Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The 100-Calorie Brownie

Let's have a show of hands. How many of you have whipped up something sweet...pie, cake, brownies...and found yourself constantly coming back to it in your kitchen, slicing away for just a little taste? Maybe straightening that "edge"? Because it's just a shame for a pan of brownies to be sitting there unattended after it's been crookedly sliced. After a while you lose track of how much you've really eaten (I mean, who knows??) but now the pan is half empty. Hey, my hand is up there with yours!

How do you fix this? There are a few possible solutions, including not making sweets at all. But there are certain times this solution cannot be used...for example, special occasions, house guests, or just the simple desire for something sweet. It's my strong belief that even brownies can fit into a healthful diet.

One solution that I favor is making a healthier version of the recipe and dividing it into serving sizes. Don't hide the nutrition information from yourself. That way you know exactly how much of a splurge you are really making.

Hence the development of this 100-calorie brownie. It's really quite amazing how the calories add up in typical brownie recipes. The normal standard-sized brownie is somewhere between 200 and 400 calories. Then there's those varieties with frosting and peanut butter and nuts and caramel and all other manner of caloric additions.

As I was searching for "healthy" brownie recipes I came up with a few options. But pretty much all of them featured one or more of these ingredients:

Black beans. I've had these pureed in brownies. It's ok. But...no.
Artificial sweeteners. I try to stay away from these. Except stevia. But it still whispers "fake" on your tastebuds.
Gluten free flour. Ok what? This doesn't make it healthier. Unless of course you have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant.

In frustration I decided to make up my own recipe. I sort of started from this recipe.

Here goes!

100-Calorie Brownies
Makes 20

1.5 tsp instant espresso powder OR 1/2 cup strong coffee
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9x13" pan with cooking spray.

If using, mix espresso powder with 1/2 cup hot water. Set aside.

Whisk dry ingredients together (whole wheat flour through salt...not the chocolate chips). Stir in wet ingredients (including the espresso or strong coffee) until thoroughly moistened.

Pour in prepared pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over. Bake about 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (not counting melted chocolate chips!). Let cool and then cut three times lengthwise and four times widthwise, making 20 100-calorie brownies!

Here they are going in the oven:

Here they are coming out!

So...the big question... how do they taste?? Moist, not-too-sweet, super chocolatey, and just a hint of tartness. That came from the yogurt. If you wish to avoid that, then reduce the yogurt to half a cup and increase the applesauce or coffee by half a cup. Also, they taste their best when completely cool or stored in the refrigerator.

And I know some of you are wondering...what did Ryan think? He loved them! He said his favorite thing is that they are not overly sweet.

Nutrition Facts
  20 Servings

Amount Per Serving

  Calories 101.6  
  Total Fat 3.2 g     
    Saturated Fat 1.8 g     
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g     
    Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g  
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg  
  Sodium 138.9 mg  
  Potassium 71.3 mg  
  Total Carbohydrate 19.1 g     
    Dietary Fiber 2.1 g     
    Sugars 11.8 g  
  Protein 2.8 g

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