Mocha Walnut Brownies

If you haven’t already signed up for the Wheat Belly newsletter, please do so (left navigation bar). This was the recipe that we sent out recently. For anyone who hasn’t yet signed up, I reproduce it here.

Richer than a cookie, heavier than a muffin, brownies are ordinarily an indulgence that leaves you ashamed of your lack of restraint. Have one . .  . or two or three, and you will surely pack on a pound of belly fat.

But these mocha walnut brownies, as with other recipes I provide, will not pack on the pounds. With no wheat to trigger appetite, nor any readily-digestible carbohydrate to generate blood sugar highs and lows, you can have a nice brownie or two or three and nothing bad happens: You don’t send blood sugar sky-high, don’t trigger formation of small LDL particles and triglycerides, you don’t trigger appetite, you don’t gain a pound of belly fat. You simply have your brownie(s) and enjoy them.

Serve these brownies plain or topped with cream cheese, natural peanut or almond butter, or dipped in coffee.

8 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate (100% chocolate)
4 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
2 large eggs, separated
½ cup coconut milk (or sour cream)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups ground almonds
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (or plain dried instant coffee)
Sweetener equivalent to 1 cup sugar or to taste (e.g., liquid stevia, Truvía, erythritol)

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Melt chocolate using double boiler method or in 15-second increments in microwave. Stir in melted coconut oil or butter.

In small bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Add egg whites, egg yolks, coconut milk, and vanilla extract to chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly by hand.

In separate bowl, combine ground almonds, coconut flour, walnuts, cocoa powder, espresso, and sweetener. Mix thoroughly.

Add dry mix to chocolate mix and mix together thoroughly. If dough is too stiff, add additional coconut milk, one tablespoon at a time.

Place mixture in 9-inch square baking pan and bake for 25 -30 minutes or until toothpick withdraws dry.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Boundless

    > 2 teaspoons instant espresso

    Is this 2 tsp of the powder, or 2 tsp of the beverage?
    This question arose at our house yesterday in another WBB recipe, and I couldn’t tell.

    Also, we looked for instant espresso in two upscale regional chain groceries, and found none. Can you suggest a brand (perhaps we can get it on line).

    • Cat

      Boundless, Medalia D’Oro is an instant espresso. I think I’d put in the dry ingredient.
      Knowing me, though, last minute I’d add a tablespoon of Kaluha instead (the liquor). My idea being that it’s a teeny amount of rum sugar in the whole recipe and the alcohol evaporates (so it’s not like adding extra liquid).

      BTW, Boundless, i tried to paste the link to merc. protein bars ingredients for you, but this site doesn’t take msgs with links. So, if you’re still interested, just go to the site and you should be able to link your way through to the ingredients pop-up, provided you “allow” it to come in on your browser.

      • Boundless

        Thanks for the espresso tip. We’ll look for it.

        > I think I’d put in the dry ingredient.

        I’d like to suggest to recipe submitters that they assume the reader is not a skilled cook. Inexperience is apt to be the rule for many who suddenly discover that they need a major diet shift.

        > … merc. protein bars ingredients …

        I found the PDF on that site. They don’t make it easy to find or read. Those bars have, to my view, a surprisingly high net carb content, including a lot of sugars (12g; as tapioca syrup, sugar & tapioca dextrose), and not much protein.

        > … this site doesn’t take msgs with links.

        It does accept some. I post links to earlier discussions frequently. The site, alas, also allows you to make a link of your username, and spammers are taking full advantage of that (and not all are being found, nor is there any effective way to report the older ones that have slipped by the web wardens).

        • Boundless

          Another bar brand I see bandied about here is Quest Bar. They have very low net carbs, and massive amounts of protein (perhaps too much). Nobody really gets it (hint, hint, Dr.D).

          Both of these brands are expensive (well over $2 per bar, including shipping), compared to under $1 for Balance and Zone (which have about the same carbs as the Mercola, but much more protein).

          As with the Mercola bars, Quest are available only on line, in qty 12 cartons. Despite the fact that Quest have multiple flavors, they don’t offer a sampler carton with a variety – I’d try them if they did. Sigh. I can’t tell if these folks are hiding something, or are just totally inept at marketing.

          • Joan F

            I love the Quest bars, especially when you nuke them for about 40 seconds. The chocolate ones taste just like brownies fresh out of the oven when you do this. You can buy individual bars from them, so you can make up a sampler that way. Plus, I believe I bought a sampler of two bars of each flavor, could be that they have changed this as they change their site quite often. These are the older bars, I like them much better than their new “all natural” ones which seem much less flavorful.

