Marry Me Brownies*

*Just in case there’s any doubt, I meant that in the sense of, “These brownies will make him/her/you declare, “Marry Me!” and not in the sense of, “You will want to marry these brownies”–though weirder things have happened.

[What’s that I see beside these squares of bliss? Could it be–?!!]

Now, I know it may seem a little odd for me to name this recipe “Marry Me Brownies” when I myself am not married (was that a collective gasp from the balcony? Sorry if you hadn’t realized that The HH and I are not technically living in wedded bliss–we just feel as if we are. Though I suppose that after almost 15 years, he may as well be my legal spouse.  And besides, “Cohabitate with Me Brownies” just doesn’t have the same ring to it).

As you may recall, The HH and I met when we were both, shall I say, “mature” (I was almost 40 and he was 41), both having exited a first marriage on not-so-friendly terms.  Neither one of us felt the need to revisit that same state of incarceration  ball and chain  acrimony  matrimony any time soon. 

Besides, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know that when it comes to love and courtship, my sweetheart is an incurable pragmatist.  Left to his own devices, he would never experience a desire to buy flowers, call for a date (I was the one who asked him out), celebrate an anniversary or even buy his beloved a birthday gift each year (in fact, when my 40th birthday fell less than a month after we moved in together, he neglected to buy me a present. Suffice it to say that, had he not already unpacked all his boxes from the move, we might not have stayed together). 

Luckily, though, my honey is a quick learner: these days, he never forgets to ask, “Is this an occasion that requires a card?” before major events like anniversaries or statutory holidays, in addition to buying actual gifts.

So, back to the brownies.  I figured that if a roasted chicken could prompt a proposal, then these brownies would, no doubt, achieve at least the same result–if not incite a full-fledged elopement or extemporaneous wedding ceremony. Yes, they are that good.

[Extreme Fudge Factor]

In fact, I’d say these brownies have been three years in the making.  Actually, after 14–fourteen!!–batches made before I got them just right, it sort of feels like I’ve been baking them for three years.  But that’s not what I meant; I meant that it’s taken me three years to create ACD-compliant brownie that is totally, entirely, completely, absolutely indistinguishable from a “real” brownie.  Yes–these are real brownies! 

Just like the excessively butter and egg-filled ones, you’ll find these little bars of bliss to be incredibly dense and fudgy, and–be warned–totally irresistible.  With a slightly nutella-esque, intensely chocolate flavor and the perfect combination of dry, crackly top and moist, almost candy-like interior, you may just christen these the perfect chocolate confection.

Now, The HH enjoys his desserts in moderation, and he even likes brownies.  However, he’s not a sweets addict like me, nor does he share my overweaning adoration of All Things Chocolate.  But with these brownies, his reaction was entirely different from the way he’s reacted to any dessert before.  He appeared smitten, even from his very first bite.  In short order, he ooh’d and aaah’d and mmmm’d his way through the dark, decadent, delectable square. 

And then, my non-romantic sweetheart surprised me with something I would never have anticipated he would do.  He turned to me, his cheeks a little flushed and his eyes sparkling. His expression was very serious as he leaned over and touched me tenderly on the cheek. 

He moved his face very close to mine, smiling softly, and uttered the question he has never asked before, not in the almost-15 years we’ve been together:

“So, can I have another one?”

That’s right–my honey asked for seconds!  On dessert!!

Well, what else could a gal say–except, “Yes”?  

“So, Mum, what’s the big deal on that question?  We ask for seconds of everything, all the time!”

