If you’re a fan of brownies (and who isn’t?) but concerned about the huge amounts of sugar and fat found in every batch of brownies, we might just have the solution for you. We’re going to show you a few simple things that you can do to make any brownie recipe healthier.
While this post is not about “healthy brownies” as such – you know, the kind of brownies made with zucchini or avocado that actually taste nothing like brownies? No, we’re here today to show you how to turn your favorite brownie recipe into a healthier version of itself.
You can use just one of these suggestions to make a slightly healthier version, or you can swap out all of the original ingredients for the healthier options and make a reasonably healthy brownie.
This would still not be a health food as such, but at least you can create truly tasty brownies and enjoy eating them without feeling as guilty as you might if you indulged in the original full fat and sugar version.
It’s all about swapping out your regular brownie ingredients with other, healthier choices. For instance, most brownie recipes call for a large amount of butter. One way to make this healthier is to swap out some of the required amount of butter with coconut oil.
Coconut oil is still a fat, but many would argue that it is a healthier fat than butter due to the unique combination of fatty acids found within coconut oil. Evidence based health benefits of coconut oil include: improved heart health, increased fat burning and boost in brain function.
For more health benefits of coconut oil click here. I usually only swap half of the butter for coconut oil when I make this swap, but you could swap the full amount if you preferred.
There’s usually a lot of fat in a typical brownie recipe so it’s nice to know that you can at least use some healthier fats – I usually just melt the coconut oil in with the butter.
If your brownie recipe uses real chocolate, choose the darkest chocolate your family likes or, you could even use a “sugar free” chocolate. I usually just use regular dark baking chocolate with either 45% or 70% cocoa solids.
One of the most obvious healthy changes you can make in any baking recipe is to swap regular, white, processed flour for wholemeal or whole wheat flour.
You could also substitute the flour for any other type of flour – coconut flour, almond flour, or gluten free flour. I like to do half wholemeal flour and half almond flour – if you need it to be gluten free, you could use all almond flour.
I have a “secret ingredient” that I like to add to my healthier brownies. It’s a combination of flax, hemp and chia meal. It’s all ground up together but, full disclosure, it can feel a little bit gritty if you put too much in.
I usually just add 1-2 tablespoons full within the allotted flour content – so, if the recipe calls for a cup of flour, I’ll put 2 tablespoons of this mixture in the cup and then fill up the rest of the cup with half wholemeal flour and half almond flour.
While it can be a bit gritty, I find that brownies tend to disguise this fairly well and, I think it’s worth it for the added health benefits of these superfoods – you can feel healthy and virtuous while eating a brownie!
A simple swap to make is to swap out your cocoa for cacao – the superfood version of cocoa! This is a simple change that you probably won’t even notice – if anything food tastes better with cacao, it’s a deep, rich, true chocolatey flavor.
Another addition you can make to make your brownies healthy is to add some cinnamon to your mixture. Cinnamon has well reported effects of regulating blood sugar levels and it’s even been listed as one of the foods you should eat more of to help you lose weight, but it also tastes great when combined with chocolate, so it’s a win-win to add it to your brownie mix.
Whatever changes you decide to make to your brownie recipe, big or small, it’s good to know that you’re taking some steps in the right direction for better health. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the different ingredients and find the combinations that you and your family like best.
So, go ahead, grab your go-to homemade brownies recipe today and implement a few (or all) of these changes and, voila, your brownies are now healthier!