There is something deeply satisfying about a well executed two-in-one combination. More often than not however, these two-in-one contraptions fail to accomplish one (or both) of the tasks it is mean to achieve. A classic example of this is the spork, a spoon + fork hybrid that has tines too shallow to be a good fork and too many tines to be a good spoon (meaning any greater than 0). Amazon is riddled with silly devices like this; products with good intentions, but likely will not satisfy any/either need. Like, this scarf flask for example. Personally, I can’t think of any reason anyone would need that when regular flasks exist. On rare occasions though, a combination will come along that is a true unicorn. A beautiful melding of two uniquely awesome things into one epic thing. And this Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownie is exactly that. The unicorn of desserts and it is definitely something that you need. In fact, I would say, you need these immediately.
What Do They Taste Like?
These (secretly healthier) Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies are for the brownie and chocolate chip cookie lovers who can never decide which dessert to choose (first), the brownie or the cookie. And now, you do not have to! These are super fudgy, deeply chocolatey cocoa brownies stuffed with balls of chocolate chip studded cookie dough, which basically become soft and gooey chocolate chip cookie chunks throughout the brownie once baked. Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies had a better ring to it than Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Brownies, even though that’s a slightly more accurate title. The brownies whip up in a breeze in just one bowl. A simple chocolate chip cookie dough is made separately and rolled into small balls. The cookie dough balls are then gently folded into the brownie much like you would stir in chocolate chips or berries into a batter. These bake up in just under 20 minutes and the result is a super moist and chewy brownie with big glorious chunks of delicious cookie throughout. Which, in my humble opinion, is the most perfect two-in-one dessert combination possible. And if you’re thinking to yourself, “Well these just sound too good to be true!”, let me assure you that these Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies are both incredibly delicious and also made better-for-you! And unlike the mythical unicorn, that is a FACT.
How Are They Made?
If there’s one thing that I’m all about, it’s things that looks impressive but are actually super easy to pull of. And this is a great example of that. This recipe is so easy it’s basically goofproof! Here’s a rundown of the steps:
- Make the cookie dough by mixing the wet ingredients together, then stirring in the dry ingredients until a dough forms, then mix in the chocolate chips.
- Make cookie dough balls. The cookie dough is the perfect consistency, not overly sticky, and so, super easy to make little balls. You can just scoop out a bit at a time and roll them into 1/2 inch balls. But I found it easiest to roll the dough out into a 1/2 inch thick log, cut into even chunk, and roll into balls. See the below image for step-by-step pictures.
- Chill the cookie dough balls in the fridge while the brownie batter is made.
- Combine the wet ingredients of the brownie batter in a large bowl if mixing by hand or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the dry ingredients and stir until just thoroughly combined.
- Fold the cookie dough balls into the brownie batter using a silicone spatula. I give only one or two gentle turns of the batter so as not to disturb the cookie dough. The cookie dough balls will distribute further into the brownie batter when it’s poured together into pan.
- Pour the batter with cookie dough chunks into a baking dish. I use my 8×8 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Feel free to use a 9×9 pan, the brownies will just be a little thinner. And spread it out into an even layer.
- Bake at 375 for 18 minutes! I find 18 minutes to be the perfect time for moist brownies with just crispy tops and edges. Cook for 20 minutes if you like a firm, more cooked brownie.
- Let cool, slice, and ENJOY!
These are amazing served just warm on their own. I suspect they would be wonderful topped with a scoop of your favorite vanilla for quite possibly the most epic dessert: Cookie Dough Brownie Sundae! These freeze excellently and I personally love them most straight out of the freezer.
What Ingredients Do I Need?
These Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies are made better-for-you as they contain no refined sugars, flours, or oils. These brownies are paleo-friendly meaning they contain no gluten, grain, or dairy and are naturally sweetened with coconut sugar. I use mini chocolate chips in the cookie dough which are sweetened with organic cane sugar. Feel free to use your favorite coconut or maple sugar sweetened chocolate bar chopped into chunks to make these strictly refined sugar free. Here’s a look at the main ingredients used in these bars:
Cocoa Powder – The main ingredient in the brownies and what gives them that deep chocolate flavor. Be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder, not cocoa mix or cacao powder – these are both completely different from cocoa powder and will affect the outcome of the recipe greatly. I recently used the Organic Cocoa Powder from Whole Food’s 365 brand and found it to be of excellent quality at a great price. Some other great brands of cocoa powder are Equal Exchange’s Baking Cocoa or Guittard’s Cocoa Powder (which is what I used in this recipe).
Sunflower Seed Butter & Avocado Oil – I find the mixture of a nut/seed butter with a liquid oil like avocado or coconut oil to be the most comparable dairy free and natural substitute for softened butter. When beaten with sugar, it creams up like you would expect butter to. I use sunflower seed butter to keep this nut free, but almond or cashew butter would be excellent here too. Be sure to choose a nut/seed butter that contains only one ingredient. For the avocado oil, feel free to sub for olive oil or melted and cooled coconut oil.
