Virtuous Chocolate Fudge Brownies

By Karen Burns-Booth •


Karen shares a healthier bake that is lower in calories and fat, something you can enjoy whilst following a healthy New Year diet without too much guilt.


One of the things that many people miss when watching their weight or following a diet is not being able to enjoy a sweet treat, and chocolate usually tops that list of desired but unacceptable snacks. I am lucky as I don’t have a sweet tooth, and it’s cheese and savoury food I crave when on a diet, and of course cheese like sweets and chocolate is high in fat and calories. However, now and then I really crave something baked, such as cake or biscuits, and so I decided to create a healthier bake that is lower in calories and fat, something that I can enjoy whilst following my healthy New Year diet without too much guilt.


Chocolate is not that  bad for you if you enjoy a high cocoa solids style of bar – such as a 75% to 85% chocolate bar – it’s usually the lower cocoa solid bars that have all of the extra sugar added as well as other flavourings that are not ideal. And, when baking, pure unsweetened cocoa is a great ingredient to use, especially in cakes, tray bakes and brownies. I am not a chocoholic by any means, but I do like chocolate cake and squidgy, chocolate fudge brownies as a treat with an afternoon cuppa now and then, so I decided to create a lower-calorie and lower-fat brownie recipe.


The recipe for these Virtuous Chocolate Fudge Brownies uses NO fat and in place of the usual butter or vegetable oil, I have used pureed prunes and beetroot – and trust me, you CANNOT taste them, and they actually add to the “fudgy” texture of these virtuous brownies, as well as adding a richness and moisture that takes the place of high calorie butter or oil. You can pop one of these brownies into the kid’s lunch box knowing that there are a few “hidden” five-a-day ingredients in them, and each brownie square is only 65 calories – which is MUCH healthier than a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar.

 

 
These brownies do have sugar in them, but, with the absence of the fat and by using less sugar than usual, you can cut back on the calories, which makes them suitable for anyone following the 5:2 diet too, or any other low-calorie diet plan. I was very pleased with the results, which rewarded me with very chocolaty tasting brownies with a dense and squidgy centre, as you may be able to see from the photos……in fact I almost preferred them to the usual oil or butter laden ones that are far too rich for me. I hope you enjoy these brownies as much as we did, and if you use soft brown sugar, you will get and an even fudgier brownie, which may appeal more to you and your family.

Virtuous Chocolate Fudge Brownies


(Makes 24 small squares – 65 calories per square)

Ingredients


55g plain flour
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
150g caster sugar, or soft brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
100g pitted cooked prunes, drained and pureed
50g cooked beetroot, not in vinegar, pureed with the prunes
2 free-range eggs

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/375F/Gas 4. Grease and/or line a 20cm square tin or roasting tray.


2. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix them well with a wooden spoon, before mixing with a hand held mixer until well blended – you should have a thick smooth batter. If the mixture is too thick and dry, then add a little skimmed milk, or some of the prune juice.


3. Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is shiny and the centre of the mixture is just firm.


4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before marking into squares, and cutting when the brownies are cold. 


Inspired?  For more baking recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.

What are some of your favourite lower calorie desserts or sweet treats?  Let us know here or on Great British Chefs Facebook page.
 

 

Comments

pjismith@me.com
This looks like a real winner especially with the addition of prunes & beetroot. I have looking for a cake recipe that included beetroot as it sounds such a delicious combination, so cannot wait to try this out. Many thanks for sharing it with us.
8 July 2014
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The Spicy Pear
I never imagined a chocolate brownie could be virtuous until I came across this recipe. My husband loves brownies and if given the chance, could probably finish the entire batch in one sitting. I like that you've replaced the fat with dates and beetroot, and the amount of sugar looks to be considerably less that many other brownies I have tried. I can't wait to try this.
16 January 2014
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Hedgecomer
Delicious Karen, esp as they are dairy free. They are deffo on my to-do list!
Janie x
16 January 2014
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tinnedtoms
Inspired Karen, just inspired. Now pass that plate!
16 January 2014
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EatYourVeg
Using prunes for flavour, sweetness, nutrition and texture in brownies is GENIUS! Pinned on good old Pinterest and logged in the memory banks. I am extremely partial to a choccie brownie, and these look the healthiest I've come across.
15 January 2014
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simply.food
Will definately book mark and try.
15 January 2014
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kermi.hari@gmail.com
These sound scrummy - I'm thinking of also adding a touch of ground ginger mmmm
15 January 2014
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manjirik
Karen these are absolutely fabulous ! I am going to make them right away, time to hunt out the prunes left over from Christmas , I can't stop smiling that I will be able to sneak in beetroot without my hubster finding out ! yay!
15 January 2014
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Avatar
eclecticgal
They look nicely gooey. I like brownies and (sometimes) even bake them!!!
15 January 2014
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Lavender and Lovage
Thanks! I used fairly large Agen prunes, and I forget how many, but about 15 to 20 maybe......It is FINE t o use prunes in UNSWEETENED juice, but they must be drained well! Karen
13 January 2014
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Rock Musicians Wife
Hi, would love to make these but what size tin of prunes did you use to get the correct amount of grams after draining? and does it matter if you use prunes in unsweetened juice or sweetened? Thanks! Leone.
13 January 2014
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Karen Burns-Booth

Karen Burns-Booth is creative freelance food writer & blogger. Her love of seasonal food & recipes stems from her childhood observing her grandmother and mother’s cookery skills. A regular contributor in Country Kitchen magazine, she currently writes for numerous other publications, food, travel and tourism websites and has several recipes in print in compilation cookbooks. She is currently working on a Historical British Cookbook.

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