Chocolate-studded coconut oil brownies

Chocolate-studded coconut oil brownies

This post was created in partnership with Califia Farms.

I went through five alarms to get up this morning. FIVE. The first one was set for 4AM because I went to bed last night knowing I still had to write and proofread and format this blog post, and I wound up rolling out of bed a little after 5. I just tried making coffee without a filter (twice). And I almost threw a lit match into the trash. So I think it’s safe to say I’d be doing myself (and my neighbors) a favor if I was back in bed and not sitting in front of my laptop. But here I am, at 5:47AM, attempting to fill this space with words because my persuasive husband somehow convinced the woman who swore she’d never start watching Game of Thrones to.. start watching Game of Thrones. We watched two too many episodes last night, which resulted in me having a measly 30 minutes to squeeze in some work before needing to hit the hay. It was basically enough time to write the tags, the meta description, and set a featured image. And order $200-worth of moisturizer and mud soap from Ahava because they’re having a huge sale right now and if there’s anything I love more than buying in bulk (do we need to talk about how many rolls of toilet paper are in the basement right now?), it’s buying in bulk and getting a smokin’ deal.*

Anyway, I need to retract that statement I made about air conditioning because right after I admitted that I was being anti-AC this summer, we caved and bought one. Literally the very next day. And you know what? IT IS GLORIOUS. We got a heavy-duty window unit capable of cooling our entire place and, as a result, the 90ºF+ days have been a lot more tolerable because of it. Even better? My clothes no longer stick to me all day. I no longer have to shower before I go to bed. And I actually get to put our new range to good use this summer. Which I totally overlooked when I took the NO AC stance – that if we don’t have a proper way to cool our place, we can’t turn on the oven. And if I can’t turn on the oven.. I think you know where I’m going with this. Thankfully I pulled my head out of my ass stopped dragging my feet on the AC issue, otherwise it would have been pretty boring around these parts. And could you imagine another three straight months of OLC recipes that don’t require an oven? Just thinking about it makes me cringe.

So, without further ado, I present to you the first baked blog recipe in the new (but still unfinished) kitchen.** (I really wanted to use excessive exclamation points after that statement but I’m trying to be more like Phyllis.) This recipe has been the most requested of all the coconut oil recipes and I’m sorry it took me so long to get it to you. BUT HERE IT IS! You guys wanted coconut oil brownies aaand you got ’em. The only thing I couldn’t deliver on was making these “healthier” because I’m kind of a purist when it comes to baked brownies. You know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if you want a healthier brownie recipe, just go the raw route. Because I can promise you that reducing the sugar will result in something more akin to cake (I tried). And don’t even get me started on the suggestion to add black beans because, guys, black bean brownies pale in comparison to real deal brownies. That and life’s too short to be eating desserts laden with cans of beans.


*That episode of House Hunters induced serious rage. I don’t know if it was the way he said smokin’ deal or that he used the term smokin’ deal (excessively).. but, needless to say, we wound up not making it through that episode. And I’m pretty sure it was shortly after that we stopped watching HGTV altogether.
**A lot of you have been asking to see the kitchen but, unfortunately, it’s not 100% just yet so I’m not going to be posting about it for another month or two. If you’re on Snapchat, I tend to post a lot of unedited kitchen snaps on there. So if it’s more of the kitchen you’re wanting, look for laaadycakes.

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Notes: I’ve made this recipe with spelt flour but prefer it with white whole wheat. If you want to go the gluten free route, you can use your favorite gluten free flour blend (but make sure you measure by weight as GF flour tends to be on the weighty side). If you don’t have potato starch, you can substitute corn starch but I’d steer clear of tapioca (tried it, hated it). I always use 70% dark chocolate (SUP CHOCOLOVE) and have found that it works best, though I’d like to think anything from 65-75% would work for this recipe. I’ve provided a few variations below, one of which is my favorite – the espresso brownies. Though, if you make them and live with a coffee hater, have fun trying to finish that pan on your own. If using a 9×12″ sheet pan (or two 6×9″ sheet pans), bake for 20-22 minutes. For a 9×5″ pan (what I used for the photos), bake for 34-36 minutes.

This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, maker of my favorite non-GMO + carrageenan-free almondmilk (amongst other delicious beverages). All opinions are my own, and I think Califia rules. 


