Lowering the Calories of a Fantastic Brownie

Brownies are one of the most popular dessert bars and also one of the easiest to make. With the number of people who are watching the amount of calories they consume, it is important to try to adjust some favorite recipes to a lower calorie version. Unfortunately, the problem with lowering the calories is that often it affects not only the flavor but the moistness that is so much a part of what makes a great brownie.

No one is ever going to say that brownies are good for you, they are a luxury and should be eaten with restraint however, with a few tweaks to the recipe, you can enjoy them without too much guilt.

Following is a terrific recipe from Judy Rosenberg’s “€œRosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Book.”  It is the best brownie ever: Thick, chocolaty and rich. With the addition of pecans, it is hard to beat.

Ingredients:

  •     Vegetable oil or butter for greasing the pan
  •     6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  •     2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  •     2 cups sugar
  •     1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •     4 large eggs, at room temperature
  •     1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  •     1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. You can spray an eight-inch square baking dish with no-calorie butter flavored spray which will cut out a few calories.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Remove when melted and let cool for at least five minutes. In the meantime,  place the sugar into a glass bowl. Add the chocolate when cooked and beat together with the butter, vanilla and eggs. Slowly add the flour then fold in the nuts and place in the pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean and cool in the pan on a rack for at least an hour before cutting.

Obviously this is a calorie-packed brownie. One option is to replace the 4 large eggs with one cup of Egg Beaters, which is equal to four large eggs and provides less than half the calories of the original. One cup of Egg Beaters is 120 calories, while four large eggs contain 300 calories. So you’ll save about 180 calories.

The two sticks of butter are also high in calories. Butter can be replaced with apple sauce. In this recipe, replacing all the butter would really change the texture in a way that might not be appealing, but changing one quarter or one half of the butter with applesauce will really bring the calories down. Two sticks of unsalted butter are around 800 for each stick for a total of 1,600 calories.  Applesauce is 50 calories a cup for unsweetened.  

Half a stick of butter equals four tablespoons. The conversion to applesauce is tablespoon for tablespoon, so you can use four tablespoons to replace a half stick, or eight tablespoons to replace one stick. This will decrease the calories significantly.

The two cups of sugar can be replaced by Splenda Sugar Blend either fully or partially. No-calorie sweeteners have come a long way and now can stand up to baking. The blend is a combination of real sugar and Splenda.  Sugar has about 700 calories per cup for a total of 1,400 for the total recipe. This can be cut to 774 with the use of Splenda, since the conversion is one half cup Splenda blend to one cup of sugar.

If you replace the eggs, use applesauce in place of some of the butter and use Splenda Blend you can save a significant number of calories in the batch. And if you’re like most people, you will most likely make the standard recipe, thoroughly enjoy half a brownie and freeze the remainder to enjoy later.

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