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Classic – but updated, Healthier Buckeye Brownies. Think fudgy, rich chocolate brownie, layered with creamy peanut butter, and sweet salted chocolate on top. All made with simple wholesome ingredients: almond flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, eggs, pure maple syrup, natural peanut butter, and dark chocolate. They’re sweet, salty, heavy on the peanut butter, extra chocolatey, gluten-free, and butter-free. Every last bite is truly delicious and just as yummy as a sugar-filled buckeye ball (if not more so).

Healthier Buckeye Brownies | halfbakedharvest.com

Happy Friday everyone! We’re celebrating a long week with a new favorite dessert that just so happens to be pretty good for us, dare I say healthy?

To me, with no added sugar and large amounts of dark chocolate, I’d say these brownies can actually be considered a rather wholesome treat! Of course, everyone has their own opinion, but for me personally, knowing that I’m using real, wholesome ingredients makes me happy!

I usually hate to use the word “healthy” because I really don’t believe in labeling food as healthy or not. But I couldn’t come up with another word that really got the point across clean and simple.

Healthier Buckeye Brownies | halfbakedharvest.com

To me, these are buckeye brownies without the sugar and with the addition of lots of rich dark chocolate. I really love them!

I actually made these with just one person in mind, my mom. It was her birthday this week and I knew the only thing I could make her was a sugar-free dessert. She’s no longer interested in consuming any added sugars. So instead of giving her an unwanted birthday sugar overload, I made her these.

They’re not cake, but she didn’t care. Like me (my dad, and every other person in my family), my mom loves chocolate peanut butter anything.

Healthier Buckeye Brownies | halfbakedharvest.com

Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, the two of us would make buckeyes (chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls) during the football season. They were always everyone’s favorite.

Traditionally they’re loaded with powdered sugar and lots of butter, so I definitely wanted to skip the sugar. Brownies sounded yummiest to mom, so I did a buckeye brownie, but made all with real food – wholesome ingredients!

Healthier Buckeye Brownies | halfbakedharvest.com

Details

To my surprise, these healthier buckeye brownies actually come together rather easily. For the brownie base, you need eggs, coconut oil, milk, maple syrup (for sweetness), vanilla, almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

Mix all of the above together, then bake away. Nothing fancy and no hard-to-find ingredients either. The only thing I want to note is that this is not a sweet brownie recipe. If you need something sweeter, I would skip the dark dark chocolate and use semi-sweet.

While the brownies bake up, make the peanut layer. Just peanut butter, maple syrup, and coconut oil lightly boiled together to thicken the mix. The secret to making this layer really delicious is to use a peanut butter with just peanuts and salt. Don’t use a no-stir peanut butter that contains oils and/or sugar. You just want a natural peanut butter. This will give you the best flavor and texture.

Healthier Buckeye Brownies | halfbakedharvest.com

Once the brownies cool, pour the peanut butter layer overtop, then freeze the bars. You only need them to freeze for 30 or so minutes. This helps the peanut butter set up quickly. Just make sure the peanut butter is really set before you pull them out. 

Once the peanut butter has chilled and is stiff, pour some melted chocolate overtop to finish the layers up. My one piece of advice here is to slice the bars before the chocolate top becomes too hard. This will make the bars much easier to cut and prevents the peanutty filling from getting squished out.

If the bars do firm up before you cut them, run a sharp knife under hot water, then wipe it dry. Quickly cut half of the bars, then repeat. Keep in the fridge.

The final review? Very rich and fudgy with a perfect brownie layer on the bottom and the creamiest peanutty filling – that’s perfectly salted – on top. The chocolate top adds a nice “crack” with every bite. 

Delicious! And great for parties too. Perfect for January game nights ahead!

Healthier Buckeye Brownies | halfbakedharvest.com

Looking for easy party desserts? Here are a few ideas: 

Crinkle Top Brownies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Blondies

Homemade Vegan Peanut Butter Twix Bars

Caramel Butter Cake with Fudgy Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Lastly, if you make these Healthier Buckeye Brownies be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Healthier Buckeye Brownies

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings: 24 bars
Calories Per Serving: 175 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

PEANUT BUTTER MIX

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs for 1 minute until bubbly on top. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix in the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until the brownies are just set. Let cool.
    3. Meanwhile, make the peanut mix. In a medium pot, mix 3/4 cup peanut butter, the maple syrup, and coconut oil. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Pour over the brownies. Freeze 30 minutes, or until firm.
    4. Melt together the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter in the microwave. Let cool 5 minutes and then spread the chocolate over the peanut butter mix. Return to the fridge to set, about 10 minutes, then slice. The chocolate will not be totally set, but slicing is easier this way. Keep in the fridge.

