Sweet Treat and Good to Eat: Healthy Brownies

Who ever said eating healthy meant you couldn’t indulge every once in a while? We support the mantra of ‘everything in moderation,’ so here is a compilation of three healthy brownies that are packed with healthy ingredients.

Eat to Beat Brownies

We encourage you to eat a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins; however, there’s no harm in eating something sweet, especially when a recipe also has healthy ingredients.

Of all the sweets, dark chocolate is of the healthier options because it is made from the seed of the cocoa tree, which is one of the best sources of antioxidants. This recipe contains cocoa powder and dark chocolate among many other ingredients that have health benefits such as zucchini, carrots, honey and cinnamon. If you are looking to curb your sweet tooth, but not feel too guilty, look no further.

Serves 1-10.

Ingredients:
¾ cup gluten free oats (you can put in a food processor- however, I like mine chewy so I keep them whole)
½ cup Justin’s Vanilla almond Butter (personal favorite)
½ cup dark chocolate chips (consider organic chocolate baking chips that have no sugar added)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (non-alkalized)
½ cup unsweetened apple cinnamon applesauce
¼ cup honey
1 ½ cup shredded zucchini (needs to be patted very dry or your brownies will have too much liquid)
¼ cup shredded carrot (needs to be patted very dry as well)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
Your choice of: chopped nuts (i.e. walnuts), chopped dried fruit (i.e. dried cherries), flax seed, or all of the above (my preference).

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Blend oats in food processor, if desired. (Not necessary, I use them whole).
  3. Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl, saving the chocolate chips for last. (Use additional chocolate chips to sprinkle on top, if desired). Fold in the grated carrot and zucchini after patting completely dry on paper towels.
  4. Pour batter into an 8×11 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Credit: Eat to Beat Cancer

 

Mexican Chocolate Black Bean Brownie Bites

When you think brownies, you probably don’t think of black beans. However, did you know that black beans are a great source of fiber and can substitute for oil or butter? By using black beans in your brownie batter, you can cut calories and fat, which is always a bonus.

Serves 30 (5 dozen brownie bites)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup black bean puree, divided
1/2 cup recently boiled water (very hot)
2 cups sugar
1 cup ground almonds
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
Nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine cocoa and baking soda in mixing bowl. Blend in 1/3 cup of the bean purée. Add hot water and stir until thickened. Stir in remaining bean purée, sugar, almonds, cinnamon and eggs and egg yolk until batter is smooth. Stir in flour, vanilla and salt, mixing until well blended.
  3. Lightly spray cups of nonstick mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.
  4. Using one tablespoon cookie scoop or soup spoon, place batter in mini-muffin wells making each no more than half full. Bake 12-13 minutes until brownie bite just springs back when touched. Cool on rack.
  5. Note: To make black bean puree, use one 15-ounce can of black beans, drain and rinse in colander and add to food processor or blender with 1/4 cup hot water. Purée into smooth paste. Extra black bean paste stores in refrigerator and is delicious added to soup, spread on crackers or rolled into a tortilla.

Credit: American Institute for Cancer Research

 

Sugar-Free Black Bean Brownies

Diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and obesity, which increases cancer risk over time.  Research now links certain cancers—including breast, prostate, colorectal, esophageal, endometrial, kidney and pancreatic—to obesity.

Today I’d like share with you a very special dessert that is made without sugar and without refined carbohydrates.  With these Black Bean Brownies, you can feel good about satisfying your sweet tooth.

Serves 45

Ingredients:
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (72% cocoa or higher)
1 cup unsalted butter or non-hydrogenated butter substitute
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup brewed coffee
¼ tsp sea salt
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups light agave nectar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 11” by 18” baking pan with parchment paper. Spray with canola oil.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
  3. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely.
  4. Place the soft-cooked beans, ½ cup of walnuts, vanilla extract and a couple spoonfuls of melted chocolate mixture into the food processor.
  5. Blend for 2 minutes or until smooth.
  6. Batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.
  7. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ½ cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  8. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the eggs until light & creamy- about 1 minute.
  9. Add the agave nectar & beat well. Set aside.
  10. Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.
  11. Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup.
  12. Mix well & pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  13. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter.
  14. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect.
  15. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the brownies are set.
  16. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. These brownies are very rich, so cut them into small squares. Store in the refrigerator.

Credit: National Foundation for Cancer Research