Nothing Says L-O-V-E Like Chocolate

one-bowl brownies
One-bowl Brownies

Healthier for your heart and made with love!

Nothing says L-O-V-E like chocolate–especially gooey chocolate brownies.  In the amount of time it would take to drive to the store and buy a box of mix, you can whip up these healthier brownies.  The added bonus?  They don’t have as much fat as regular brownies and no one will ever know (they won’t know you’ve hidden whole-wheat flour in them, either). Try these one-bowl brownies today!

How do I know the ones you love will love this healthier version of brownies? My family raves about them, and I’m not just talking about my husband our two daughters, either. As a teacher at boarding schools for the last 14 years, I’ve had the privilege of having an extra ‘family’ each school year–students we ‘adopt’ for the school year so they can escape the dorm occasionally and have a home-cooked meal.  Over the years, the most requested dessert at our weekly or monthly faculty family dinners has been what the kids affectionately call ‘goo’–aka cinnamon pecan brownies.one-bowl brownies

Cinnamon Pecan Brownies

Pre-heat oven to 350˚
Makes 16 brownies

2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips (1 bag)
2 Tbs  butter
2 Tbs unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

1. Heat the oven to 350˚. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with aluminum foil (and spray the foil with non-stick spray).
2. Chop the nuts and set them aside.
3. Put the butter and applesauce in the bottom of a microwave-safe bowl, and pour 1 cup of chocolate chips on top of them. Microwave on high for one minute. Stir until smooth and then add the brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Next, add the eggs and stir until incorporated. Stir in the salt, cinnamon and flour until smooth. Fold in the pecans and the vanilla. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
4. Bake brownies at 350˚ for 23-25 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean).
5. Remove brownies from the oven and spread the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips over the brownies and return to the oven for two minutes. If your family likes spicy, you can also sprinkle a dash of cayenne over the chocolate chips at this point :).
6. Remove from the oven and spread the melted chips until smooth, to form a frosting.
7. Refrigerate for 20 minutes (or, eat them hot and gooey with vanilla ice cream) to firm the chocolate, then cut into squares. Store at room temperature.

What about you?  Do you have any ‘tricks’ for hiding healthier ingredients in the things you bake?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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