“Hot Date” Spicy Mexican Chocolate Brownies (Vegan, Gluten-Free, & Nut-Free!)

December 7, 2011

What’s that? Sorry, I can’t talk right now. I have a hot date:

A hot date brownie, that is!

What am I talking about, you ask? Just the latest and greatest sweet treat to come out of my kitchen is all! Seriously, I am super excited to be sharing this recipe with you all today. These brownies are rich, decadent, and irresistible—yet vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free!

The secret? I’m pretty sure it’s the dates. I like using dates in sweet things because they’re a whole food and a superb natural sweetener. They’re extra perfect for brownies, because they naturally have that sticky, gooey texture that brownies need. And this weekend, as I was poking around the internet for gluten-free date-based brownie recipes, I had an excellent idea: why not spice things up a bit while I’m at it?

And so these Spicy Mexican Chocolate—or as I’m calling them, “Hot Date”—Brownies were born. I worked off of this excellent chocolate date brownie recipe from Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, and then added some hot pepper and chili spices to the batter to make them extra hot. The result was divine—chewy, rich, spicy, and finger-licking good. This is definitely a recipe I will be returning to soon, and one you should get on ASAP! Here’s what to do…

“Hot Date” Mexican Chocolate Brownies
vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free
(makes 16 to 20 small brownies, 9 medium brownies, or 1 really big brownie)
adapted from this Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free recipe


  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup garbanzo-fava flour mix (other GF flours would probably work here too)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • a handful of chocolate chips (totally optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and spray with spray oil.
  2. Place pitted dates, hot water, vanilla, and coffee granules in a bowl and let sit as you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Mix together all the other ingredients, except for the optional chocolate chips.
  4. Place date mixture into a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary.
  5. Once date mixture is nice and smooth, add the flour mixture and process some more. You should have enough space to do this even in a very tiny food processor (mine only holds 3 cups). The final mixture will be fairly sticky and viscous.
  6. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan, and do your best to spread it out. Silicon/rubber spatulas are a boon here, but even they can only do so much with this batter.
  7. If you wish, sprinkle the top with chocolate chips, and press down into batter.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The toothpick test won’t work with these brownies, so just use your best judgment as to when they are set.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Once they’ve cooled down, they’re ready to eat!

And that’s all you got to do! Hope you enjoy this one, guys!

Until we eat again,





  1. Sounds like a delish variation!! I love cayenne and chocolate. Yum! Dates are so much fun to use in baking and, like you said, it’s a whole food and natural sweetener. Thanks for sharing my site with your readers.


    • Thank you for the original recipe!! It’s stellar and absolutely divine.

  2. Yes! Dates belong in EVERYTHING! I first discovered what a joy they were when, in my date-ignorant days, I’d mistaken them for prunes when I was shopping for prunes for a brownie recipe by Fran Costigan. Needles to say, the “mistake” was heavenly and I repeat it every time I make the brownies now.

    These… look… soooo gooey. I need to make them. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. these look AMAZING, i’m new to this vegan thing and desperately craving something sweet that isn’t fruit. So gooey, interesting and beautiful!

    • I’ve heard from lots of people who’ve tried them themselves now, and everyone seems to love them! Enjoy!

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