Flourless hazelnut brownies

I seem to know many people that can’t eat dairy or are lactose intolerant. These rich hazelnut brownies have the benefit of being gluten and dairy free but none of the drawbacks with texture and taste.

I challenge anyone to try these and tell me that they’re not as good as ordinary brownies. They’re better.

Based on a Nigella Lawson recipe, I replaced the butter with a neutral vegetable oil. Despite what my friend Kitty believes, butter does still count as dairy. I’ve made these brownies a few times but in practice, Nigella’s original recipe produces brownies that are almost too gooey. So I’ve reduced the wet ingredients a little but kept the dry ingredients the same for a firmer result.

Instead of almond meal, I used hazelnut because making brownies taste more like Nutella can only lead to happiness. I also use musovado sugar as that’s my unrefined dark sugar of choice for baking. The end result is fudgey and very chocolate-y.

This satisfies my desire for all my friends to eat dessert.

Feeds: 8-16 people
Start cooking: 2 hours before eating

Flourless hazelnut brownies
Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe


  • 120 ml x vegetable oil
  • 200 grams x 70% cocoa cooking chocolate (I used Lindt), roughly chopped
  • 180 grams x dark muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 200 grams x hazelnut meal
  • 3 x eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons x vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon x sea salt (or to taste)
  • 16 x raw hazelnuts (optional)


  1. Heat a medium saucepan with two cups of water until just simmering.
  2. Lightly grease a 25cm square tin with vegetable oil and line with baking paper.
  3. Preheat oven to 170 C / 340 F.
  4. Place the vegetable oil and chocolate into a large bowl. Sit the bowl over the saucepan and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and shiny.
  5. Take the bowl off the heat, add sugar and vanilla extract and stir. The mixture may become a little grainy at this point.
  6. Fold in the beaten eggs and hazelnut meal until just combined. Pour the glossy mixture into the prepared cake tin, spreading so it’s an even layer. Stud with raw hazelnuts if desired.
  7. Bake brownies in the oven for 30-40 minutes. The top will be dry but the inside still soft.
  8. Cool for at least 30 minutes before attempting to cut and serve. The texture is less crumbly once it sits in the fridge for a few hours.