Notes

If Having a Hard Time Slicing: run a sharp knife under hot water, then wipe dry and quickly cut half the bars, then repeat. Keep in the fridge.
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Healthier Buckeye Brownies | halfbakedharvest.com

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    SO DELICIOUS! I made these last night and they are very good. I didn’t use finely ground almond flour just the regular and they came out just fine. Used your trick to mix the peanut butter and it worked nicely. Will make again.

  2. 5 stars
    Just made these today – had for dessert after braised chipotle beef tacos – needed something sweet after spicy! Mine don’t look as pretty as yours, but they taste great. Love that they aren’t too sweet. Thanks for the great recipes. PS – I accidentally used 9 inch pan so only cooked for 10 minutes – they came out just fine.

  3. 5 stars
    Chocolate and peanut butter is one of my favorite flavor combos so these were a must-make for me. I followed the recipe as written, except I subbed honey for maple syrup. SO GOOD. The brownie layer was almost fudge-like. Definitely going to be in the dessert rotation in our house.

    1. Hey Leslie,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you and thanks so much for trying it out! xx

  4. 3 stars
    I really wanted to love this…peanut butter and chocolate layers were great, brownie layer not so much. Not sure what happened, but the bottom is almost gelatinous and I followed the instructions to a T. It’s a weird texture…but anything with peanut butter and chocolate on top will still get eaten in this house 🙂

    1. Hey Lucy,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback! So sorry to hear about the brownie part! It can definitely get soft, but gelatinous sounds strange! So sorry! xx

  5. 5 stars
    I made these today and they might be a new favorite! The brownie bottom came out a little dry and suggestions?

    1. Hey Michelle,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback! Sorry to hear the brownies were a little dry, I would slightly reduce your bake time next go!! I hope this helps! xT

  6. 4 stars
    Made just the brownie base and topped with melted chocolate because I wasn’t feeling peanut butter today, but my goodness these are so good! I’m usually a box brownie person but these were so easy and very tasty!

    1. Hey Darby,
      Happy Monday!!⛄️ Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! xT

  7. Very good! I only had a 9×11 pan so my brownie was a little thin but they taste amazing. Very rich! My daughter says “must serve with milk” 🙂

    1. Hey Sarah,
      Happy Monday!!⛄️ Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! xT

  8. Hi!
    Just made these! Gorgeous! I followed the recipe exactly and they are great. Definitely a “healthier” taste to them as there is no added sugar but a great choice for all of us trying to adhere to our New Year’s resolutions! Don’t forget to add the sea salt on top to bring out that chocolate flavor (which is a teensy bit overpowered by the peanut butter).

    1. Hey Sherry,
      Happy Monday!!⛄️ Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! xT

  9. 4 stars
    I save 5 stars for truly 10:10. I won’t be remaking this. The brownie was certainly ‘healthier’ in that it tasted that way, obviously 🙂
    This just wasn’t for me. I used superfine almond flour and Dutch processed cocoa.

    1. 5 stars
      Chocolatey, nutty and not too sweet! These turned out perfectly. I can’t wait to share these with coworkers including one who is gluten free and never gets to try my baking!

      1. Hey Jennifer,
        Happy Wednesday! ❄️ I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! xT

  10. Is this supposed to be 1 1/4 cup almond flour? I saw in your video the batter changed from liquidy to thick when it cut from mixing to when you were pouring in the pan.

    1. I’m wondering the same thing. I just made them and my batter was much more liquidy and baked very thin. I’m excited to eat them though… chocolate is setting now.

    2. 5 stars
      Reporting back…these were delicious with using 1 1/4 cup of the almond flour. Love that you only had to add maple syrup and no other sugars.

    3. Hi Clayton,
      Nope, it’s 1/3 cup and then the cocoa powder also helps to thicken up the batter:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx

  11. Hi Tieghan, you are such an amazing cook, baker, artist, I love all your recipes so far and as I write this im enjoying leftover short rib ramen. It is so nourishing on a cold day. Im planning on making the buckeye brownies(go OHIO) what is superfine almond flour? Can I use regular? Thanks for making so much content for free I just love everything about how you do it. Also what is strangely satisfying are you videos when you cook and place bowls on your counter! I love the sounds and that you film yourself, amazing. Thank you!

    1. Hey Alison,
      You should be able to find superfine almond flour at your local grocery store, it’s just ground more than a regular almond flour. Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx