If you’re thinking of baking something healthy, chocolate brownies probably won’t be the first thing that comes to mind. Or the second, or third, or fourth… But if nothing but the chocolateyist of treats will do, then really it has to be brownies – so if it’s possible to find a way of making them slightly less guilt-ridden then I’m all for it.
Angela Nilsen has done a great series of ‘Ultimate Makeover’ recipes, taking similarly calorie laden delights and trying to make them a little bit healthier.
Her ‘ultimate’ chocolate brownies recipe, taken from the BBC Good Food site, uses some cocoa powder rather than all chocolate, and her secret ingredient is mayonnaise. I’ve heard of it being used in cooking before so when I read the ingredient list I wasn’t totally disgusted, but still… I was dubious.
I followed the recipe to the letter… apart from swapping muscovado sugar for plain light brown sugar, and making my own buttermilk by combining milk and lemon juice. You’ll come to see that it’s very rare I stick to a recipe exactly, which often backfires but in this case didn’t seem to make much of a difference.
The brownies turned out dark and sguidgy, although not with the crusty top I usually like to have. I’m also a fan of brownies with added chocolate chunks, but I suppose that would be asking too much from a ‘healthy’ version. They’re supposedly just 191 calories each…
The testers at work were impressed, apparently you’d never be able to guess they were low fat, and I’ve had requests to make them again, so all in all I’d say they were a success.
- 85g dark chocolate , chopped into small pieces
- 85g plain flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 50g light muscovado sugar
- ½ tsp coffee granules
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 100g mayonnaise (I used low fat supermarket brand)
- Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Pour enough water into a small pan to one-third fill it. Bring to the boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Put the chopped chocolate into a large bowl that will fit snugly over the pan without touching the water. Sit the pan over the water (still off the heat) and leave the chocolate to melt slowly for a few mins, stirring occasionally until it has melted evenly. Remove the bowl from the pan, then let the chocolate cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, lightly oil and base-line a 19cm square cake tin that is 5cm deep. Combine the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda. Using a wooden spoon, stir both the sugars into the cooled chocolate with the coffee, vanilla and buttermilk. Stir in 1 tbsp warm water. Break and beat in the egg, then stir in the mayonnaise just until smooth and glossy. Sift over the flour and cocoa mix, then gently fold in with a spatula without overmixing.
- Pour the mixture into the tin, then gently and evenly spread it into the corners. Bake for 30 mins. When a skewer is inserted into the middle, it should come out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If cooked too long, the mix will dry out; not long enough and it can sink. Leave in the tin until completely cold, then loosen the sides with a round-bladed knife. Turn out onto a board, peel off the lining paper and cut into 12 squares.