09 May 2015

Recipe: Lighter Chocolate Brownies

Note: I'm not much of a chef or baker, but there are a few quick, simple recipes I like to make for lighter sweet treats. Please keep in mind that these recipes reflect only my own experience, and that if you choose to follow them you do so at your own risk!

Yesterday I watched Melanie Murphy's video with the authors of The Happy Pear Cookbook, in which they made a recipe for "healthy" brownies. Seeing their recipe got me thinking about how "healthy" can have such different meanings to different people--their brownies were gluten-free, vegan, and used less refined sweeteners and more nutritionally-dense ingredients than traditional brownies, but they were at least as high in fat and calories if not more so. In fact, I compared The Happy Pear's recipe to my family's own brownie recipe and found that ours had half the calories and a third of the fat for a similar serving size. Granted, they're not gluten-free or vegan, and they aren't as high in fiber or Vitamin A, but for those more concerned with their overall caloric and fat intake this recipe is actually a better pick!

- 3/4 cup einkorn flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Einkorn flour is made from an ancient variety of wheat and is naturally moister than all-purpose flour. If you substitute all-purpose flour, you may need to add 1-2 extra tablespoons of melted butter.


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease an 8" square baking pan with butter, or to make brownie cups like those in the picture place 12 parchment cupcake wrappers in a cupcake pan. Be sure to use parchment wrappers instead of regular paper wrappers to prevent sticking!

2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract and stir until dry ingredients are moist and thoroughly combined--the end result will be the texture of soft cookie dough, so you may need to use your hands a bit to work everything together.

3. Pat the brownie mixture into the greased baking pan, or roll into small balls and flatten slightly with your hands to fit in the bottom of cupcake wrappers. Bake until the edges are firm and the middle is set enough that a fork inserted in the center comes out clean.

4. Let the brownies cool in the baking pan before cutting, or carefully remove the cups from the cupcake pan and let cool in their wrappers on a wire rack. The cup variation, with their indented centers, is especially good for serving with ice cream as an extra-special treat!

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