            I really am tired of cooking after decades of doing so, especially in the morning when I want my coffee and something simple right now. So I eat a Quest bar for breakfast, they stick with you for quite a while.

          • Cat

            Hi! I like Quest Bars, too! I’m trying all the bars out there. I get the chocolate brownie — I don’t go in for sweets, except chocolate, so this suits me fine. And there IS a Quest bar sampler pack :

            Vanilla Almond Crunch, Peanut Butter Supreme, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Mixed Berry Bliss, Chocolate Brownie and Apple Pie.

            google Quest bars sample.


            But, yeah — I would LOVE “Billy Bars”.

          • Boundless

            Cat: > But, yeah — I would LOVE “Billy Bars”.

            I’d like to suggest to the readership that they be careful in posting potential product brand names here in the blog. Should you post a valuable one, some squatter could steal the domain, and the Poison By Grain Council could register the trademark before Dr. Davis even had a product ready.

            Dr. Davis really needs to open a discrete communication channel for product/name suggestions, and other topics not suitable for broadcast. I can think of much to say on the topic of potential packaged foods, but there is no safe place to post it, and nowhere to send it.

            Ditto for spam/abuse reports.

          • I am a fan of Quest bars, too. They are kind of expensive, but what I do is use ebates to go to and I buy the bars there. has free shipping, and if you access the site through ebates you get 10% cash back on the purchase. That probably seems like a lot of hoop jumping, but if it saves a couple bucks I consider it worthwhile. That’s my savings tip for Quest bars. :)

            I like the almond crunch and brownie bars better than the apple pie ones. Those are the only flavors I’ve tried so far. They do make a good fast breakfast. I had one today and wasn’t hungry for lunch until about 4 hours later.

          • Boundless

            re: Quest sampler

            Amazon doesn’t have them, but the Quest site itself does.
            You have to buy two different cartons to get 12 flavors, at $25 each, and about $5 to ship.

            So it’s a $55 gamble.

    • Hi, Boundlesss–

      It’s the instant powder. Just plain instant coffee works fine, too.

      You might even replace the powder with some real coffee. I’ve not tried it, but I’m sure it would work. Just cut back the other liquids so it’s not too thin.

  2. Cindi

    Oh my. I need to wait a bit to make these but they look awesome. I have too much goodies (wheat free of course) leftover from last night.

  3. Deb

    looks great I’ll have to try it but I dont have any ground almonds at the moment.
    what do you do with the yolks?

    • Amrita

      For Deb – when you re-read the directions, you’ll notice that you are going to use the egg yolks too – part of the wet ingredients. My question – the 9 inch baking pan – is that a 9 inch round cake pan or square pan or the 9 x 13 pan I typically use to make brownies? The volume of batter you would get from the list suggests to me that you would need the 9 x13 pan, but the recipe just refers to a 9 inch pan. Thanks!

    • Cat


      Which sweetener did you use? My husband seems to be able to taste the sweetener subs. (He only likes sucrose and fructose, it seems). Thanks!

      • Pat Taylor

        I used Sweetzfree, which I purchased online, for the brownies.
        But, I do understand what your husband is saying about the sweetener subs, and I am still looking for something better, and open to suggestions.

        • Kim

          Hey Pat and Cat,
          I made this tonight and I used Xyla as the sweetner. It tasted great. Maybe your husband will like that one, Cat. I couldn’t taste any after taste at all. I left out the expresso (because I didn’t have any), and I chose butter instead of coconut oil. I only had Coconut Cream (not milk) so I added 1/2 cup of that and a little more milk to make it less thick. And I substituted 2 – 3oz Endangered Species Panther bars (5 g sugar each and 88% chocolate) for the baking chocolate as I was out of it.

          This recipe turned out awesome, and it’s the first time I’ve baked with Xyla. I’m impressed. Best if you let it set and cool before cutting. It tends to crumble when just out of the oven, but I couldn’t wait:-) Thanks, Dr. Davis. Great recipe!

          P.S. It’s also great with a little cream over the top:-) I’m sure whipped cream would be great, too:-))

          • cat

            Thanks Kim,
            Will look at xyla. Honestly, I have been living without sweeteners for so long I don’t even know what’s out there.

            (Side note: I’m still somewhat stuck on the old feeling that no matter what the sweetener it will have some kind of bad effect eventually. For example the sweet taste may make your body release certain digestive juices, or something, it would not otherwise, because now it thinks it’s got “sugar”. Could this eventually lead to a sugar-caused illness? We do not know.)


      • Stephanie KL

        I usually do but Dr. Davis’ recipes don’t seem to indicate the need. I recently made the raspberry cheesecake recipe (but with strawberries) not greasing the pan and the crust separated from the cheesecake. My husband was understanding even though it was his birthday cake. While it’s crumbly when placed on a plate, he is still enjoying it.

