Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie on virginiawillis.com

Small Bake Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies & Comfort Zones

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Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie on virginiawillis.com

These rich and indulgent Small Bake Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, made with vegan butter, and baked with reduced sugar.

  • Do you ask, “What is this strange dark chocolate magic?”
  • Or, do you now want to smash the delete button?

Stop! Don’t do it! This “small bake” brownie is rich and bursting with two layers of chocolate flavor.

You will love these Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies — even if you have no dietary concerns. They are rich and indulgent and it’s super helpful to have a recipe with wide accessibility and appeal for friends and family instead of catering to different diets.

I’ve lost 65# and kept it off for over three years in a prolonged process of changing my life for the better. It’s my goal to share what I find in this weekly  Good and Good for You Living newsletter.

  • This issue has some best life-living tips about stepping outside your comfort zone — and gulp, failure.
  • We’re also taking a closer look at self-care with real-life strategies on how to “be in the moment.”

Read on for the recipe for these incredible Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies and information that can help you have a better life!

Best Life Living Tip

Some may think, “What the heck has Virginia Willis know about “best life?” “Doesn’t
she make biscuits?” Yes, I make biscuits and have been doing so since I was three years old.

Biscuit-making is solidly in my comfort zone. Last month I spoke at the Laurette LePrevost Writers Symposium at the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. (CCC & TI l has an incredible culinary program and you can check my biscuit lesson video on their YouTube channel.)

You know what is decidedly not in my comfort zone? Talking to an audience about my anxiety, depression, and feeling insecure, inadequate, and “not enough.” Yikes!

Not “Feeling Like Enough”

I have spent a lot of my career pretending everything was okay with me when it wasn’t. Inside my head was a voice saying, “If I were Paula Deen I would sell out this class…  if I could get the funding for my PBS series, if I weren’t fat, if I had a restaurant….”

It was not about what I had, it was about my perception of what I had or didn’t have. I know what I look like on paper. I couldn’t always see it. I could only see my shortcomings and failures — and I know I am not alone.

In my speech at CCC & TI, I shared how writing can transform our lives. Writing is at the core of my Good and Good for You approach to Staying Motivated. It’s uncomfortable, but this work is how we grow and change.

I am not the only middle-aged woman who has felt this way about self-worth. Think about how stepping “out of your comfort zone” might help you redefine and then result in more comfort.

Stepping out of your comfort zone means learning new things, meeting new people, seeing new places, and trying new experiences.

It will be painful. It can mean failure, but if all you ever do is stay comfortable and secure, you are missing out on new experiences that can help you live a better life.

You can do it!

Self-Care Technique

You’re curled up on the couch, watching Netflix while mindlessly eating chips, doom-scrolling on your phone, and half-heartedly listening to your spouse talk about what happened at work. All the while, you’re thinking about your to-do list and deadlines. (Oh, and the kitchen floor needs mopping.) This is not being in the moment. This is being split and fractured into many moments.

And a lot of us do it every day.

Virginia Willis at Rancho la Puerta

How to be in the Moment

These three techniques can help you center or re-center. These are “Brain hacks” that initiate physical response and will help you calm down. They work.

  1. Focus on your breath. Focusing on your breath has positive effects on your body and mind. Feel the cold air flowing into your nostrils and the warm air coming out. Let that be your only thought. (I have to say in my head, “in, out, in, out, in, out.”) A recent study in the Journal of Neurophysiology may support this, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention, and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath.
  2. Play I Spy. Look around you. Take an inventory. “I see a cardinal, I see a yellow flower, I see asphalt, I see a red light…. ” Say it out loud if you need to. This technique can help ground you in the present moment.
  3. Write it down.  Writing down positive thoughts helps counteract negative thoughts.  Check out UCLA Health for more info on this life-changing self-care technique. My gratitude journal is key in keeping me even keel. Start with 3 a day. It will change your brain, I promise.

Rose Levy Beranbaum on virginiawillis.com

Ideas and Inspiration from Experts

I’m grateful for people who inspire me. I’ve been trying to mix it up with the experts that inspire me including world-famous scientists like Dr. Jane Goodall, brain-health experts such as Dr. Annie Fenn, and dietician-slash- social-media-cultural-observer like  Jackie London.

This expert came about because of an awesome spatula I use every single day.

This newsletter celebrates a culinary legend, Rose Levy Beranbaum. Rose is the author of many award-winning cookbooks including The Cake Bible — now in its 60th printing and with a much-anticipated update coming out this fall. (You can pre-order here.)

The new edition is completely revised and updated, has 30% new recipes, weighs in at a massive 704 pages, and is fully redesigned with a 2-color interior and 40 insert pages showcasing 80 cake color photos.

Please make sure to pre-order The Cake Bible 35th anniversary edition and follow @RealBakingwithRose on Instagram.

Point it Out

These Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies come in 5 smart points per serving. Guittard shared a bag of Sante bittersweet baking chips (keto, paleo, and vegan-friendly) with me and it’s fantastic!

Please let me know what you think — both about the brownies and if you like the new newsletter. I’d greatly appreciate the feedback. Thanks so much for reading.

Bon Appétit Y’all!

Virginia Willis

Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie on virginiawillis.com
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Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

These Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, made with vegan butter and reduced sugar -- but they are rich, indulgent, and delicious! Since they are both egg and gluten-free they are a bit more fragile, so it is important to let them cool completely before cutting them. Use an offset spatula for best results.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan
Keyword: almond flour brownies, brownies,, chocolate banana bread, dark chocolate brownies, fudge brownies, gluten free brownies
Servings: 16
Calories: 133kcal


  • Nonstick spray
  • 3 bananas very ripe
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup super fine almond flour
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder `
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips preferably Guittard Sante
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Combine the bananas, tahini, butter, milk, brown sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Using a handheld mixer or spoon, combine until smooth. Add the almond flour, oats, baking powder, cocoa power, and chips.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and smooth out. Bake in the heated oven until the edges pull from the sides of the pan and a knife comes out clean, 38 to 40 minutes.
  • Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Cut into 16 squares. Store, covered in the refrigerator.


Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 90mg | Potassium: 179mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 132IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg

Let’s cook something up! If you are interested in hosting me for a speaking engagement, event, cooking class, or a book signing, let me know! Send an email to assistant@virginiawillis.com and we’ll be back in touch as soon as possible.

I am not a doctor, RD, or health professional. I am simply sharing what works for me. My blog is for informational or educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals.

Note that this post may contain affiliate links and I may make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.

Please be nice. Unauthorized use and/or duplication is prohibited. All photos and content are copyright protected. If you wish to republish this recipe, please link back to this recipe on virginiawillis.com. Thanks so much!

Good and Good for You with Virginia Willis is a lifestyle brand that shares health and wellness tips with recipes through digital channels and online community; events, seminars, and speeches; and print media. For more information visit virginiawillis.com 


Virginia Willis Cookbooks on virginiawillis.com


Please note that this post may contain affiliate links.

Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained chef Virginia Willis has foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and executed the food styling for a Super Bowl commercial seen by over 160 million people. Virginia is a Beard award-winning cookbook author, chef, content creator, and motivational speaker. She has lost 65# and kept it off for more than 3 years. Because of her own health journey, she is a cheerleader for others seeking to make lifestyle changes to feel healthier and happier. Her experience inspired her to launch “Good and Good for You” a lifestyle brand rooted in culinary that shares health and wellness content through digital channels; public speaking; and print media. Fans love her approachable spirit and friendly down-to-earth style. For more information visit virginiawillis.com

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