We made this recipe in the second level cooking class during our “lighten-up” unit. I’d d take favorites like mac and cheese, pizza, brownies and cupcakes and make them lower in calories and total fat. This brownie recipe paved the way for the unit as they’d cringe during the intro but then devour every crumb by the end of the class, exclaiming passionately over the fudgy texture and deep chocolate flavor of the lightened up brownies. I’d be like, “hello, why would we make something gross that I wouldn’t want to eat?”. Silly doubters.
As my mom said when I had her taste test, “there’s something about a big plate of brownies coming at you after a meal”. She’s right, brownies rock. Now I’m all about splurging on real-deal desserts, but I always skip the brownies and this is why – not worth the fat and calories. For a two inch brownie bite I could eat two bowls of Reese’s Puffs cereal (cereal is, I think, my favorite food). These brownies are about 115 calories and 2 grams of fat each, but every bit as fudgy and chocolate-y. Now, if you eat five or six a day, you’re SOL on the fat-fighting front. If self control isn’t your strong point, make these for an event – trust me, no one will know they’re lightened up and you can dig in after dinner with a clear conscience.
“something about a plate of brownies coming at you after a meal”
On the first day of my cooking class, we talk recipes. Just in case you didn’t know, ingredients are listed in the order that they’re used. There are directions IN the ingredients listed (“1 c. nuts, chopped” is telling you to take that 1 c. of measured nuts and chop them), as well as the written directions. Mise en place is a term for getting all of your ingredients measured and prepared before you start the cooking process. This will expedite your efforts and ensure that you don’t miss anything. Lastly, the word “divided” means an ingredient will be used in two different places. In this recipe, the chocolate chips are “divided”, with 1/2 c. being melted for the batter and another 1/2 c. being stirred into the batter at the end.
Oh, the PB. Peanut butter is usually about 200 calories per 2 tablespoons. Trader Joes sells “Better’n’Peanut butter”, as do most grocery stores (in the organic section). It has half the calories of regular and tastes very “desserty” to me. I love it, and it’s perfect for light desserts that use peanut butter. It looks like this:
Anyways, these brownies are baby girl approved. And so begins her love affair with chocolate. I mean, her mother eats a handful of bittersweet chips with her coffee every morning, so she was pretty much doomed to a life of chocolate adoration. This was her face when she managed to wrangle a chunk of brownie while I was taking a brownie picture. Have you ever seen such earnest joy and wonder? Mmmchocolate.
Low Fat Brownies (That Actually Taste Good)
Makes 16-20 brownies
Adapted from Cooking Light
3/4 c. white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
2/3 c. powdered sugar
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c. (heaping) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. light corn syrup, blended with 3 tbsp. warm water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. peanut butter (ideally Better’n’peanut butter)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 baking pan with foil or parchment, letting it overhang on two opposing sides. Coat with cooking spray.
2. Whisk flour, powdered sugar and cocoa in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Combine heaping 1/2 c. chocolate chips and butter in a large glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Heat again, ten seconds at a time (if needed) until totally smooth.
4. Add sugar, corn syrup mixture, vanilla and salt to chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until smooth and the sugar has dissolved.
5. Add egg and stir well until smoothly combined.
6. Gently add dry ingredients. When almost mixed, add remaining 1/2 c. chocolate chips and stir to combine.
7. Add to pan and spread evenly. Top with scoops of peanut butter and swirl gently with the back of a spoon to spread.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or if when you gently shake the pan the batter doesn’t wiggle in the center.
9. Let cool completely then pull out using the “sling” of tin foil. Slice into 20 brownies. Will keep at room temperature at least 3 days – frozen for 1 month.