Dish Makeover: Fudge Brownies

Deep, dark chocolate brownies manage to be homey and sophisticated at the same time, just right with either a cold glass of milk or a hot shot of espresso. No wonder both kids and adults adore them. But their gooey goodness comes at a cost. Chocolate does boast some health perks, but if you want fabulous fudginess, there's no getting around some serious calories and fat. Or is there? Turns out that with a few changes, you can bake a pan of healthier Fudge Brownies worthy of your -- and your kids' -- affections.

Sneak In Some Spuds
You can reduce the fat and sugar in a recipe, but you'll just wind up with less batter. To fix this problem without piling on calories, many "healthy" brownie recipes call for applesauce. But the results can taste a little ... fruity. A better solution: Pureed sweet potatoes give brownies moisture, sweetness, and a fudgy consistency, as well as fiber and beta-carotene. Their mild flavor keeps the chocolate center stage.

Drop Some Fat
Butter and eggs bring a luxurious quality to brownies, but saturated fat and cholesterol come along as part of the deal. Cutting both amounts in half reduces these numbers while preserving the rich flavor and texture of the bars.

Use Flour with Power
The hearty nature of whole-wheat flour makes it a perfect choice for dense, bold-flavored fudge brownies, and its nutritional profile benefits your health. Whole-wheat flour offers an impressive lineup of heart-healthy potassium and B vitamins. Plus, it bumps up the fiber.

Choose the Right Chocolate
Natural, unsweetened cocoa powder packs far more antioxidant power than other forms of chocolate-more, in fact, than most other foods. Skip the Dutched cocoa as well; treated with alkali for a mellower flavor and darker color, it contains only 10 to 40 percent of the antioxidant capacity of natural cocoa.

Before and After
Calories: 227 down to 148
Fat: 13 g down to 5 g
Saturated fat: 7 g down to 3 g
Cholesterol: 56 g down to 28 g
Fiber: 1 g up to 2 g

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