I’m submitting this recipe to Allergy Friendly Friday and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to via email. You’ll get recipes as soon as they’re posted, plus cookbook updates and news about upcoming events! (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”

Last Year at this Time: Chocolate “Buttercream” Frosting–gluten, soy, nut, sugar, dairy, egg freeACD Stage 3 and beyond)

Two Years Ago: Love Bites for Valentine’s Day (gluten free;  ACD all stages)

Three Years Ago: Flash in the Pan: Grown-Up Fig and Walnut Baked Apples (gluten free;  ACD maintenance only)

Four Years Ago: My Mother’s Potato-Corn Chowder (gluten-free: ACD Stage 2 or beyond)

© Ricki Heller

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. Drooling over here, Ricki! I love using prunes in baking and look forward to trying these as soon as I get my bearings in this vacation condo kitchen. 🙂

  2. We share the same breed of husband 🙂 And the same love for brownies, oh my! xoLexie

    • Ha ha! Well, I guess I’d rather have loving, gentle, kind and generous instead of romantic (if I *have* to choose one over the other!). 😀

  3. Oh, you had me on the edge of my seat for this one! Having had the pleasure of going on a double-date with you two let me just say that you are perfect together – a positively beautiful couple – and whatever you got going on as at two-some is working! Happy “My I have seconds on dessert” Day 🙂

    • Ha, ha!! And thank you so much, JL. I guess my feeling is, “if it ain’t broke. . . “! 😉 Hope you and Dave have a wonderful, romantic V-Day! 😀 xo

  4. haha, such a cute post 🙂 better yet, these brownies sound fantastic!! Will have to make these soon…

    • Thanks, Shannon! I think this post contains the full extent of romance I’ll be seeing this V-Day. Then again, with these brownies, it’s true love. 😉

  5. These look do deliciously fudgey!!

  6. Beautiful brownies Ricki!

    Always love your stories.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


  7. Yep, these brownies will make anyone fall in love! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  8. I wonder how many proposals you will get now that you posted this!;-)

    LOVE that is has plums/prunes, you got that idea into my head and just went to the store and got some of those instead of dates, lower glycemic I assume since you posted it. love that it’s grain free too. if I propose can I get one?

    • Bitt, you are so funny! And yes, plums/prunes are much lower glycemic than dates (which have the highest natural sugar content of any fruit). And I’d be happy to give you one even if we just remain friends. 😉

      • Do you think medjool dates would work in this recipe though? I don’t have dried plums at home.

        • Heather, I bet they would, especially if they’re *really* soft. Most medjools are a little smaller than prunes, though, so I’d use 5 or 6 of those instead. Please do let me know how it turns out if you try it that way!! 🙂

          • I made the brownies last night. I ended up buying some prunes last weekend so I used them instead of dates. I halved the recipe because I only had 1 cup of hazelnuts in the pantry and used hazelnut oil instead of macadamia. The instructions seem a little fussy but I just made the hazelnut butter in my food processor, then took it out, processed the rest of the ingredients and added it to the nut butter. No high speed blender needed (though I imagine the texture would be smoother when using one)! I lined a loaf pan with parchment and baked it for 50-60 mins, checking every so often. I got 8 decent sized brownies (~3 bites for each). They were flatter than the pictures but that was what I expected. They were DECADENT! I only sampled some ragged edges that I trimmed but they were good edges.

            I convinced my husband to have one. We have an ongoing struggle about how if a dessert isn’t made with white flour, butter and eggs, it ain’t dessert. I am of the opinion that you can make healthful recipes that taste very similiar to the original without “bad” ingredients. His verdict: he liked them (but he wouldn’t fully admit it).

            I’d love to make these again using cashew butter.

          • Heather, thanks so much for the feedback! I imagine that you wouldn’t have to bake them the full amount of time if you only used half a recipe–were they still fudgy in the middle? Glad hubby liked them (even if he wouldn’t admit it). 🙂 And would you mind letting me know which part of the directions seems fussy to you? When I think of this recipe, I think of it as fairly simple and straightforward.

          • Sure thing! Maybe “fussy” isn’t the exact word but since your directions because the recipe was very straightforward. However, since you made a point to say that the order of the ingredients was crucial (“imperative” even!), I thought the recipe might not work in a food processor. If I had used a blender, the ingredients would be “stacked” as opposed to just dumped in but I didn’t find it made any difference to the end product. Also, my hazelnut butter wasn’t “very smooth”. It was just kinda smooth but I didn’t want to wait any longer!

