by Kelsey Logan, Member Programs Manager at Western, Cedar No. 7, Cedar Rapids, IA
Recently, I have been on a quest to find low calorie desserts that I really want to eat. No rice cakes with a sprinkle of sugar for me! I decided to try out a couple to see which would follow my only two guidelines: needs to have chocolate (hello chocoholics!) and needs to be under 150 calories per serving.
My first attempt was a recipe I found on Pinterest called 100 calorie brownies. The brownies had several swap-outs with traditional brownie ingredients, including applesauce for vegetable oil and honey in place of sugar. See the recipe below.
The person who made the pin mentioned in the text of the blog that if you use walnuts and chocolate chips, like I did, the recipe goes from about 100 calories to 136 calories. That was worth it to me. I followed the recipe pretty exactly and I would give it a 7/10. While I liked the unique taste that the honey gave, the overall brownie was more cake-y than I would have liked. I baked it for 30 minutes as directed because I added the walnuts and chocolate chips, but I think it would have been more fudgy if I had taken it out at 25 minutes. I think with a frosting it may have been better. (What isn’t better with frosting, though, really?) I shared them with folks here at the Home Office and the consensus was they were ok. The portions are pretty small, but when you cut any brownies to serving size, you start to realize how small all portions are supposed to be…
Final thoughts: If you like cake or are really concerned with calories, these are an easy brownie to make and a decent treat, even if they aren’t all that decadent.
Makes 16 bars, 126 calories each
⅔ C honey (clover or orange, mild blossom)
½ C applesauce, unsweetened
¼ tsp baking powder, aluminum-free
¼ tsp baking soda
⅓ C cocoa powder, unsweetened
¼ tsp salt
½ C semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract, pure
½ C whole-wheat flour, white
2 T olive oil
1 olive oil cooking spray, non-stick
½ C walnuts (chopped) (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment and spray with olive oil. Measure the honey into a deep-sided small bowl and microwave on high power 45 seconds. Whisk in the cocoa powder and let cool. Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In a large bowl, whisk applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla together until well combined. Whisk in the cooled honey-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until all the flour is incorporated. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips (if using). Add the batter to the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Bake until the surface looks dry around the edges and a toothpick in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, about 25 to 30 minutes if you added walnuts and chocolate chips. Don't over bake. Cool the pan on a wire rack. Once cool, refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Remove the brownies using the parchment to a cutting board and slice into 16 squares. For clean cuts wipe the knife clean after each cut and dip in hot water. Store in an airtight container in a cool place 3-4 days.
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