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The Secret To These Proudly Sugar Free Brownies? Homemade Date Sugar

Study after study confirms that refined white sugar is indeed a big culprit in our battle against the bulge. But being raised on a diet of sugary snacks and drinks, we can’t help craving for sweet treats every now and then, with sugar-free products gaining in appeal. However, studies have cautioned against the overuse of artificial sweeteners which are found in most commercial sugar-free products.

So what do we do? Well, moderation is always key, but if you’re looking for a truly all-natural sugar substitute, then why not make your own, using dates which can add a sweet and flavorful dimension to your desserts. Admittedly, the process is time consuming as the dates have to be baked until hard and dry, then ground into a fine powder. You can use it to bake this sugar-free version of traditional chocolate brownies. But if you don’t have the time to make date sugar, then coconut sugar will do the trick. You can also use sugar-free dark chocolate instead for a truly 100% sugar-free dessert.


Sugar Free Chocolate Brownies

Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar or date sugar (recipe below)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour              
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup walnuts or any nuts 


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with baking paper. Brush soft butter on the sides and the base of the pan. Set aside.


2. Melt butter and dark chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from heat and set aside.  


3. Combine coconut or date sugar (recipe below), cocoa powder, and flour in a bowl. Gently add to the melted butter-chocolate mixture, trying not to create bubbles. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.


4. Fold in the walnuts.


5. Pour brownie mix into the prepared baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. 




  • 20 dates, pitted and chopped


1. Arrange dates on a baking tray or sheet. Bake for about 2 to 3 hours in a preheated 250ºF oven. Turn off the heat and leave the dates inside the oven overnight. The dates should become candy hard.  


2. The next day, place dates in a food processor and process into powder form. If they clump together after a while, put back in the processor and process until dates turn into powder again.  



This recipe first appeared in FOOD Magazine, August-September 2014 issue

Styling by Tina Concepcion Diaz

Photography by Paulo Valenzuela