            The brownies I made were more solid than fudgy but that’s what I was going for. I wanted a studier brownie as opposed to a lava cake-type brownie because I planned on refridgerating the batch and not eating any last night.

            Hope that clarifies!

  9. Wow, those look so ridiculously fudgey that you could probably get away with calling those brownie batter squares! Definitely not a bad thing at all, by the way.

    And thank you for the blogoversary wishes- I’m so happy you’re still reading! I guess we’re both doing the silent lurking thing more often, is all. 🙂

    • Hannah, good idea!! And yes, of course I’m still reading! Yes, doing much more lurking these days as life gets busier and busier. I figure I’d rather read more blogs without commenting than read less and still comment. . . though I do try to comment on occasion if I can!

  10. so, that ring is just a prop, then? 😉 just like JL, I was reading on the proverbial edge of seat!!

    I love this – J and I are the same, actually – been together a long time and … it’s GOOD this way!

    I may have to make these brownies anyway, though… they look insanely gooey and perfect!

    • Kristina, it is actually my ring. . . but one I’ve had since I was a teen. It just looks like an engagement ring! (I am so evil) 😉 . Nice to know that the HH and I are not the only “opposites attract” couple to operate this way! 🙂

  11. Ricki does it again! I can just imagine you watching HH react to his first brownie. You must’ve been grinning from ear to ear 🙂 Woo hoo! Hope you two have a great Valentine’s Day. I think I’ll be making us some Sweet Potato Truffles this weekend. xo

  12. Nice recipe. I love a simple brownie recipe which is easy for the kids 🙂
    Thanks for sharing,

  13. When I subscribed to your blog, I did it on the fly b/c I liked the post I read (I think I found you through Pinterest) but didn’t know you followed an anti-candida diet! That is super exciting to find someone who has battled candida, as I have had really bad trouble with it. I finally found a product that helps me so much called Threelac and I take it every day twice a day and no longer have yeast infections or skin yeast infections. I’m off sugar completely and mostly eat lean meat and vegetables right now and feel amazing. Glad I signed up on a blog where I can find foods that won’t cause me any candida trouble. And btw, these brownies look SO good! Though it will be a while before I eat dried fruit again.

    • Veronica, thanks so much! I think you landed on the first (and only!) recipe with dried fruit on this blog since I started the anti-candida diet! I’ve been experimenting with a few previously omitted ingredients. If you check earlier (especially this one), I’m sure you’ll find plenty that you can have right now. 🙂

  14. oh the HH sounds so sweet no wonder he doesn’t need much dessert – whereas E will nibble on my baked goods and then go and nibble on something he bought at the shops as though my stuff is not enough 🙁 I have puzzled over the note that says there is already coconut sugar in the recipe – I can’t see any – is there meant to be any? Anyway, I love anything with nuts so I must try these!

    • Yes, I would say that “sweet” is an accurate description of the HH (along with many other words, not all equally heartwarming!). 😉 And thanks for the correction–I had just baked something else with those ingredients before I posted this blog post–think I was getting my sweets confused! 😉

  15. I’m totally more interested in Cohabitate With Me Brownies that marry Me Brownies! The idea of getting married at 24 and being settled and stuck here for the rest of my life gives me the heebie jeebies (I don’t think I’m a typical female… which sometimes makes me rather upset at myself.) Singleness and brownies is far more my desire right now! 🙂

    • Hannah, you are not alone! I am a mid-20 something and cohabitate with my partner with no desire to get hitched! So, Riki, thank you for these brownies, which I will, at least in my head, refer to as the “cohabitate with me brownies”…they look delicious! : )

