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Okay, so brownies aren’t exactly what we call “health food,” but these brownies are good enough to qualify as “better food.”  I’ve been wanting to tweak a brownie recipe that would eliminate my need to buy boxed brownie mixes.  Because as convenient as the mixes are, they don’t store long-term and I’m really not all that interested in the GMO-stuff in Betty Crocker.  Although wow! Betty does make some good brownies.  😉

I hopped over to Heavenly Homemakers where Laura had a whole-wheat brownie recipe.  She called it “fudgy” and “rich” and “real brownies.”  So I got to work.  I did tweak the recipe just a bit – I added some salt, which was missing from the original recipe, and I substituted half of the butter with bean puree.  Now before you think I’ve lost my ever-loving mind, let me explain.

bean puree from great northern beans

Beans are “good for you food” – we all know that.  And as I’ve learned to cook with my pressure cooker, I’ve accidentally over-cooked (ahem) some white beans.  I knew I couldn’t serve them as soft as they were (let’s be honest and just admit they were mushy), but I knew that Crystal at Everyday Food Storage said that bean puree can be added to cakes and brownies to cut the fat (which isn’t my aim), but also to up the protein (which IS my goal) and add fiber that otherwise wouldn’t be there.  I like added protein & fiber, and I get to use the beans I turned to mush.  This is sounding like a win-win to me.  :)

So, armed with the appropriate amount of bean puree, salt, and the recipe, I went to work.  These baked up beautifully and the family proclaimed them to be “wow! yum!”  They still need some work – Laura suggested a 20 minute bake time, but there was no way I was going to serve warm batter.  Thirty minutes seems to be a bit too long, so next time I will bake them for 25 minutes.  I will also increase the cocoa powder a bit – they looked a bit anemic on top, but the insides are rich and fudgy, just like Laura promised.  I was a bit concerned that the amount of sugar exceeded the amount of flour, but when I consulted my Death by Chocolate cookbook, I noted that Marcel Desaulnier’s recipe also had more sugar than flour.  So this must be the appropriate way of creating a brownie.  I never knew.  :)

Healthy Brownies
  • ½ c. butter, melted
  • ½ c. bean puree
  • ½ c. dark cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 2/3 – 1 ¾ c. sucanat (or cane sugar)
  • 1 t. salt (I like Redmond Real Salt)
  • 1½ c. whole wheat flour
  • ¾ c. dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao) chips

Combine butter, bean puree, cocoa and combine well.  Add in eggs, vanilla, salt, and sugar, beating well with mixer.  When fully combined, slowly add flour and mix well.  Toss in chips and prepare to spread in a 9×9 pan for thick brownies – this recipe will fit a 9×13, if you wish to have thinner brownies.

brownie batter in the pan

Bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes, allow to cool before cutting.  If you desire a photo and can take it before it’s snatched off the plate before your camera, go for it.

Bon apetit!

Edited May 1, 2010:  I added 1 extra egg and reduced the sugar slightly (from 2 c. to 1 2/3 or 1 3/4 c.) with this recipe.  I think it works better – the batter is moister with 3 eggs and because I add the chips and dried fruit, the brownies aren’t so cloyingly sweet that they overpower the add-ins.  Of course, if you *like* cloyingly-sweet things, feel free to keep the sugar at 2 c. – it was just more than I could handle.  😉  –Sue

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