1 cup (140g) white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons (20g) potato starch
1/2 cup (40g) cacao powder
1/8 teaspoon (0.5g) baking soda

1 teaspoon (5g) fine sea salt
1/3 cup (70g) refined coconut oil
1 bar (90g) good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 cup (190g) cane sugar
1/2 cup (112g) Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
2 teaspoons (8g) pure vanilla extract

You’ll also need
1/2 bar (45g) good quality dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
Heavy pinch of sea salt flakes

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8-9″ square baking pan (I used a 9×5 pan” in the photos) (see suggested baking times for alternate pans, above) with parchment paper and grease the bottom (not the sides, or the batter will crawl up them); set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, starch, cacao powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the coconut oil and sugar, and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and stir in the almondmilk and vanilla extract. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the chocolate mixture; stir with a whisk just until combined then pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and level with the back of a spoon. Top with chopped dark chocolate, cacao nibs, and sea salt flakes then bake at 350˚F for 26-28 minutes. Allow brownies to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Brownies will keep for 4-5 days if stored in an air tight container.

Yield: 8-9 brownies

Fudgy brownies – decrease the flour by 2 tablespoons and bake brownies for 2-3 minutes less than times listed above.
Espresso brownies – increase the baking soda to 1/4 teaspoon (1g), use black & white cold brew in place of the almondmilk, and top with crushed coffee beans.
Mayan brownies – add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne.
Coconut brownies – use unrefined coconut oil, toasted coconut almondmilk, and top with coconut flakes.

Chocolate-studded coconut oil brownies


  • Reply Annie Abbey 30 June 2016 at 7:38 AM

    Oh my goodness this look utterly delicious! Thanks for sharing! I cannot wait to indulge in these!
    xx Annie

  • Reply Raquel 30 June 2016 at 8:33 AM

    I’m so excited to try these! I’ve got some flaky salt waiting to be used! Last night I told my husband “yess! Tomorrow is Thursday. My favorite blogger is posting her coconut oil brownie recipe!” He just kind of looked at me and smiled haha… It’s the small things in life that make me happy :) Can’t wait to make these!

  • Reply Ellie | Hungry by Nature 30 June 2016 at 8:46 AM

    These brownies look like a dream. And because of you, I cannot but anything other than Califia Farms – I freaking LOVE it. (It was really hard for me to not type an exclamation point after that sentence…)

  • Reply hannah 30 June 2016 at 8:48 AM

    UMMM thank you for the “get the beans out of my brownies” comment! I feel the same way about green smoothies. I LOVE beans and I LOOOOOVE greens and eat them both all the time. Which is why I feel that I should get to drink, say, a strawberry-banana-PB smoothie without turning it poop-colored from a handful of kale. So yeah, these brownies look completely amazing, and I think I’ll be bringing them to a cookout this weekend. With a giant bowl of slaw on the side.

  • Reply Aimee @ twiggstudios 30 June 2016 at 9:42 AM

    These look incredible x

  • Reply Clem @ the vegan cookie fairy 30 June 2016 at 10:13 AM


  • Reply Sarah | Well and Full 30 June 2016 at 11:12 AM

    I was anti-AC when I lived in my first apartment out of college, but I quickly caved too ;) The cool air is just so glorious!! Hope you’re enjoying it :) Also these brownies look so fudgy and perfect!! I am so envious of your baking skillz, I can barely make pancakes over here. :D

  • Reply Katrina 30 June 2016 at 2:16 PM

    I want these in my body and in my life NOW! And fack, along with life being too short to eat bean filled desserts, it’s also too short to be miserable and hot all the time IF you can afford an AC! Good on ya girl! Totally making these ASAP.

  • Reply Maya | Spice + Sprout 30 June 2016 at 4:10 PM

    Umm YES! These look so amazing, I definitely just added a few more items to my grocery list so I can make these tonight ;)

  • Reply Erica 30 June 2016 at 6:25 PM

    I love that you make your brownies in a 9×5. So freaking simple and brilliant. These look amazing.

  • Reply Allana 30 June 2016 at 6:54 PM

    Hi! I’m so excited to try this recipe. Do you know of any cane sugar substitutes? Do you think coconut sugar or maple syrup would work? Thank you!!

    • Reply Ashlae 1 July 2016 at 7:31 AM

      Hi Allana –

      I most certainly wouldn’t use a liquid sugar substitute, as it will throw off the wet:dry ingredient ratio. You could try coconut sugar, though I can’t make any promises as I haven’t tried the recipe with anything other than cane sugar.

  • Reply Asha 30 June 2016 at 8:10 PM

    Hi Ashlae, thanks for sharing this recipe. It looks soooo yum! Almond milk is very expensive where I live. Would coconut milk work in its place? Many thanks.

    • Reply Ashlae 1 July 2016 at 7:32 AM

      Hi Asha –

      Coconut milk will work but make sure it’s not the (full-fat) canned variety.

