I’ve since lost that magic recipe and adopted a new one. These brownies are fudgy and rich and chocolate-y, but I’ve never been able to get over the fact that it uses so much butter, eggs, and sugar—no wonder it tastes so good. Every time I make those brownies, I can visualize my arteries clogging up and my teeth rotting away.
Then, one day, my uncle brought brownies when he came to visit. The brownies were moist and pretty good overall, but I noticed that they lacked richness and depth. Also, there was just something that tasted a little bit off about them... When he emailed me the recipe a couple days later, I read the ingredient list and realized that the reason these brownies tasted peculiar was because they were made with apple sauce. The brownies were okay, not the best, but not good enough to inspire me to make them.
I set out a new quest, to make healthy (or at least healthier) brownies that still tasted great. The journey led me to my best friend Jenny’s book shelf, which was lined with various recipe binders and cookbooks. From her collection, I tried a low-fat brownies recipe, which used oil and yogurt instead of butter. The brownies tasted pretty good, but when I tried to replace the white flour with whole-wheat (again in a futile attempt to make healthier brownies), the brownies turned bitter.
I gave up. It seemed that nothing else could measure up to the real, high-far, high sugar brownie. I stopped baking brownies for a while and focused on cookies and pies instead. Then, something happened that would change the way I bake. The school board passed food and beverage policy requiring healthier baked goods to be sold at bake sales. All baked goods had to have 5 grams of fat or less and 2 grams of fibre or more, effective immediately.
At first, I groaned and grumbled with the rest of them. How would we ever fundraise if we couldn't sell baked goods? Cup noodles only went so far—bake sales are the money makers. I worried about how the baking/cooking club would fundraise; I had planned to hold a bake sale the next week. But then I talked to the staff advisor of the Food For Life club, which I am also a part of. (Food For Life is the name of a club at our school which fundraises through bake sales and donated the money to various charities.) I’ve heard many great things about her from my former culinary arts teacher and seen pictures of the gorgeous cupcakes that she had decorated so I couldn't help but regard her with the slightest bit of baker awe. We talked about healthy baking and how many muffins and coffee cakes and bars could be made with apple sauce or low-fat yogurt and mashed bananas and the like.
That conversation really inspired me to make more healthy baked goods. I decided to begin testing recipes right away. The first recipe, of course, had to be these Healthy Double Chocolate Brownies. I found the recipe from the Bake It Up recipe collection, which was purposely designed to comply with the new bake sale policy. After multiple trials and some minor tweaking in ingredients and technique, I developed a brownie recipe I could be proud of.
These brownies are moist and rich and taste pretty darn good, considering how healthy they are. There’s a secret ingredient in these brownies that make them so healthy, but you won’t be able to tell, and neither will a bunch of unassuming high school students.
Click below for the recipe.