    • Depends on your pans. I’ve used Pyrex and metal pans and both have allowed fairly effortless removal.

      If you like to grease first, coconut oil is very good for this.

  4. Rylyjo

    I just stumbled across this today-looks very interesting. My only problem is that my hubby is allergic to tree nuts. Any other way to make these & your other recipes work without using tree nuts?

  5. Philis Hileman

    You can make good brownies with coconut flour. Just google Coconut Flour Brownies or gluten free coconut flour brownies.

    Healthy Indulgence has a recipe for coconut flour brownies that are quite good called “Healthy Coconut Flour Brownies” May ’09 version. That is one example to try. She has other recipes using coconut flour

    Comfy Belly ( Erica Kerwien) has a lot of recipes with Coconut flour.

    There is a Coconut Flour Cookbook by Bruce Fife.

    Good Luck & Happy New Year.


  6. Tori

    Ok….what did I do wrong. Made these and they turned out terrible??? I used the whole box of unsweetened bakers chocolate squares( like 8 big squares)….is that right? I only had two packets of stevia and maybe needed four? I am going to try again because based on the recipe, these have to be great(-:

    • You likely really fell short on sweetener, Tori.

      Because these sweeteners differ dramatically in sweetness per volume, always taste test your batter before putting in the oven.

      Also, note that the packets are mostly maltodextrin: sugar. I would try liquid stevia, Truvia, or erythritol, but still taste test first.

      • Tori

        Yes, I believe it was the lack of sweetener. The batter was terrible but I had no access to any other stevia…..only my mother’s refined garbage. I should have just stored it until I got home and added the extra stevia. Thanks for the advice on the powdered stevia. I will do the liquid next time.

        I can’t wait until I can hear you on Jimmy’s show!!!

  7. I made these today and they taste great but are very dry. I put quite a bit extra coconut milk in before baking, but I ended up with lots of good tasting crumbs. I used Splenda granules. Could that be the problem…too much dry ingredients?

    • Kim

      Ricki, I noticed when I pulled the pan out of the oven and let it cool a bit the brownie I tried to eat was crumbly. But I believe they call the process “setting up” and it requires you put the brownies in the fridge over night before slicing. I notices my brownies were much more compact and moist the next day. Go figure?!? But I discovered this reading other recipe blogs with sugar free recipes. Maybe you’ll find the same is true for you tomorrow.

  8. Kristen

    I tired these using liquid stevia and they came out horrible! They were way too rich, bitter, and overpowering. I used 1 tsp of stevia liquid, which should be the correct amount according to the stevia conversion chart I use. So so sad about these. They were really awful. I hate to waste good flour!

    • Hi, Kristen–

      Sorry about your brownie mess. Every sweetener–stevia, liquid vs. powder, Truvia, erythritol, etc.–is different, unlike just cooking with sugar.

      It usually pays to just taste your batter before cooking and make adjustments.

      • Tori

        Hey Doc, what sweetener did you use? Mine are still pretty bitter even after 5 packets of stevia. What is your sweetener of choice? I did whip up some heavy cream with a bit of stevia and used that as a frosting. It tasted a lot better.

        • You might try Truvia or erythritol. If you’d like to stick with stevia, the best I’ve come across is the KAL brand that a friend gave me.

          • Tori Spinoso

            I just heard from Jimmy Moore’s podcast that stevia becomes bitter when heated. Maybe that is my problem. Will try Truvia next time. They actually got much better after two days. Very fudge-like consistency.

        • catherine

          I used Truvia in liquid form and tasted the mix, added some more, tasted, added some more, etc. They turned out beautifully and the whole extended family loved them!

  9. Stefani

    I also baked these brownies today as I was definitely needing some chocolate in my life! My young girls came in from playing outside and were bouncing with excitement because ‘mommy baked chocolate chips cookies!!’ :) They smell amazing! I think I’ll cool them in the fridge first then see about how they cut. I used a cup of stevia sugar per the sugar directions (measures cup for cup like sugar). Did I OD on sugar? I’ll be back with results!!

  10. Jan

    I made these last night and had to trash them. They were so bitter. After tasting them, I looked back at the recipe and noticed it did not call for any salt. I used Splenda, maybe that was the wrong choice. Too bad because of the money I had to spend to make them.

