Friday, January 15

Healthy Brownies: Not a Joke

24 brownies
Total cost: NY $9.34
Cost per brownie: NY $0.39




Well, mostly.

Healthy Brownies
This recipe comes from Dave Lieberman and Anahad O’Connor’s new book, 10 Things You Need to Eat.* We were intrigued by the “Chocolate Avocado Brownie” recipe, and wanted to give it a shot. Which we have now done, twice, the first as written and the second with some tweaks for pricing and taste. The recipe for our tweaked version appears below. The resulting product is chocolate-y and palatable and doesn’t taste at all of avocados, but it’s not really what I think of when I think Brownie. It’s more what I think of when I think Lightly Sweet Chewy Chocolate Bread. (What, I do that frequently, don't you?) Stirring in some chocolate chips might make these more brownie-esque, although of course that takes away from the “healthy”.

Healthy Brownies
I think these are worth making if you’re interested in a sweet chocolate snack, but I wouldn’t serve them as dessert. Not to ratchet your expectations too far downwards: make no mistake, we ate all of these and enjoyed them! Just know that what you’re biting into is going to be more like a chocolate Luna or granola bar type thing than it is a decadent chocolate dessert. If you try these—and I know you can’t wait after a build up like that—please let us know what you think, and if you come up with any adaptations of your own!

Healthy BrowniesIngredients
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour (NY $0.13)
  • ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa (NY $0.51)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (staple)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (NY $1.17)
  • ½ cup walnuts (NY $0.99)
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (NY $2.99)
  • ½ canola oil (NY $0.42)
  • 1 large ripe Hass avocado (NY $1.50)
  • 6 eggs (NY $0.93)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (NY $0.28)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (NY $0.42)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with parchment and grease.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt in a mixing bowl.

Healthy Brownies
In your food processor, grind nuts until roughly chopped. Careful, this will go quick. Be sure not to overdo it, you want your nuts to be hunks in the finished brownies, not turn into nut meal. Stir chopped nuts into flour mixture.

Add the chocolate to the food processor in pieces, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Stir into flour nut mixture.

Healthy Brownies
Wipe out the food processor bowl, then add the oil, avocado, eggs and sugar and process until smooth. Scrape down the sides to make sure that all the avocado hunks are whipped smooth. Now you've got yourself some unappetizing greenish goop. Don't worry, I promise this is going to turn out OK. And if you don't trust me, trust Dave Lieberman.

So, take the leap of faith and, using a spatula, transfer your greenish goop into the chocolate flour mixture. Gently fold together until combined.

Healthy Brownies
Pour the batter (doesn't look green any more, now does it?) into the baking dish. Bake for approx. 30-35 minutes, until the center is just set. Let cool before slicing. Take a bite, and tell us what you think!

Adapted from 10 Things You Need to Eat

Healthy Brownies
* Full disclosure: we got a review copy of this book free when the LBUH attended a promotional event for Dave Lieberman. In the viewpoint of the FTC when we, as amateur bloggers, get something for free, our independent judgment and any ethics we might possess go flying right out the window, we dance around our kitchen maniacally cheering “Free! Free! Free! Let us go shill for it unreservedly and in direct violation of our own honest feelings about the item in question!” and rush off to the computer to tell you to go out and buy it immediately because it will complete your life, make you taller, thinner, grow your hair back and imbue you with the ability to fly. Unless, of course, we are forced to tell you the readers about it, in which case you, the readers, are to think “Aha! They were given this item to review for FREE! Accordingly, this item cannot possibly possess all of these positive attributes extolled by these blatantly biased and uncritical bloggers! In fact, it will probably make me less fulfilled, shorter, fatter, and balder, though I suspect it will still give me the ability to fly!”

In short, the new FTC blog guidelines don’t really give bloggers or their readers much credit at all and, although I understand their goals and am aware of the bad sites out there they are trying to curtail, I find them both somewhat offensive and also vague enough that they don’t give much actual guidance. Or, for other, sharper, smarter words, see: Janet Reid’s FTC Compliance Notice. When you read reviews of this same cookbook in a magazine, you can be sure the reviewer didn’t run off and buy a copy, but the FTC doesn’t think that they need to tell you about it. Yet because I am not Gwyneth Paltrow, more's the pity, I apparently do.

