One of the most memorable brownies I ever had was one that I enjoyed at Borough Market in London. But it’s one of those “special occasion” brownies since it’s super rich. With the Recipe Redux theme this moth of “Trimming the Table,” where a healthy holiday dessert was the request, I decided that I’d start with that special brownie recipe, then keep tweaking it until I created a “healthy” brownie that’s perfect for the holidays. I did it!
The result still has just-right richness and fudginess from butter, eggs, and dark chocolate. But this version uses whole-wheat pastry flour, coconut sugar and … wait for it … carrots! I figured that folks like carrot cake, so why not go for a carrot-infused brownie! Yep, I just couldn’t help myself by sneaking a veggie in here for that “healthy” factor. I used organic rainbow baby carrots; but please go ahead and use whatever carrots you have. Or if you’re in an experimental mood, try other veggies. (Hint: Grated zucchini works great! Just squeeze it of excess liquid before using in the recipe.) Then for that distinctive holiday flair and hint of mint, the candy cane topping is a must.
Hope you and your family and friends enjoy them! Happy holidays!
Calories Saved: 380
Why it’s better for you? Carrots (and beta-carotene) in every bite!
- 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- 1 1/4 cups coconut sugar or turbinado sugar
- 12 ounces high-quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 55% to 60 cacao)
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 2 cups grated carrots (10 ounces)
- 1/3 cup coarsely crushed peppermint candy canes, preferably organic (2 1/2 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8- x 12-inch baking dish (or 9- x 13-inch baking pan) with unbleached parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and extracts until well combined. Add the sugar and whisk until well combined. Set aside. (Note: If you're a peppermint lover, go ahead and add an extra 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract!)
- In a double boiler (or bowl placed over saucepan of simmering water), heat the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until fully melted and smooth. Stir in the carrots.
- Stir the chocolate-carrot mixture into the egg mixture. Sprinkle with the flour mixture and gently stir until well combined.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with the crushed candy canes, and bake until springy, about 45 minutes. Cool completely in the baking dish on a rack, then chill in the refrigerator.
- Cut into 24 brownies and serve. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or the freezer for up to 1 month.
Per serving: 190 calories, 10g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 55mg cholesterol., 95mg sodium, 26g total carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 21g sugars, 3g protein
The “Before” Version
Inspired by London’s Borough Market Chocolate Brownies
Per serving: 570 calories, 46g total fat, 28g saturated fat, 195mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 46g total carbohydrate, 8g dietary fiber, 26g sugars, 11g protein
- Lots of shredded carrots used in place of a little butter add flavor, moistness, healthfulness, and a tiny bit of extra texture intrigue.
- An easy swap is to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular “white” flour; it slightly boosts fiber while adding a hint of nutty flavor
- When all else fails, you can always make brownie size smaller to keep calories in check!
- Don’t forget holiday flair at holiday time, like pure peppermint extract and fun candy canes. Plan ahead for the added sugar within your healthful eating plan … it’s worth it!