Bite into a brownie and you might notice it’s fudgy, indulgent interior. It’s richly satisfying taste. The melt in your mouth chocolate flavor that fills your mouth. But would you know that your brownie may contain “secret” ingredients aimed at making an otherwise unhealthy dessert much better for you?
The “Healthy Brownie” rage has been going on for awhile. But the ingredients being added in it to make it healthier are getting more and more bizarre.
Why brownies? With it’s rich chocolaty taste, it’s easy to hide healthier ingredients without compromising the taste or texture of the brownie. Keep reading to see what ingredients you can add to make your brownie healthier next time you get a chocolate craving.
Beans are an easy addition to any baked good–not just brownies. Simply substitute the oil or butter in a recipe for beans. Try to stick with beans that coordinate with the color of your recipe. For instance, if you’re making a white or yellow cake, stick with white beans. If you’re making brownies, choose black beans. The beans add fiber to a recipe, and reduce the amount of fat and calories you are consuming.
To make a bean puree: Take one can of beans and pour into a blender or food processor. Puree for approximately one minute or until mixture has become smooth. Measure the exact amount of beans per oil or butter used in the recipe. If your recipe calls for 1/3 cup oil, use 1/3 cup bean puree instead. Easy!
Broccoli & Other Veggies
Yes, even broccoli, carrots, zucchini, and squash purees are used in brownies now. These purees add in extra nutrients and vitamins that oil and butter do not, but also help to reduce calories and fat in a recipe. The vegetables also help the recipe to stay moist and the brownies to stay soft. You will want to find a recipe that has measured this out for you already. In Jessica Seinfeld’s Book, “Deceptively Delicious” there is a recipe that calls for carrot and squash purees.
The writer for the site, BurntApple.com also lists one that uses broccoli. Links to these and all recipes can be found at the end of this article.
Healthy flour has taken over. You can find brownies made with almost any type of healthy flour. From gluten free flours, to spelt, quinoa, or even flour boosters like flax seed.
Flax seed has grown in popularity over recent years because of its high protein content and addition of omega 3’s. Many people sprinkle some over their oatmeal or cook it in their breads. If using it in brownies, make sure you’re adding flax meal or ground flax seeds. You do not want to use flax directly in place of the flour. Instead, you will use a combination of flax and another type of flour–like whole wheat.
Quinoa is another popular flour to use–especially for those living a gluten free diet as it is nutrient packed!! Quinoa is a complete protein which makes it a protein powerhouse! Cooking with quinoa flour can be a little bit tricky, so you’re going to want to consult those who have tried and experimented with it before. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is found in seed form that can be used as a replacement for rice dishes, or ground into a flour for use in baking.
Spelt flour has also grown in popularity over the years. Spelt provides a lovely nut like flavor, and includes more nutrients than traditional wheat flour. Spelt flour is a lot more soluble, so when you’re baking with it many people notice that they only have to use 3/4 of the liquid that a recipe calls for.
This sounded exotic to me. Like coconut, papaya, mango exotic. Tahini is anything but that. Tahini is actually a sesame seed paste and is one of the main ingredients in making hummus. Tahini is also heavily used in Mediterranean and middle Eastern dishes. You will want to consult a recipe like the one listed below if using it in the baking of brownies, unless you are familiar with the product and it’s use. Tahini has a very mild flavor which makes it perfect for baking as well as cooking with.
While I realize there are countless other “healthy” additions to brownies, these are definitely some of the most common (and uncommon–think Tahini!) ones I’ve come across. Feel free to experiment and try out your favorite brownie recipe using one of these additions, or use one of the recipes listed below.
Broccoli Brownies by Burnt Apple.com:
Brownies by Jessica Seinfeld:
Flax seed Brownies by Andrea’s Easy Vegan Cooking: http://cookeasyvegan.blogspot.com/2009/08/flaxseed-brownies-two-versions.html
Quinoa Breakfast Brownies by Gluten Free Goddess: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2009/09/quinoa-breakfast-brownies.html
Spelt Brownie Recipe by Chow hound: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/632662
Tahini Brownie: http://www.tasteofbeirut.com/2010/03/tahini-brownie/