Additionally, please see the note about our Amazon store that we have added to our "About REC(ession)IPES" section.

Healthy Brownies
Nutritional Info
Amount Per Serving

Calories 183.5Vitamin A 1.8 %Iron 7.1 %
Total Fat 11.2 gVitamin B-12 2.1 %Magnesium 7.3 %
Cholesterol 53.1 mgVitamin B-6 2.8 %Manganese 15.4 %
Sodium 68.9 mgVitamin C 1.1 %Niacin 2.5 %
Potassium 149.7 mgVitamin D 1.6 %Phosphorus 6.9 %
Total Carbohydrate 19.8 gVitamin E 11.2 %Riboflavin 6.9 %
Fiber 2.2 gCalcium 2.8 %Selenium 8.9 %
Sugars 5.7 gCopper 8.1 %Thiamin 2.4 %
Protein 3.6 gFolate 3.8 %Zinc 3.5 %


  1. Definitely sounds interesting to say the least, I may have to give it a go!

  2. That's a great surprise on the avocado, who would have thought about adding avocados to brownies. I'm going to have to try this recipe.

  3. I love brownies, this just makes me want to take out some milk and brownies aah don't have any sucks, but it would be such a great treat in this late hour.

  4. oo yum... I love making brownies healthy AND you made them cheap perfect!

  5. Avocados can be found in so many dishes that make you scratch your head, but then the end result works really well. These look delicious.

  6. I have got to get some whole wheat pastry flour. It really seems to make the difference in the texture of baked goods when you're using a whole wheat flour. I'm very interested in trying these. They look delicious!

  7. Thanks everybody!

    @Mother Rimmy: If you've never tried whole wheat pastry flour, you definitely should! It makes a world of difference in sweet baked goods.

    @Woman with a Whisk: Heh heh heh.

  8. Yum -- I was just looking at how to play around with baked goods, sneaking in more healthy ingredients, and I like the idea of using avocados for the fat component in brownies. It's such a rich ingredient, why not? I may have to give this a whirl and add in some protein powder.

  9. Brownies or a snack bars sort of like brownies would be a hit in my house. I'll have to try it on my kids. I'll just need to replace the flour but that should not be a problem. Love your disclaimer--free things are definitely worth doing a happy dance for. :-)

  10. There are many Indonesian restaurants in Queens that serve a chocolate avocado shake that seems so bizarre but its so good! I love that those flavors were incorporated here!

  11. Seriously????? Well,why not. I love chocolate zucchini cake. I imagine avocado also a wonderful filler. (Seriously, they look scrumptious.)

  12. I recently read that heat and avocado resulted in a bitter flavor? This is an interesting and curious recipe. Thanks

  13. I have used avocado for a fat substitute for a while--now I feel less original LOL

  14. so i made these brownies two nights ago... they TERRIFIED my husband, but i made him an avocado enthusiast 5 years ago, so i was able to get him to look past the green goo... and yes it is very green and very gooey. sort of looked like someone put Slimer on frappe. but... they are AWESOME. i used a semi-sweet bakers bar from ghiradelli instead of the bittersweet because it actually has fewer calories. sweet and satisfying. thanks for the recipe and tips!!!!

  15. Great recipe...I will definitely try these. Thanks!

  16. Wow! Those brownies look sooo good. I can't wait to make them.

  17. I made these low carb by using Splenda and soy flour. Also, I use 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks to make the moister/denser and brownie-like. Finally, I just tried adding about 1/4 cup Smucker's Sugar Free Caramel Ice Cream Topping -- not all-natural, but it makes the texture even moister! This is version is great for low carbers/diabetics and gluten free folks. Check it out here...

    1. Just a concern to Twister. When you incorporate any products that use Spenda, it is no longer diabetic friendly. Splenda's as hgih a glycemic index as regular sugar. So insoline management becomes a problem. Try a mono-sacaride like saccarine (Sweet n Low), or stevia instead.


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