next time I may omit 1/4 cup of cocoa, and add vanilla as another baker suggested. Oh, a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top is really delicious too!
 
Pamela_in_Tokyo January 6, 2022
I used 90g of almond flour/powder (a one for one substitution) instead of walnut flour. They came out perfectly, moist, chocolaty. No almond flavor as the chocolate is intense.

I am making them again today for my husband’s birthday. I’ll bake them in an 6 inch cake pan and serve it up as a cake instead of brownies with whipped cream in top. I’ll have to cook them a bit longer I think as the pan is smaller making the cake thicker. I’m staying with almond flour/powder as I can get that easily in my Japanese supermarket here.
 
Amy January 6, 2022
These are seriously addictive. I used a scant cup of Lakanto classic monk fruit sweetener and added vanilla. They are soooooooooo good that not even my non paleo friends can the difference. I keep giving them away because I find it hard to stop at one...not good for my new workout program! Thank you!
 
sara January 3, 2022
@emma per your question, I am team 110% fudgey lol. When doing testing, did you try the recipe with chocolate chunks instead of the toasted walnuts? Curious if that would still turn out? I like nut chunks in my desserts but others in my family dont. Looking forward to your response -Thanks!
 
Bob B. December 9, 2021
These are the best brownies I have ever made or tasted. Try them for yourself.
 
Lelee December 7, 2021
So delicious thank you! Really satisfies my sweet tooth 😋
I baked it for 20 minutes instead of 25 and it came out perfect! Fudgey on the inside and an ever so slight crunch on the outside!
My new favourite recipe hehe ❤️🌟
 
Karen November 30, 2021
Anyone tried coconut oil instead of butter?
 
Amy January 6, 2022
I haven't tried it (so beware!) but I think it would work well. I substitute coconut oil for butter all the time as my sister is AIP.
 
Dspear November 21, 2021
Easy, delicious, fudginess. My new go-to recipe. Thanks!!! Used coconut sugar, which is what I use for everything.
 
elaine23 November 13, 2021
Very dense result. I was hoping for fudgy, which they were, but they also got quite hard on the outside. Maybe I over-baked? I’ll probably stick with flour-based options.
 
Misha December 28, 2021
Sounds like over baking. Perhaps check a few minutes earlier than when you took your first batch out? Differences in oven performance can impact baking results, too.
 
Sierra D. November 13, 2021
I live with people who despise walnuts, so I'll need to either use another nut or eat the whole pan myself! Could I use pecans instead, or would that not work as well as the walnut "flour"?
 
Pamela_in_Tokyo December 16, 2021
I have a walnut hater in my family too. I was thinking of using a combo of almond “flour” and whole pecans which I can easily get here in Japan. Almond “flour” can be purchased in cake ingredient shops I would think. But it is basically made the same way as the walnut flour in that almonds are pulsed finely in a food processor but not to the almond butter stage. I was also then thinking of using whole pecans as my nuts which my family DOES eat.

I have used almond flour in cakes before and it is bland enough not to assert itself. And it works in cakes. The whole pecans would be very tasty and add a nice nutty taste. And I am sure the fudgy quality of the cocoa would predominate nicely.

Bob’s Red Mill sells a nice fine almond flour.
 
Kelly C. November 26, 2022
did you ever try with pecans? I have an big bag of pecans and thought of this recipe.
 
momoffive November 12, 2021
Yum! The GF people in my life love this as do the non-GF people. It's so nice to make a sweet that everyone can enjoy. I've got a batch in the oven that is sugar-free for my diabetic mil. I used 200g of allulose plus 50g of golden lakanto. The batter was delicious.
 
Jaryn November 12, 2021
Weird! These are more like fudge than a brownie. I do love the walnut flour and additional walnuts but found them nothing like a brownie.
 
David November 10, 2021
This is likely to become a go-to recipe: it could not be easier to pull together. I made a couple of tweaks, adding cocoa nibs and vanilla. Sublime!