Kids love brownies. And I have the perfect recipe that kids and their families can make from scratch.
It’s easy to bake with chocolate when you use cocoa! Choose unsweetened natural-process cocoa powder. Natural cocoa gives you complexity and lots of fruity notes.
Dutch-process cocoa produces a darker brownie, with a chocolate-pudding taste. But the extra processing it undergoes turns some people off.
I’ve tested this recipe with my baker-in-training, Isla, and the sugary brownies got a thumbs up. They were moist and chocolatey in the centre and crumbly crunchy on the surface.
That crumbly crunch comes from the granulated sugar. I should have remembered that when I tried to reduce the sugar.
I was getting too cocky. I had good luck replacing the flour with quinoa flakes from the health-food store for a gluten-free version. Quinoa grains don’t work as a flour substitute. But the flakes blend into the batter smoothly and add no taste of their own, so the brownies taste like they do with flour.
I also had good luck reducing the amount of sugar and adding a little of the natural no-calorie sweetener stevia.
So when a friend with diabetes ended up in the hospital, I decided to make her some sugar-free brownies… using stevia, and nothing but stevia.
The melted mixture of butter, cocoa, salt and stevia looked exactly the same as when I used sugar. But then I added the egg.
The chocolate clumped into a sticky ball in the middle of the bowl. And the fat came out of the mixture and sunk to the bottom. Help!
I checked my chocolate gurus. They said to add oil and blend. But I had used lots of oil. It had all puddled out… and wouldn’t go back in!
So I did what any creative baker would do in this situation. I made a bunch of little round chocolate balls. I baked them for the same amount of time as the sugar brownies.
When they were cool, I ventured a tiny bite. Not bad. I took a second nibble. BlechhhK!
Isla came for a visit and spotted them on the counter. “Try one?” I invited, thinking they might be better cold. “Yes!” she said taking a large bite.
The first few seconds everything was normal for a girl digging into chocolate goodies. Smiling. Happy. Then: “BleccccK!”
They were just plain bitter… stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth-can’t-get-rid-of-the-taste awful.
So I put them in the yard for our large population of greedy squirrels.
And the ugly…
The next morning I peeked out and caught one of the little black furry animals enjoying his chocolate treat. But a few seconds after this photo, he went: BlehhcccK! And tossed the morsel off our deck.
So make sure you follow the recipe as I’ve given it to you, below. Use the full 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar… or the slightly modified version with 3/4 cup sugar supplemented with a little stevia. People with diabetes simply can’t have these brownies…
To keep the sugar spikes under some control, eat these sugary treats only once in a while, and drink milk with them. The protein helps regulate blood sugar :).
Sugary cocoa brownies
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1/3 cup coconut oil or 1/2 cup butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar (or 3/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup stevia sugar)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup quinoa flakes or whole-grain flour
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8x8x2″ glass baking dish with foil, pressing firmly into pan and leaving a 2″ overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray; set baking dish aside.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let cool slightly. Whisk sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Pour butter in a steady stream into dry ingredients, whisking constantly to blend. Whisk in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. Add flour and stir until just combined (do not overmix). Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
- Bake until top begins to crack and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes.
- Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool completely in pan. Using foil overhang, lift brownie out of pan; transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.
For each small square made with 3/4 cup sugar plus stevia: Calories 136.4, Fat (g) 9.4, Carbohydrate (g) 14 (including 2 g fiber and 10 g sugar), Protein (g) 2, Sodium (mg) 109, Potassium (mg) 88, Vitamin A (RAE) 44.2, Calcium (mg) 10.9.
- A cake cup for Krista Learn about the healthful qualities of chocolate, and the special goodness of cocoa. Try another easy recipe featuring the healthiest of all chocolate, cocoa!