Anyone for brownies?  If so, you’ve come to the right place as it’s a good day to be a choco-holic.  These oh-so-delicious chocolatey fudgy beauties are just the perfect brownie to sink your teeth into. Imagine a rich, almost velvety chocolate flavor and guess what?  No surprise from me but this recipe includes healthier items without the excess sugar or less-than-stellar ingredients.

I’m calling this my ‘Brownies with a boost’ because it uses a couple of secret ingredients no one will notice – avocadoes and olive oil.

Avocadoes – If you’re a health-conscious baker, you may already know that a very ripe avocado can be substituted for traditional baking ingredients such as butter or shortening.  It’s a simple way to cut back on fat plus save some calories – two tablespoons of avocado has 50 calories compared to two tablespoons of butter which totals 204 calories – that’s a calorie savings of 154 calories!

In addition, avocadoes are full of healthy monounsaturated fats helping reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease your risk of heart disease.  Avocadoes also contain phytonutrients, thought to prevent many chronic diseases and the oil found in them keeps skin young and glowing.

Olive Oil – I used olive oil in this recipe but you can also use canola oil too.  In fact, I made this recipe twice, the first time using olive oil and the second time using canola, and was unable to tell the difference in taste or appearance between the two.

However, there are different types of olive oils – extra virgin, virgin, refined and light.  While extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has the highest quality, it is not ideal for brownies. EVOO when heated in an oven can cause it to release a strong smell that may not make the brownies that appetizing!  The best blend of olive oil is to use light olive oil.  This type will not cause a strong smell when heated and there should be no taste difference between it or canola oil.

Olive oil is a rich source of healthy monounsaturated fat and is a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet in which some of the world’s longest-living cultures use as a staple food. This wonder oil has been studied extensively and is associated with being effective against and reducing the risk of breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and even osteoporosis. Let’s hear it for olive oil!

Here are a couple of other health-boosting ingredients found in this recipe:

Whole Wheat Flour – Instead of using all-purpose flour, I substituted whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is a favorite of mine as it contains all three parts of the grain kernel – the bran, endosperm, and germ, making it a more fiber and nutrient rich flour than all-purpose flour. The bran is the hard outer layer of a whole wheat grain that contains fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, and phytochemicals.  The endosperm is the middle of the whole wheat grain and the largest part of the kernel. It is made up of carbohydrates and protein with a small amount of B vitamins and minerals. The germ is the part of the kernel that is the embryo of the seed. It provides B vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants and vitamin E.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Many brownie recipes tend to use sweetened chocolate but this one uses unsweetened cocoa powder. Cocoa powder, which comes from the cocoa bean, is highly nutritious with many health benefits and contains the all-important flavonoids. Flavonoids, found abundantly in cocoa, are a type of antioxidants called polyphenols that help fight cancer, heart disease, and aging.

Get ready to serve up a pan of these brownies and I can guarantee no one will even know they are eating a better-for-you brownie.  But, be sure to share the secret ingredients surprising everyone just how good they can make brownies taste!

Whole Wheat Avo-licious Fudgy Brownies – Makes 16 brownies

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 large very ripe avocado (8 to 10 ounces), peeled and seeded

2 large eggs

¼ cup olive or canola oil

¼ cup honey

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons mini chocolate chips, divided

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Line an 8-inch baking dish with heavy aluminum foil allowing ends to stick up: lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  4. Place peeled and seeded avocado, oil, honey, sugar, and vanilla in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour avocado mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine – batter will be thick. Stir in 2 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips.
  6. Spread batter evenly in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle additional 2 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips on top of batter.
  7. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean but be careful not to overbake. Brownies may look damp in the center but will firm up as they cool.
  8. Cool on a wire rack and remove brownies from pan using foil handles. Cut into serving sizes.
Categories: Recipes

Cheryl Mussatto

Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City, an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, Ks where she teaches Basic Nutrition, and is a blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi and nutroutine.com, an online market place connecting nutrition experts with customers worldwide. She can be contacted here.

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