Picture the scene…
Rain is hammering at the window. The fire is ablaze and you are snug on the sofa with fluffy throws and soft cushions. You are enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with a chocolate brownie, oozing with chocolate, decadence and calories…?
Image result for chocolate brownie
Have you noticed that all the things we love to eat are either stacked high in calories, fat and/or sugar? It can make dieting and cutting down on calories much harder.
We often assume that to eat healthily, we need to cut out every pinch of sugar, salt and ingredients such as chocolate but, it is possible to have a chocolate brownie that is not so laden in sugar or high in fat.
Healthy eating courses can show you how to adapt recipes, making it easier to make healthier choices.
The chocolate brownie – hints and tips for making it a healthier option
Our recipe includes;
- 200g of dark chocolate
- 100g unsalted butter
- Tablespoon of honey
- 25g sweetener and/or unrefined dark sugar
- 4 large, free range eggs
- 60g plain flour
- 60g dark cocoa powder
Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food, the sugary snack we turn to when we feel we need a quick pick-me-up.
A chocolate brownie should contain a high-quality chocolate, and with scientific research suggesting that dark chocolate is the best chocolate to opt for, it seemed only right to include it in our recipe.
Mineral rich, in a Finnish study dark chocolate was found to reduce the likelihood of stroke. In other research, dark chocolate helped with circulation, reduce cholesterol and was good for skin.
However, the findings were also clear that the better quality the dark chocolate the better, and like everything, moderation of consumption was also key.
Quality dark chocolate has more cocoa solids in it. The higher the percentage stated on the packaging, the more bitter/less sweet it will taste. Bear this in mind, because if you find the brownie doesn’t taste ‘sweet enough’, you may be tempted to add more sugar the next time you make it.
You may recoil from butter, assuming it’s high concentration of saturated fat makes it a no-no. However, nutrition experts believe that in moderation – there’s that phrase again – butter should not be off the menu. As it is a high-quality product, with no salt added, the butter in our recipe provides a lot of flavour, meaning that you use less of it.
If 100g seems too much, cut it down to 75g – but be prepared that the brownie may be crumblier in texture.
Sweetener, sugar and honey
Even if you don’t think you have a sweet tooth, you will miss the sugar when it isn’t in something. Swapping refined, granulated or caster sugar for a mix of sweeteners will make a difference.
Natural sweeteners such as honey have additional beneficial properties. Manuka honey from the Manuka honey bee in New Zealand have anti-bacterial properties, as well as being deliciously sweet.
Unrefined sugar, such as brown sugar can also sweeten a chocolate brownie without adding a sickly-sweet taste and artificial alternatives can also add the zing of sweetness you need. Create your own perfect combination of these three ingredients.
If you have high cholesterol, limiting your weekly egg intake is important thus 4 eggs may sound a little over the top.
Eggs are lightly whipped before being added to cake or brownie mixtures, as it is the air in the whipped eggs that add height and lightness to the mixture.
You could have the eggs in the mixture by separating two eggs and whipping the egg whites to a light froth. Use the egg yolks to bind the rest of the ingredients. Add the egg whites to the mixture and using a metal spoon, with figure of eight movements, combine the whites and mixture together, taking care not to knock the air out.
Don’t over whip the eggs, as this will make the mixture rise too much. Lightly whipped egg whites help to lift the mixture and providing it is not over-baked, contribute to the lovely gooey texture.
Make your brownies
With healthy eating courses you will learn all about substituting ingredients with others, making additions that expand on the taste of a dish or your favourite baking recipes. And chocolate brownies are no different.
All you need to do now is mix all the ingredients together, making sure they are well-combined. Spoon it into a 15cm square, or use a greased and lined baking tin. Bake for around 20 minutes.
Don’t over-bake and allow creation to cool a little before slicing into 24 pieces of delicious, not-overly-sweet chocolate brownie. Dust lightly with icing sugar and enjoy.