Anyone that knows me knows how much I love cookies, brownies, cakes, and pretty much any other dessert. Part of my New Year’s Resolution was to cut back on unhealthy things (like cookies, alcohol) and find other ways to satisfy those same cravings. I know it’s important to not cut anything cold turkey, because they you just end up craving and binging, so I started doing some research on ways to make sweet foods in a healthier way.
Thanks to Jillian Michaels, and my amazing nutrition professor from senior year of college, I read all about baking alternatives for sugar, butter, and oil, the real calorie contributors to desserts. Sugar can easily be replaced with honey or cane sugar, and butter and oil can be replaced with applesauce and avocado. Jillian Michaels likes to use olive oil in place of vegetable oil, but I don’t like how that tastes, but you can try it and see what you think. It’s also pretty easy to sneak in extra veggies to your desserts and to replace any white flour with whole wheat. So here’s my recipe for a super-healthy brownie chock full of fiber, antioxidants and vitamins.
Healthy Brownies (adapted from Jillian Michaels)
What you need:
- olive oil cooking spray
- 2/3 cup mild honey, such as clover or orange blossom
- 1/3 cups natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 cups of spinach or bananas, or shredded zucchini or carrots
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8-inch pan by spraying it with olive oil.
- Place the honey and cocoa in a large glass measuring cup. Microwave until the honey is runny and just bubbling, 45 to 60 seconds. Whisk together until well combined and let cool.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. .
- In a blender, combine the applesauce, oil, and spinach, banana, carrot or zucchini. Blend until well incorporated. Pour into a bowl and mix in the egg, and vanilla. Add the honey-cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and stir until well-incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the brownies cool for about five minutes, then cut into 16 servings.