    • Hannah, I know looking back that I wasn’t ready for marriage when I did get married, even at the ripe old age of 29. Throughout my twenties, I kept asking myself what was wrong with me because all my friends were getting married and I wasn’t–but now I realize it’s because I simply was too immature (or inexperienced, or neurotic, or whatever) to make a go of it. My relationship with the HH feels like it’s right, and it is (mostly) effortless–the way I think it should be! (So don’t be upset at yourself–you are perfect for YOU.) 😀 xo

      • Thank you Ricki, I really, really appreciate this. It is hard when my friends are getting married (and even having kids) and society tells us that we should all be searching for a partner, whereas I’ve done a lot of soul searching these past few months and have realised that I actually do want to be single and, in truth, I’ve always loved the stories of people finding each other in their 40s! 🙂

        • Thanks so much, Hannah! I think that I *thought* I wanted to get married in my 20s (just made it, at 29), but then it was years later that I realized I wasn’t ready in my 20s. Looking back, I realize that I didn’t miss out on a thing, even though I assumed I was back then. I’ve come to realize that life gives you what you need at the time. . . I was so not ready to be in a long-term relationship until I met the HH!

  16. Okay, I have a confession … when I pinned these and also shared on Twitter at the same time yesterday, I had no idea this was a new recipe from you. None. Somehow I was thinking I remembered these brownies and the photo with the ring from earlier on your site. Either I’m clairvoyant or I’ve been in your head, Ricki. LOL I love these brownies whether there’s marriage or cohabitation involved! Anything that has an Extreme Fudge Factor has my vote. 😉 (Wouldn’t that be a much better tv show than Fear Factor? I know that I’d watch every episode!)


    • Shirley, that’s so funny! I don’t recall ever using the ring as a prop before, but who knows?–the way my memory is these days, it’s certainly possible, and I just forgot! LOL! And I agree, EFF is a much better potential show that Fear Factor (which I just could never bring myself to watch). 😉

  17. Your tale of love is so funny, Ricki. I am not one for cards and only give presents to a select few… I know, though, that when I cook for someone, that all my love shows!! When reciprocated, I also know a bunch of love went into it because no one (in my circle of friends/family) eats like me. 😉

    I am certainly in no rush to get married!! Actually, I just don’t want to plan a wedding. 😛

    • Janet, I think cooking for someone definitely counts as a show of love 😀 The HH has cooked a full meal for me–ONCE. And considering that it took him an entire day, yes, I’d say it was his way of showing his love! I hear you on the wedding planning, too. . . my first (only) wedding was fairly small, and I was much younger, so the planning wasn’t onerous. But if the HH and I ever do decide to make it official, I think we’ll just have an impromptu party one weekend and surprise all our guests with the fact that it’s a wedding!

  18. Ricki – I love your writing. You had me grinning from the get-go. I totally understand your breed of husband. 🙂 I also adore these brownies. I really think baking with lots of nuts seems to be the key to grainless/vegan baking bliss. Glad you finally got them the way you want them!

    • Alta, I’d have to agree about the baking–if you don’t use eggs and you don’t use dairy and you don’t use refined sugar and you don’t use grains, well, there’s actually not much else left except nuts! 😉 And thank you for the kind comment. . . anything that gets people grinning makes me feel good! 😀

  19. I had no idea you two weren’t married! I mean, I think I knew, but then I didn’t 🙂

    He sounds like my beloved Canadian man too. I’ve given up and we no longer exchange gifts on actual event days. I’ve learned to be happy with random gifts he might buy on any old day (when the deals are out), and not be expecting on birthdays and holidays. Though I have to confess that I’ve gotten so comfortable in this way of life that HE is the one who always remembers the date of our anniversary and not me!

    Okay, seriously Rick – I can’t even find a good fudgy vegan brownie (they’re all cakey or just plain wet) let alone a gluten-free and grain-free one! I stand by my long-standing opinion, you are a goddess. Pinned!

