“Lawbreaker” Brownies (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, No Refined Sugar)

When I was in college, I didn’t turn 21 until my senior year. In order to get into the bars, I used to bake brownies for the bouncers on behalf of my roommates and me. The bouncers LOVED my brownies so much that they may have been willing to look the other way when we walked into the bar.

The recipe for those brownies came from a magazine (yes, an actual paper magazine). I’ve long since lost the magazine page, but I never forgot the unique combination of using half olive oil and half butter for the fat. Featuring Vesta chocolate, these gluten-free and dairy-free brownies bring back memories from my (alleged) lawbreaking college days…but with a healthier twist.

Note: If you tolerate gluten just fine, feel free to substitute the flour for spelt flour. Spelt is a favorite in our house for its protein and fiber content relative to most gluten-free flour blends. As a less hybridized grain, some people tolerate spelt better than regular wheat, though not people with Celiac and true wheat allergies.

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  • 2 Vesta chocolate bars (I recommend the 60% or 66% to please most palates)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) vegan butter
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut sugar or monk fruit blend (I’ve been digging this one)
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oat or gluten-free flour (must indicate a 1:1 substitute for regular flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup Vesta chocolate drops (can sub chocolate chips)


  • Preheat oven to 350 F if using a metal pan, 325 F if using glass. Grease an 8×8 pan.
  • Melt the chocolate bars, olive oil and butter in a bain-marie. I create a bain-marie by placing them in a metal bowl sitting on a pot of simmering water. Stir until smooth but do not overcook.
  • Mix the eggs, sugar, cacao powder and vanilla until smooth and all lumps of sugar are gone.
  • Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, and stir until completely combined.
  • In a separate bowl, which together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Fold the flour mixture into the wet mixture.
  • Stir in chocolate drops.
  • Pour batter into the pan.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking at 30 to see if a knife or toothpick inserted at center comes out clean. Be mindful that if you insert through a chocolate drop it may deceive you so if you’re unsure, check more than once.

1 thought on ““Lawbreaker” Brownies (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, No Refined Sugar)”

  1. Yummy 😋. I will definitely be trying these! No need for bars at this point but if these brownies help me win any parenting battles with my kiddos I’ll let you know 😆

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