  11. CJ

    I have made these three times and all have been very good (the last two times were Great!).
    The first time I used butter and sour cream, they were much dryer than the next batches where I used coconut oil and coconut milk (the second time I forgot to put in the whipped egg whites but we didn”t notice a difference).
    I use Xylitol as a sweetener. Warm, the brownies are crumbly, but once they cool & set they are a cross between fudge and a brownie. We keep ours on the table covered and they only seem to get better over time, don”t dry out, don”t mold (well actually they haven”t been around for much more than a week). We roast our own coffee, so I just grind some espresso beans and add to the dry ingredients (I misread the ingredients the first time and added 2T instead of 2t but we liked it so, I keep making the same “mistake”). And yes, a dolplop (a large dollop) of whipped cream is wonderful on top!

  12. Nick

    A few tips on sweeteners from a long time low-carber who”s done a lot of experimenting with sweeteners and baking:

    * Don”t use granular (cup for cup measure) splenda. The filler is basically just sugar. Liquid splenda is great (1 drop for 1.5-2 teaspoons sweetness), but even packets (1 packet for 2 teaspoons sweetness) are better than granular.
    * Liquid Splenda alone works wonderfully for most things, especially where the texture of sugar isn”t critical.
    * If you need the texture of sugar, try adding polydextrose (pre-biotic fiber with only minimal sweetness; this is NOT the same as dextrose aka sugar) or erythritol (the only sugar alcohol I”ll even consider using).
    * Chocolate sweetened solely with splenda tastes bitter and metallic and terrible. You can probably get up to 75% of your sweetness from liquid splenda if you combine it with a few other sweeteners. Some combination of Ace K (Acesulfame Potassium — “Sweet Ones” packets), erythritol, and polydextrose to make up the remaining 25% sweetness is my preference.
    * Combining multiple sweeteners usually gives a synergistic effect. This means 1 cup”s sweetness of splenda + 1 cup”s sweetness of erythitrol combined tastes sweeter than 2 cups of sugar. Combining also usually improves the taste.
    * 1 cup polydextrose only has the sweetness of about 2 tablespoons of sugar — it”s used primarily for texture and synergistic effects.
    * For the 1 cup sweetness in this recipe, I would ideally use ~15 drops liquid splenda, half a packet of AceK, 2 tablespoons erythritol, 2-3 tablespoons polydextrose. Then taste the batter before baking and add splenda as needed. Alternatively, use ~15 drops splenda + 3-4 packets Truvia.
    * Particularly if erythitrol is used as a primary sweetener (more than about 25%), it needs to fully dissolve in liquid (preferably warm liquid) before integrating with the rest of your ingredients or you might get a minty “cooling” effect that might taste funny. Polydextrose also helps control this effect.
    * Truvia is erythitrol + stevia

  13. Ginger

    I finally made these brownies last night after much deliberation on the sweetner. I have Stevia at home (liquid and granular), but I read above that it may become biter from the addition of this, and that granular will dry it out. We don”t have liquid Splenda/Truvia in Canada, so I went out and bought Sugar Twin liquid and used that. Sodium Cyclamate… Oh great, I just found out it”s been banned in the US. Wonderful news, hahaha. I hope a few brownies won”t hurt me. I won”t be using it often enough for it to matter I don”t think. I normally don”t sweeten anything it I eat, with natural or artificial sweeteners. I”ve moved away from that since I started on the Wheat Belly Plan… and my tastes have definitely change. Anyhow, it was 1/4 cup equivalent to sweetness of 1 cup of sugar. I should have added extra coconut milk to the batter, but I”ve never made brownies before and wasn”t sure of the right consistency to have. They will be even better next time.

    Anyhow, I made and cut the brownies last night and ate them virtually right away. I couldn”t wait. But I should have because I was kind of disappointed at the immediate product. Kind of dry and I wasn”t sure of the taste. But I let the rest cool and I put them in the refrigerator over night. WOW What a difference. Today they are fudgy and have a great consistency and the flavours have really evened out. It”s about as close to a brownie as I”ve been in months – and it felt good knowing that it wasn”t going to throw me off course.


    • Nat in Ottawa

      Ginger –

      Truvia may not be available Canada but we have something similar. I’ve been using the Krisda brand, which is very good (i.e. not bitter). It consists of inulin (Chicory root), erythritol, stevia leaf extract, natural flavour. Although I’ve now grown leery of “natural flavours”, which can be code for “something nasty”, I’m betting that this is less bad than many other sweeteners. I’ve certainly banned splenda from my kitchen after reading its effects on health and appetite in several sources (see Dr. Mercola, for ex). I buy the Krisda in the “health” section of the Loblaw family of stores.

