Monday, December 7, 2009

Better Brownies

These are my healthier version of chocolate brownies. I'll be making them this Christmas because one of my guests requested them. They look fancy, if we decorate them with cherries or whipped topping. They're ideal for a tree-decorating party or a gift-wrapping session, because they don't take long to make, but they taste luxuriously rich -- like dark semi-sweet chocolate. If your family members can't have chocolate, you can safely substitute carob powder for the cocoa.

While they aren't exactly "health food," they are nutritious and you can feel good about serving them to the people you love.

Better Brownies


1 1/3 cup plain flour
3/4 cup cocoa
3 tablespoons oat bran
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

4 egg whites (or equivalent egg substitute)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 T. canola oil or olive oil
3/4 cup sugar or equivalent sweetener of your choice
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Lightly grease a baking pan that is approximately 8 x 11 inches. I find that 9 x 13 inches is too large. I use a glass baking pan in my recipe. I prefer a canola oil spray for greasing.

3. In a large mixing bowl, blend the first five ingredients.

4. In a smaller mixing bowl beat the egg whites with a fork for a couple of minutes, then whip in each of the remaining five ingredients in the order they appear, one at the time. Only whip each ingredient long enough to get it thoroughly blended, about one minute each.

5. Combine this wet mixture with the dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened.

6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan with a rubber spatula and spread it so that it is relatively smooth and even.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the top is dry and springy to the touch. When the brownies are done, a knife inserted will come out mostly clean.

8. Let the brownie pan cool on a wire rack or trivet for 10 -20 minutes.

Extra Notes:

If you do not want to use the chocolate syrup recipe below, then you will probably want to increase the fructose/sugar to 1 cup in the recipe and decrease the oat bran to 2 tablespoons.

Since I am on a low-fat diet, I simply omit the tablespoon of oil. The added oil helps the brownies retain their flavor longer and probably makes their texture a more conventional.

If you don't have oat bran, you can find it at your grocery store next to the oatmeal in a small box from Quaker.

Optional Chocolate Syrup


1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 to 1 cup soy milk (other milks work fine, too)
dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


1. Heat honey in microwave for 45 seconds in the microwave in a medium sized glass mixing bowl.

2. Stir in the cocoa with a whisk.

3. Heat the mixture for 45 seconds.

4. After this, the mixture will look like thick mud. Gradually stir in soy milk a few drops at the time, while mixing constantly with the whisk, until the consistency is the thickness you desire for syrup topping. Add the dash of salt.

5. Heat for one minute. Mixture will thicken again. If it is thicker than conventional chocolate syrup, add a bit more soy milk and whisk.

Serving suggestions:

Slice brownies with a sharp knife. Put individual brownies on dessert plates and spoon syrup over them. Top each brownie off with a maraschino cherry, a fresh strawberry, or whipped topping.

Safety Alert:

The chocolate syrup will be very hot and hold its heat for five minutes or more. Be sure to test it with your finger before serving it to your children.

All recipes, copyright 2009 by Cassandra Frear.

What's your favorite kind of brownie or bar cookie for the holidays? I'd love to know!


  1. Our holiday favorite is simple - chocolate chip cookies! :-) I don't know why, but these have become a Christmas thing for us, and I bake up dozens around the holidays. Every once in a while I will make them during the year, but mostly they are saved for Christmas. I need to try these brownies, though! :-)
    BTW - we are just getting your package together and it should be out in a day or two. My daughter was gung-ho about making the ornaments, and my younger son was gung-ho about destroying them while I was in the shower one day! So it won't be as many as we had hoped, but a few festive touches :-)

  2. You are so sweet! I will look forward to my "surprise" package!


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