    • Alisa, it’s because we act so much like “an old married couple” (and feel that way–esp the “old”!!) that you just assumed, right? 😉 And maybe it’s just a Canadian thing. . . naw! Well, if the HH did buy me little gifts throughout the year, I certainly wouldn’t feel the need to remind him on special occasions. The funny thing is that, when he puts his mind to it, he can really choose phenomenal presents. Ah, well, too late to trade him in now. 😉

  20. Ricki… *clears her throat* Marry me.


    These look absolutely faaantastic. Kudos—and thank you!—for sticking through those first thirteen tries to get them exactly as you liked them. I cannot wait to make these. Maybe I’ll treat my cousin’s girlfriend to them (she lives in Toronto while my cousin still lives in Montreal, and she’s my date for Valentine’s Day). 🙂

    Much love to you, and thank you for sharing that adorable story with us!

    • Christina, I just laughed out loud! You are so funny. Boy, I wish I were closer to Toronto, as I’d be happy to donate what’s left of all those other batches to you and your cousin–I think I’m brownie’d out at this point (if that were actually possible. . . ). Hope you have a great V-Day, and love right back at ya! 😀

  21. I’m intrigued, especially since the last batch of gf brownies I made were … grainy. I don’t mind the taste of chocolate sand, but I prefer to serve something a little more pleasant to others. 🙂

    • The key with these is to be sure the nut butter is totally liquefied with the oil, and then not over mix (the mixture tends to sieze up a bit in that case–then they become a little more crumbly than gooey, but still taste amazing). Were your brownies grain-free, too? Or gluten-free? I find rice flour creates a grainy texture.

      • just gf, not grain-free. It seems so many gf recipes contain rice flour. I wonder why so many rely on rice flour if it makes things grainy. Kittee Berns recommends superfine brown rice flour by Authentic Foods. She said it made her baked goods have the taste and texture of regular, gluten-y stuff. I just saw a bread recipe on Bryanna’s blog that used Bob’s Red Mill rice flour. I’m thinking of trying it to see how it turns out.

        BTW, is the HH going to marry you or just eat more brownies? 😀

        • I think that GF recipes mostly developed with rice flour, because that was the only GF flour available for so many years! Nowadays, though, there are sooooo many viable alternatives. Have you tried millet flour? I love it. I have heard about superfine brown rice flour, but never tried it. . . but if Kittee says it’s good, I’ll take her recommendation. 🙂 Let me know how it turns out if you give it a try. And to answer your question, only time will tell. . . 😉

  22. Ricki, this was a great post! I chuckled my way through your story, wondering- like others- where it was going to lead. Glad to hear he loved the brownies. They really look delicious.

  23. Have you tried this with almomd butter instead? I don’t care for hazelnuts. Also was wondering about dates instead of prunes? Thank you

    • Hi Sunnie,
      No, I haven’t tried them with almond butter. There’s a brownie in my ebook, Desserts without Compromise, that uses almond butter. Because hazelnut butter is higher in fat, I’m guessing that using almond butter would result in a dryer brownie. I think you could use medjool dates–see my reply to Heather about them in my comment below.

  24. I do understand–I buy myself roses from time to time when the mood strikes because if I waited…I’d be waiting! These look absolutely delicious. I’ve avoided prunes for a long time but not for a compelling reason, now may be time to revisit!

    • Yep, I certainly have bought myself flowers on occasion–why wait? 😉 And I’d say if you can eat prunes, do try this! I wanted to re-introduce them because they’ve been shown to halt osteoporosis, too. 🙂

  25. ooooh i love the texture and the look of these brownies.. with hubbs, we just talked a lot in the first year about what is expected.. well i talked and he made lists:) so there isnt any disappointment and fights:) however, i still got gifts like a wireless router for a v-day and a laptop(I totally dislike the model) for a bday.. then i just made a list of things that work for what occassions:D

    • Yes, lists are great! I usually hand one over at the beginning of the year and he can choose something appropriate from it for any occasion. Very practical, no? 😉

  26. ”Is this an occasion that requires a card?” LOL! These look great Ricki! If you made them for me I might ask you to marry me! 🙂

  27. These do look amazing, Ricki, but what I love most is your celebration of romantic love that isn’t entirely conventional. I have asked many a feller out, too, and have no intention of stopping that habit. Additionally, both of my parents fell in love after a first or multiple marriages, and are both now very blissfully wedded to their partners without technically being married. I’m so happy that I went through life without being force-fed a single, normative vision of how love works.