  • Reply Pia 1 July 2016 at 4:55 AM

    Ashlae, this post honestly made me giggle, although I will admit that I feel both sorry for, and envious of, you. Why? Because for over a year now, my entire daily structure has been absolutely screwed, and I’ve gone from going to bed at 21:30 – 22:00 and getting up at 5-ish every morning, to hitting the feathers around 24:00 – 01:00 in the morning and getting up at like 9:30. Just a slight difference, huh? Anyway, thanks for pulling yourself out of bed, despite the unbelievable tiredness, so as to give your readers something to read, and potentially a new recipe to try over weekend. Do make sure you get some serious rest today and over the next couple of days though, okay?
    All the best =)

  • Reply Michelle 1 July 2016 at 8:40 AM

    Oh my gosh- a lit match in the trash! That is scary.

    I can’t wait to try this recipe, it looks fantastic!

  • Reply Friday Faves 1 July 2016 at 8:53 AM

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  • Reply Rossi @ A Baking Girl 1 July 2016 at 5:39 PM

    Your photos are always gorgeous, but for some reason (probably the brownies) these are ever more stellar than usual. Looks phenomenal!

  • Reply Laura 1 July 2016 at 9:33 PM

    I’ve just made a batch of these are they’re delicious!! I got half-way through the recipe and realised I didn’t have any type of milk whatsoever in my apartment so I substituted with water and they’re still tasty!

  • Reply Chelsea 2 July 2016 at 6:46 AM

    I resist the AC too. We have AC, but the only time we use it is overnight on the really really stupidly hot nights. We tried sleeping through one of those nights without the AC a few weeks ago and we caved and turned on the AC around midnight when neither of us could stand it haha.

    I’m glad you didn’t try to make these too healthy – they look perfect as is! Besides, brownies aren’t meant to be healthy. ;)

  • Reply Jane 4 July 2016 at 8:03 PM

    Just made these – they are delicious! I unknowingly only had ww flour at home, but they still tasted wonderful and didn’t affect the flavour. I used a dark chocolate-honeycomb bar for the chocolate chunks, and gave a nice contrast to the cocoa :)

    Can’t wait for other recipes to come from your new kitchen….especially the coconut yogurt!

  • Reply Samantha 5 July 2016 at 7:17 AM

    I made these for the 4th and they were gone before I got to them! Brilliant recipe. Everyone loved them!

  • Reply Nik Sharma 5 July 2016 at 9:22 AM

    Gosh, we have an AC that I picked up last summer before we moved to Oakland and now we never use it because it is perpetually cool or chilly during summer (not as bad as SF). Currently, our new cat uses it as his perching stool. The brownie combinations sound delicious, especially those coconut ones (adding it to my list).

  • Reply Jayme | holly & flora 7 July 2016 at 10:31 PM

    You feisty soul, you!! Anti-black bean and all! Whatevs. I’m not missing them here. And I say that I’ll trade you a scoby for just two bites of these. I think that’s fair. ;-)

    We are still AC-free this summer, but I’ve been scouting out swamp coolers. It’s just been unbearable to write or do anything cooking-related in an 87-degree house. Good for you, woman!

    Big hugs and sweet dreams of bean-free chocolate-y treats!

  • Reply erin 24 July 2016 at 8:51 PM

    Can I use king Arthur all purpose flour? Will I need to adjust weight at all?

  • Reply Lena 14 October 2016 at 2:12 PM

    Hi!! These are sooo yummy, but even though I’m following the recipe for fudge-y brownies, they’re still coming out crumbly. Any advice?? Thanks!

    • Reply Ashlae 14 October 2016 at 2:17 PM

      Hi Lena –

      Sounds like your oven is running warm, so bake the brownies for 4-5 minutes less.

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  • Reply Vee 19 May 2017 at 11:03 PM

    I felt like I had to say a quick thank you, these brownies are my absolute favourite and have quickly worked their way into my baking rotation. My roommates thank you, too! I usually use arrowroot instead of potato starch, since I always have it on hand. I’ve started adding 2 tbsp less flour for fudgier brownies, as suggested. I’ve also modified the process a bit to make it a little easier since I’m very lazy: I melt the coconut oil in a saucepan, then stir the chopped chocolate into the warm oil until melted. Then I mix everything else right into the same saucepan. You always run the risk that the chocolate may seize (that happened once, the mixture looked curdled but I threw it into the oven anyway and it still worked, they were just much fudgier) but it’s mostly worked just fine. I’ve used all kinds of chocolate, from unsweetened, to 70 percent, to 55 percent. I don’t bother adjusting the sugar and they’re always delicious, just different levels of intense. I prefer the 70 percent. I studded the last batch with raspberries and they’ve been my favourite addition so far. I might even try the next batch with canola or another neutral flavoured oil and see how that compares. But again, thank you! This is by far the best vegan brownie recipe I have ever tried and I’m so glad it’s in my life.

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