Creeping Charlie Chocolate Brownies (vegan)

 reading time: 5 min

Creeping charlie is a wonderful medicinal wild herb that has been featured on my blog before, for example in my fluffy sourdough bread with wild spring herbs, my wild herb & garlic butter, and my pesto flower pull-apart bread using homemade wild herb pesto.

But did you know that creeping charlie (which by the way I am renaming "creeping charlotte" since the plant has a feminine energy to it for me) makes for a great ingredient in desserts as well? As a member of the mint family, it pairs especially well with chocolate!

Hence, these creeping charlie chocolate brownies. They
are decadent, rich, moist, and just delicious. They aren't the most healthy, though, but sometimes I like prioritizing flavour over salubrity. The leaves and flowers of the creeping charlie give these brownies a unique aromatic flavour.

This is a magic(k)al recipe for celebrating Beltane or the full moon in May, also known as the Flower Moon, or for the upcoming Mother's Day 💗

Where and How to Harvest Creeping Charlie

Creeping charlie (Glechoma hederacea), also known as ground ivy or gill-over-the-ground, is an aromatic, perennial, evergreen creeper of the mint family. It is widespread throughout most of Europe and can also be found in western and northern Asia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. It is often-times considered "invasive".

The ground-covering
herb can be found on meadows, lawns, wooded areas, along field margins and on fallow land. It thrives in moist shaded areas but also tolerates sun very well. It is relatively unassuming, expect when it is in flower between April and June, sometimes even July.

Creeping charlie contains many
essential oils, tannins and bitter substances, which have anti-inflammatory, digestive and metabolism-stimulating properties. It can be used for complaints such as acne, colds, coughs, bronchial diseases, abscesses, tumours, and to stimulate the metabolism. It can be used to make tinctures, ointments, compressed, tea, or used for cooking and baking, such as in herb butter, lemonade, chocolate, cottage cheese, salads and egg dishes.

The fresh leaves contain a lot of vitamin C. When the leaves are crushed, a spicy, slightly minty scent is noticeable. Personally, it often reminds me of the melissa family as well. The taste is usually compared with mint, but some people have also associated it with goat's cheese. Well ...

The best way to distinguish creeping charlie from other wild herbs is its intense minty aromatic scent when crushed,
heart-shaped or kidney-shaped opposed leaves with prominent rounded lobes on the edges, stalks that usually creep along the ground, flower shoots that are upright, and funnel-shaped blue or purple flowers. At the tips, the stalks can sometimes be brown-purplish instead of the usual dark green.

Due to very similar common habitats, creeping charlie is often confused with bugle (Ajuga reptans) which also has erect flowering stems with two-lipped blue flowers, but very different elliptical leaf blades. Luckily, bugle is also edible, so you don't need to worry too much about it.

You could also potentially mistake creeping charlie with heal-all (Prunella vulgaris) or even
purple dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum) – which are both edible as well. They can be told apart by their leaves and flower shape.

The leaves of the creeping charlie can sometimes be confused with the young leaves of
lesser celandine or fig buttercup (Ficaria verna). Once it flowers between March and May, the difference is obvious: the lesser celandine has glossy yellow flowers that open up into a star-shape. Its leaves are also edible, but should only be consumed before it flowers!

The best time to collect creeping charlie is between March and June.

General Foraging Guidelines:

  • You should be 100 % certain you are identifying the correct plant. If you do not know what it is, DO NOT eat it! Do not pick if you're in doubt!

  • Don't harvest from contaminated areas such as busy roadsides, near industrial facilities, where dogs pee, along the edges of agricultural fields, old landfill sites etc.

  • Be mindful & harvest sustainably. Only pick from areas that have a plentiful supply, and never more than 1/4 of a plant, ideally only about 5 %.

  • Leave the harvesting area litter-free.



Preparation time: 1 hour (+ 30 minutes cooling time)
Main ingredients: flour, chocolate, sugar, creeping charlie
difficulty level: easy
makes: 12 brownies
suitable for
vegan, lactose-free, wheat-free, egg-free, yeast-free


150 g spelt flour (I use type 1050 which is the German equivalent to bread flour)
100 g ground almonds
g coconut blossom sugar or cane sugar
1 package (8g) vanilla sugar

50 g unsweetened cacao powder
4 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
100 g dark vegan chocolate, chopped (I use 70%)
400 ml coconut milk
110 g vegan margarine (or sub 90 g canola oil)
about 3 tbsp cacao nibs
2 handfuls of fresh creeping charlie
(optional) 3-5 fresh mint leaves


To make the herb-infused coconut milk:

Start by infusing the coconut milk with creeping charlie.

To a small saucepan, add 400 ml of coconut milk (both the creamy and the watery part).

Rinse the creeping charlie to remove any residual dirt, bugs, or soil that may be on the plant. Then, tear or "smack" the leaves to help them release their aromas.

Add about 2/3 of your creeping charlie to the coconut milk. Bring to a slight simmer, then turn off the heat and allow the herbs to steep in the coconut milk for at least 1-2 hours. I suggest infusing it overnight.

Strain the herbs, and use the infused coconut milk for the brownie recipe.

Creeping charlie before and after steeping in coconut milk overnight.

To make the brownies:

Preheat oven to 347 °F /175 °C.

Chop the remaining creeping charlie leaves and flowers very finely. Do the same with the mint leaves.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, vanilla sugar, sugar, cacao powder, cacao nibs, chopped creeping charlie and mint, and salt. Stir well.

hop the chocolate and melt it over a double-boiler.

In a separate bowl, beat the vegan margarine until fluffy. Slowly add in the flour mix and the herb-infused coconut milk, alternating. Mix everything together using an electric whisk. Lastly, add the melted chocolate, and mix again.

Pour the batter onto a greased or parchment lined baking tray. I used a smaller brownie tray, pictured here, and a second larger one. The batter should make about 12 brownies.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin completely, then cut into squares.

Garnish with leaves and flowers from the creeping charlie, and/or other edible flowers such as daisies or violets.

Store brownies in an airtight container and eat within 3 days. If they last that long, congratulations for your self-discipline!

Looking for more foraged flower recipes? Here are some I really like:

Vegan Dandelion Cupcakes
Vegan Lemon & Elderflower Buttercream Layer Cake