SNEAKY CHEF BRAWNY BROWNIES
Nutrition Highlights: Whole grains, fruit, and vegetables Rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, potassium, manganese, folate, iron, fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids.
Brainy Brownies, the kids’ version of my signature Sneaky Chef brownies, became a national hit recipe and helped launch the whole concept of sneaking healthy foods into America’s favorite meals. The idea that our favorite recipes could simply be made healthier (emphasis on the word “simply”!) catapulted The Sneaky Chef onto the bestseller list. The notion of “sneaking” transformed into the obvious question: “If it tastes the same, why shouldn’t we make every recipe as healthy as it can be?”
Amazingly, no one – from kids to adults – could detect the hidden spinach, blueberries, oats, wheat germ, or the missing fat and sugar. People wondered openly why they hadn’t thought of the idea before themselves.
Here, in the suped-up men’s version, I’ve increased the amount of hidden spinach and blueberries, reduced the fat even further from the original, and added some more sophisticated flavoring for the adult palette (although none of this has stopped the kids from devouring them!). With dark chocolate as the new health food, men can also savor the fact that these decadent-but-healthy brownies are loaded with antioxidants as well as the ability to lower blood pressure. Add that to the spinach, blueberries, and whole grains, and you’ll see why I call these Brawny Brownies!
Makes about 24
- One-quarter cup walnut, almond, or canola oil
- 3 ounces good quality dark chocolate (not unsweetened), coarsely chopped
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup Purple Puree (see recipe below)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons oat bran
- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup wheat germ
- 1/3 cup white flour
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Optional extra boost: one-half cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter or spray only the bottom, not the sides, of a
13-by- 9-inch baking pan.
Melt the dark chocolate with oil in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water (or in a microwave, checking every 15 seconds). Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool a bit. Meanwhile, in another bowl, stir together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and Purple Puree. Combine this purple egg mixture with the cooled chocolate mixture.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the cinnamon, coffee, cocoa, oat bran, Flour Blend, and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly.
Mix in the chopped walnuts, if using, then pour the entire mixture into the baking pan.
Bake for 25 to 27 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out almost clean) for fudgy brownies, 28 to 30 minutes for cakey brownies. Allow to cool completely in pan before cutting the brownies and use a plastic or butter knife. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Keeps for a week in the refrigerator, covered tightly.
Sneaky Tip: Sorry fellas. British scientists found women’s heart rate rose 20% and their bodies released four times more endorphins when eating dark chocolate than when kissing passionately! At least “65% cacao”
dark chocolate will ensure this success!
Sneaky Chef Purple Puree Recipe
- 3 cups raw baby spinach leaves
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no syrup or sugar added)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons water
Thoroughly wash raw spinach even if the package says “prewashed.” If using frozen blueberries, quickly rinse them under cold water to thaw a little, and then drain.
Fill the bowl of your food processor with the blueberries and raw spinach, along with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water, and puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push top contents to bottom. If necessary, use a second tablespoon of water to make a fairly smooth puree.
This amount of spinach and blueberries makes only about 1 cup of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of the puree. It will store in the refrigerator up to 2 days, or you can freeze one-quarter cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.
About The Sneaky Chef:
The Sneaky Chef is the brainchild of Missy Chase Lapine, whose New York Times bestseller, The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals (Running Press, March 2007) inspired a whole new brand in the healthy eating/lifestyles category. Missy is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine and the founder of a natural baby product line Baby Spa®. She currently teaches at the Culinary Center of New York, has taught at the New School, and is also a collaborator with The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a partnership between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, helping schools serve healthier lunches. Missy serves on the Children’s Advisory Council of Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian where Sneaky Chef recipes are served to patients. Her highly-anticipated second book, The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man in the Kitchen, debuts in April, 2008