Annabel Boys
Health coach with a PhD in health behaviour


Easy and tasty gluten-free and sugar-free, low GI, nutrient dense, healthy recipes; tips for managing cravings; energy boosting hacks and more. This blog is where health coach Dr Annabel Boys shares her best tips and favourite strategies for making better choices effortless.

Nothing-bad-about-them (really!) chocolate brownies

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The best cravings-busting strategy I know is finding a tasty alternative that still 'hits the spot' but is actually packed with good stuff and not just pointless empty calories laden with satan's own superfood (aka processed sugar).  

If you want to win at the health game, making good choices about food is key. So, ditch the diets and denial.

As a shameless chocoholic I have spent many happy hours in the kitchen developing healthy chocolate-based 'treats'. This recipe is my most popular creation, and will satisfy even the biggest craving and has even passed muster with the most discerning critics - small children.

The good stuff

These aren't like those healthy bars that excite your taste buds with exotic names full of sugary promise, but fail to deliver something truly treat-worthy. It's not that I don't support the manufacturers who have developed these snack bars - it's great to have the option of a handy, nutritious something - but I just don't think they should make you think of your favourite sugary hit when you reach for them. That misleading marketing strategy only leads to disappointment and can kill the pleasure of the 'treat' opportunity. These brownies taste good. Really good. Ask my 5 year-old niece.

And the magic? They are stuffed with good nutrients. The nuts are full of protein, healthy fat and calcium; the dates are a great source of iron, potassium and antioxidants as well as lots of lovely fibre. Coconut oil is a bit of a nutritional star (see article here for detail) and as for cacao – its numerous health benefits are only just beginning to be understood. I’ve included cranberries in this recipe, but I suggest you play around with the ingredients to find the combination that you like best. As long as you keep the general balance between dried fruit, nuts, cocoa and coconut oil then they will work.


  • 375g dried dates
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 80g cocoa
  • 100g crushed walnuts
  • 100g cranberries

For the topping

  • 40ml melted coconut oil
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 100ml maple syrup

Step by Step

  1. Blitz the dates in the blender into a paste
  2. Add the tahini and coconut oil and blend again
  3. Mix paste into the dry ingredients and then add the walnuts and cranberries.
  4. press mixture into a lined tin and put into the fridge until firm.
  5. Prepare the topping for the brownies by whisking all the ingredients together and then pouring this over the mixture in the tin (you may need to warm the coconut oil to melt it first depending on the room temp where you are).
  6. Put back into the fridge until almost set and then decorate with walnuts/cranberries/seeds or whatever else takes your fancy.
  7. Refrigerate until completely set, then cut into squares and enjoy!
Annabel Boys