  14. DR.Davies,
    Thank you for saving my life! 50 years tracking false prophhets, blind alleys, misleading the public with money behind all their proaganda.
    Technology at last, uncovers false docturine.
    Reading “Wheat Belly” and applying info,for those that will read this,sweetners are very deceptive. My education re:the effects was from a diebetic. Woe and behold enter Splenda. The more I used it the cravings increased. then dizzness, fluctuation hot/cold must be menopause, also taking Premarin. Well I had enough. I stopped and all of the imposters also left.I also bake: read every label, take nothing for granted. My nursing career was interrupted, after thirty years due to auto accidents opened another path to investigating food related illness.
    Many thanks, sincerely Peggy Cyprowski

  15. Sally

    I want to try this recipe and I was wondering if you could use coconut palm sugar for the sweetener???

  16. Heidi

    How do you feel about Whey Low as a sugar substitute, I don’t have diabetes but use their granular – D for diabetics to further reduce the blood sugar impact. It measures and tastes just like sugar and have used all their products as I’m a low-carber. Have just bought the book for my reader an am excited to take this step to a new me but need to figure out the sweetener decision.

  17. Marcia Vaughn

    I made these brownies today, but cut the recipe in half since I was trying a new recipe. Texture was very good, but for those of you who think they came out too bitter, I too was worried when I saw the amount of bitter chocolate going into the recipe (double the amount of a regular brownie recipe). I also agree that they are bitter, but I believe it is due to the large amount of bitter chocoate + cocoa rather than to a lack of sweetner. I am a dark chocolate lover, but even this was too much. Next time I make these (and I plan to), I will cut the bittersweet chocolate in half. It will also allow me to use less artificial sweetner (I used Truvia packets). I also didn’t have espresso on hand, but since I “cold brew” my decaf coffee, I have concentrated coffee ready in my frig. I added it by the tablespoon until the brownies were a good spreading consistancy. All in all, once I get the chocolate/sweetener ratio to my liking, I can see this recipe becoming one of my regulars. By the way, since reading Dr. Davis’s book last week, I have lost more weight in one week than I have in 2 months of agonizing over calories. Thanks!

  18. Janelle

    Just made these. I agree with Marcia a little to bitter. I used Truvia as my sugar as that is what we are used to. I did add a lot more sweetener then what recipe called for and I used unsweetened almond milk instead of coconut milk. Also used more of the milk too, just eyeballed that till I thought it was spreadable enough to pour in the pan. I am going to make this again but maybe like Marcia said with half the chocolate. I think it could be a real good dessert. Also what do think of using almond flour instead of ground almonds? Just a thought.

    • Dr. Davis

      Works just fine, Janelle.

      As you are learning, you may need to alter the quantity of liquid when you change “flours.”

  19. cynthia

    Yummy! Just made these over the weekend and they are so delicious! Nutty, moist and great with a cup of coffee or tea. I forgot the instant coffee, so mine are just chocolate, but they are rich. I read other WBers’ suggestions to cut down on the pure chocolate (since i am not a fan of bitter chocolate) so only added 5oz of melted chocolate and the normal amount of cocoa powder. I had one for lunch today and I feel no guilt!! Love this way of life!

  20. Nancy Ricci

    I just made the mocha walnut brownies from the new cookbook. This recipe differs from recipe mentioned above. In the book they forget to say add sugar, listed in ingredients, but not mentioned thereafter, so I forgot to add, mine came out soaking in butter, which I had to drain off the top……didn’t taste yet. Did I do something wrong, besides forgetting the sugar substitute?

    • Mary Ellis

      I just made the recipe from the cookbook and thought something was off – the brownies were swimming in butter and while I like bitter chocolate, the brownies ended up being too bitter and down right awful. I’m hoping the cookbook comes out with a revision of some of the recipes. Didn’t have good luck with the peanut butter cookie recipe either and something is off with the key lime pie recipe as well. I’ll make brownies this week using this recipe. I had to throw the batch I just made out.

      Dr. Davis – will you be have another edition with the revised recipes?

  21. Marti

    I have your recipe book and the Mocha Walnut Brownies recipe is different than this one. Which one is correct or better? The one in the book does not call for almond flour or ground almonds, but has golden flaxseeds. It also only calls for 1/2 teaspoon of liquid stevia. I read a lot of the reviews about the sweetness of the brownies and before I tried it I just wanted to make sure there weren’t any typos on the recipe. Thanks,

    • > How does this recipe work for a diabetic?

      Like all Wheat Belly recipes, I presume:
      zero effect on blood sugar.

      Is the person in question T1D or T2D?
      By switching to a low-carb high-fat diet, T2D can usually be made to simply vanish.

      T1D can usually be managed with minimal or no drugs by driving the carb content lower (into nutritional ketosis), observing extra care if the patient produces near-zero or zero insulin.