    • Thanks, Gena! And glad I’m not the only date-caller. 🙂 How nice to hear that both your parents are now happily partnered! And you know that I love unconventional, right? 😉

  28. Those brownies look DELISH!!

  29. I made these with almond butter and olive oil. The batter was delicious. My kids were fighting over the batter bowl! I think I cooked them too long because they did come out a little dry but still really good!! I baked them for 50 minutes. Next time I will only bake them for 40 or 42. I loved the almond butter taste in them though! Thanks for sharing this. I am not eating any sugar so I am thankful to have a delicious dessert but it’s not a dessert because it is loaded with good stuff!

    • Sunnie, so glad you enjoyed them! The dryness may be because of the almond butter (which has less fat than hazelnut butter). I think the best test is always your knife/toothpick/cake tester inserted into the batter–if it’s still a wee bit moist, take them out of the oven. If it’s totally dry, they’ve been baked too long. In my oven, I needed almost an hour! 🙂

  30. must try these soon, they look great. Love the blog 🙂

  31. I made these last night with almond butter because I am allergic to hazelnuts. They turned out a little dry – probably because of the fat difference mentioned in the comments above – but they were oh-so-delicious! Next time, I will try macadamia nut butter (if I can find it – my blender isn’t powerful enough to make it).

    It was a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day. I’m on an elimination diet (and probably shouldn’t have had the chocolate because of the caffeine) and am still getting used to my new dietary restrictions. I was pretty bummed at the office not being able to eat any of the treats, but these brownies totally cured that. I am adding them to my arsenal of go-to recipes. Thank you!

    • SO glad to hear that! I suspect you could make them with carob, too, if you want to avoid the caffeine (but I’d add about 2 Tbsp/30 ml coconut oil in that case, since carob is naturally so low in fat). I think the moistness/dryness factor also depends on one’s oven and how accurate it is–mine may be due for a check! 😉

  32. P.S. I baked mine in a loaf pan for 35 minutes, and probably should have pulled them out about 5 minutes earlier, but I wasn’t expecting it to be that quick!

  33. Hi Ricki–Reporting back! I made these with one date and 2 dried cherries. Perfection!

  34. jennifer micale says

    i substituted raw honey for agave. agave is terrible for you – especially if you have candida!

    • Thanks, Jennifer! I know some people are anti-agave while others are okay with it in moderation. My colleagues are split–it works for some on the ACD, not for others. I don’t react when I have it rarely and in small amounts. I don’t eat honey, though. 🙂

  35. So glad to find your site. Eating your seedy porridge right now!! You are a delightful writer as well as recipe maker! 🙂

  36. You had me hazelnut butter! Yes, brownies. Yes, I will marry you.


  1. […] Ricki’s (Diet, Dessert and Dogs) Marry Me Brownies, Caramel Ice Cream, Chocolate Whoopie Pies , and Lemon Blueberry Muffins (I know … I’m so mean to give you all of those heavenly recipes to choose from!) […]

  2. […] challenge anyone to try these “Marry Me” Brownies or this Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake and see if they don’t taste just as decadent as any […]

  3. […] Granita 6. White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake 7. Homemade Promegranate Fortune Cookies 8. Marry Me Brownies 9. Ghiraradelli Chocolate and Strawberries Cupcakes 10. 3 Ingredient Chocolate Cherry Pie Cups 11. […]

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.