Cassava & Tapioca Flour – These form the base flours for these brownies and I find that it’s the closest to using a traditional white flour without having to use processed or refined ingredients. This also makes these gluten and grain free. I recently discovered that Amazon has the best pricing for cassava flour, compared to the health food stores near me and, surprisingly, Thrive Market. And I use Bob’s Red Mill for the tapioca flour.
Coconut Sugar – My favorite granular sweetener for refined sugar free baking. I use and love Nutiva’s coconut sugar.
Maple Syrup – I use a touch of maple syrup to add some moisture to the chocolate chip cookie dough and it gives it a wonderful consistency that makes it extremely easy to work with. I used an organic Grade A, amber colored maple syrup.
Chocolate Chips – I always use Enjoy Life baking chips because they are allergy friendly and made with few, simple ingredients. They are sweetened with cane sugar so not strictly paleo. Use your favorite paleo-friendly bar chopped into small chunks instead if you like, or just skip the chips entirely. Or do the opposite, and add chips or chunks to both the cookie dough and the brownie batter to really pump up those chocolate notes.
Whether you’re a lover of chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cookie bars, all things chocolate, or just love straight up love a good dessert that defies categorization, these Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies are for you!
paleo friendly (gluten/grain/dairy free), naturally sweetened
If you make this recipe, share your experience with others by leaving a review or rating down below. And I’d LOVE to see your creation! Please tag me on Instagram @freshlydafna and use #freshlydafna.
Healthy Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies
A super fudgy and deeply chocolatey brownie studded with glorious chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough! Super easy to make. It's the best of both the cookie and brownie world in one EPIC dessert but made better-for-you!
paleo-friendly (gluten/grain/dairy free), nut free, refined sugar free
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (62 grams)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (36 grams)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (29 grams)
- 1 tbsp tapioca flour (7 grams)
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2-3 tbsp mini chocolate chips (24 grams)
- 1 cup coconut sugar (146 grams)
- 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (128 grams)
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (61 grams)
- 2 eggs ideally room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla (4 grams)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (58 grams) not cacao powder or cocoa mix
- 1/4 cup cassava flour (36 grams)
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour (15 grams)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Heat oven to 375 degrees and prepare square (8 or 9 inch) baking dish by lining with parchment paper and leaving a 1 inch hang off the sides.
In a small bowl, make the cookie dough by mixing together the cashew butter, coconut sugar, and maple syrup together until smooth.
Add the tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt and stir until a soft dough forms. Mix in the chocolate chips, starting with 2 tbsp and adding an additional tablespoon if desired.
Make cookie dough balls. Either scoop and roll the dough into 1/2 inch balls individually or roll all the dough out into a 1/2 inch thick log, cut into even chunks, and roll into balls. See the post for step-by-step pictures.
Place the dough balls in the fridge while the brownie batter is made.
Cream together the coconut sugar, cashew butter, avocado oil, eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl if mixing by hand or in the bowl of stand mixer and mix until it is thick and bubbly and everything is fully incorporated.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the dry ingredients, and stir until just thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once during mixing to ensure all is evenly distributed and avoid over-mixing the batter. Mix until a thick and shiny batter forms and no streaks remain. Stir in the extra chocolate chips to the brownie batter if desired.
Add the cookie dough balls to the brownie batter and, using a silicone spatula, gently turn the batter once or twice trying not to disturb the cookie dough balls.
Pour the batter with cookie dough chunks into the prepared baking dish and gently spread out in the pan to create an even layer.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the top is puffed and the edges are starting to crisp and darken slightly.
Let cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan. Using the parchment paper overhang, lift the brownie out of the pan and let cool further on a wire rack.
Once cool, slice and enjoy!
Storage: Store brownies at room temperature in an airtight container for a day or so. Afterwards move to the freezer for longer storage.
Baking Time: I consistently found these brownies to be perfect when baked for 18 minutes. The exteriors and edges are just slightly crisp and the interior is stilll super moist and fudgy. If you like a firm brownie bake for 20 minutes.
Cocoa Powder: Be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder, not cocoa mix or cacao powder. Some good brands are Organic Cocoa Powder from Whole Food's 365 brand, Equal Exchange's Baking Cocoa, or Guittard's Cocoa Powder (what I used in this recipe).
Sunflower Seed Butter: Use cashew butter or almond butter instead of sunflower seed butter. Ideally use one that contains one ingredient (no added sugars or oil).
Avocado Oil: Sub with olive oil or melted and cooled coconut oil.
Maple Syrup: Use agave or honey instead.
Strictly Refined Sugar Free/Paleo: Use your favorite paleo-friendly bar chopped into small chunks to make this strictly paleo and refined sugar free.
Even More Chocolate: Make this extra chocolatey by adding chocolate chips/chunks to both the cookie dough and the brownie batter.
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