Recently I've been inspired to bake without added oils or dairy for its health benefits. It's tough to create a recipe that not only tastes great but is healthy too. There are many ways one might view what is healthy. I think it all depends on your lifestyle, dietary preferences/needs and interests. For me, I need to be mindful of the carbohydrate and sugar content in a recipe because I'm diabetic (that's where Splenda and the not so low-fat almond meal/flour comes in for this particular recipe - almond meal is a low-carb flour option that works great!). Many people make modifications to their diet because of health reasons or a medical condition. If you are like me, you are extremely compliant (yet I'm not a purist and don't claim to be) and do the very best you possibly can given the cards you've been dealt. This is a big reason for why I'm so into recipe design. As a matter of fact, I think food is just such an amazing palette to work with. There are rich colors and textures, great tastes and smells that add so much dimension when we are in the kitchen. There are so many wonderful products with which to work with these days. To me this is so much fun! Please note that you can substitute just about anything in any or all of the recipes you find on Seasoned Terrain. Find what works for you given your specific needs and preferences. Send me an email and I can certainly help you find a more suitable substitute. I encourage you to write to me about any product you are using that I might consider incorporating in my recipes. I will also include some substitutions that will work if a recipe calls for that option.
Before I get on to the recipe, I want to share some of the substitutes for things like eggs and just exactly why we are using apple cider vinegar. First, good egg substitutes are items such as applesauce, pureed banana, squash or pumpkin because they are good binding agents. They are low in fat and have flavors that may or may not be desirable. I find applesauce is the most neutral of these binding agents. Another option is utilizing a ground flaxseed and water mixture (one egg = 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons water mixed till thick and creamy - you may want to use a whisk). In vegan baking applications, vinegar is often used for it's leavening and flavor enhancing properties. I hope for the novice this helps explain why some things are used. With all that said, feel free to use the real deal (eggs) and omit the egg substitute and the vinegar. Now, let's bake some healthy yet rich and chocolatey brownies!
On to the recipe! :-)
Double Dark Chocolate Brownies (makes 12 to 20 brownies depending on how you slice them.) Note: This recipe is a modified version of a brownie recipe from Rip Esselstyn's Engine 2 diet cookbook (go here for their website: http://engine2diet.com/). I give Rip and his team credit for the basic recipe but I have deviated quite a bit to accommodate my particular needs. Please feel free to do the same.
1/2 cup Spenda Brown Sugar Blend or 3/4 cup packed Brown Sugar (I know this isn't wet but it is immediately incorporated into the wet ingredients)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbl. Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Almond Milk (soy milk can work too)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (a little goes a long way)
1/4 cup Whole Wheat Pastry flour (or you can use 1/2 cup and omit the soy flour)
1/4 cup Soy flour (you can go with 1/2 cup and omit the whole wheat pastry flour)
1 cup Almond flour or meal (I use the Trader Joe's variety but you can grind your own too. Almond flour is ground up blanched almonds without the skins. Almond meal is the whole almond with skin ground.
3/4 Cocoa Powder (I use Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I use a sugar free variety that I get from Nuts Online, go here: http://www.nuts.com/chocolatessweets/toppings/chips/dark-sugarfree.html There are many dairy-free and sugar-free varieties out there. The higher the chocolate content the more likely that dairy isn't included. I also prefer to use the mini-chocolate chips for lots of deep chocolate creaminess throughout each brownie.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl combine the sugar and applesauce thoroughly by beating with an electric or handheld mixer. Next, beat in the Ener-G egg replacer mixture, soy or almond milk, vanilla and vinegar. In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients but do not include the chocolate chips. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and be sure that everything is thoroughly mixed before stirring in the chocolate chips. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with any variety of cooking spray. Be sure not to over do it. Pour the batter in the dish and bake for 20 minutes. Check its readiness by inserting a toothpick in the center. It's ready if the toothpick comes out clean. If you need more cooking time, go in 2 to 3 minute increments and checking with a new clean toothpick.
You will enjoy these brownies when they are warm out of the oven (so so yummy that way) and also at room temperature. I store these brownies in the fridge for safe keeping. I'll lightly microwave them for that "I just baked these brownies" taste, smell and texture.
Let me know how you like em! Enjoy!