Public enemy number one to your diet: brownies. They’re gooey, they’re tasty, they’re sweet and in most cases, they’re fattening. There are a number of “healthy” brownies out there: from the “deceptively” delicious variety where you mash up carrots and spinach to the new craze of black bean brownies. I have to admit: none of these ‘healthy’ brownies really do anything for me. They’re usually unsweet, they waste my ingredients and leave me wanting more. I’ve come across a recipe today for a vegan brownie that actually is edible! It’s not overly fattening, it’s not hard at all to make and it taste pretty good.

The problem with boxed brownies is that you’re getting a heck of a lot more than a chunk of chocolate cake. You have your white flour, tons of salt, lots of other chemicals you can’t even pronounce. Then to add insult to injury, most call for you to add in 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and 2-3 eggs. That’s what makes them mostly fattening and causes your waistline and ass to expand at an exponential rate. So there’s an easy solution: ditch the oil, leave the eggs at the farm. Then, you may ask, how do you make a brownie? You make it vegan style! Give this recipe a try:

1 cup of flour (I used self-rising so I didn’t have to scramble for baking soda or powder)
3/4 cup of white sugar
6 TBSP cocoa
1/2 tsp of baking powder (omit if you’re using self-rising)
1/4 tsp of sea salt (or regular salt if that’s all you have)
1/2 cup of water
2 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup all-natural, unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp of vanilla
2 tsp of ground coffee (optional)
1 1/2 TBSP ground flaxseed (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together. Pour into greased pan. In my oven, at 375 F, it took about 25-30 minutes.

What makes these better for you: First, you’re controlling the ingredients and know what you’re eating. That’s not always the case with the store boxed brands that look more like science experiments than real food. Sure, white flour in most circles is the devil but you’re omitting a ton of unhealthy things in the recipe so you shouldn’t fret about using white flour here. Most boxed brands call for 1/2 or so of vegetable oil. Just a little vegetable oil is bad for you in general cooking (please, switch to olive or at least canola oil for your general cooking purposes) so notice that in this recipe, you’re just using 2 TBSP of olive oil – you’ve just saved yourself a heck of a lot of time spent in the gym working the fat off your ass and abs. Most boxed brownies call for 2-3 eggs … again, it’s unnecessary. Instead, the applesauce will help bind things together just as the eggs would and you don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that unsweetened, all-natural applesauce is healthier for you than cholesterol, fattening, eggs.

The optional ingredients have their perks. A little caffeine in the form of coffee adds a special flavor as well as speeds up your metabolism just a little – though you’re using so little in this recipe that you shouldn’t expect your metabolism to race at the speed of light. Flaxseed is something else used in place of eggs – it’s healthy fat, containing Omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health, joint lubrication as well as keeps your brain fed and healthy. Want another healthy dose of Omega-3? Toss in some crushed walnuts.

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