Convincing - A Brownie Recipe

Potty training is a messy ordeal.

I have dreams of adults in my life pooping their pants and my frantic reaction to having not packed any extra adult undies and pants in my handbag. There is just so much laundry in our lives right now, but a light at the end of the tunnel. I see it. It's cleaner there.

I am the first to admit that heavy doses of Swiss chocolate have been issued to both child and parent as a tool for survival during these long days of dirty panties and, as both bribery and celebration. We are quite strict in the house with a no white sugar and no food-coloring rule for our child's consumption. She gets plenty from her grandparents and the occasional handout at a party. But in our house, a sweet-loving house, we bake a lot with alternatives. Being 50% Swiss, my daughter has an instant attraction to "schoggi" -chocolate. Just like her Papi. We use 70% dark chocolate as a bribe to sit on the potty before we leave the house or as a reward, along with copious amounts of clapping for the coveted poop in the potty and NOT in our pants.


High in antioxidants and lower in sugar than it's sibling the Milk Chocolate, which is apparently Switzerland's favorite, dark chocolate has always had a place in our home. I find milk chocolate to be too sweet for my liking and I'm hoping my daughter will also develop a preference for the slightly more bitter, but equally as attractive, dark chocolate option as well.

Here is my favorite chocolate brownie recipe at the moment, sweetened with dates and maple, creamy from almond butter, and laden with dark chocolate. The recipe calls for nuts and salt on top. Dried cherries are also a fantastic addition to the top as well. My daughter is a purest, so at the moment we top it with nothing other than chopped chocolate and a tiny bit of Maldon salt. I can't recommend this recipe enough to replace your kids common homemade brownie, and I equally recommend it for the daily potty training celebration.

Enjoy easily being convinced of white sugar-free brownies!

Recipe provided by one of my forever cookbook loves: At Home In The Whole Food Kitchen, by Amy Chaplin.

Almond Butter Brownies With Sea Salt
yields fifteen 3 x 2 1/2 inch brownies


  • 1/2 cup packed pitted deglet noor dates (the soft large ones)
  • 1 1/2 cups wholegrain spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I have also used melted and cooled coconut oil)
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup maple sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds (optional. Other nuts and dried fruit are an option as well)
  • sea salt flakes (Maldon is the best)


  1. Place the dates in a medium bowl and soak with boiling water for 20 minutes, or until softened. Once softened, drain the dates.
  2. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder into the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  4. In a food processor, blend the almond butter, olive oil, maple syrup, maple sugar, almond milk, salt, vanilla, and softened dates until smooth.
  5. Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, using either a rubber spatula or a stand mixer to combine the two.
  6. Set two tablespoons of the chopped chocolate aside, and pour the rest into the batter. Be careful not to overmix.
  7. Pour the batter into the baking tray and spread evenly. Top with the chocolate that you set aside, the toasted almonds, and a large pinch of sea salt flakes.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes. The edges should pull away slightly from the sides of the pan.
  9. Remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to cool completely.