The words “brownies” and “diet” do not seem fitted for the same sentence. That’s what intrigued me when I saw a recipe for Brownies in the Reader’s Digest Diet Book which came out this year. Yes, I sent for a copy after seeing the hype for several months. The diet starts with four days of protein shakes and soups. Both items I love, but four days of soup for dinner when it was nearly 100 degrees each day seemed like a sacrifice of common sense. But we did it. So on the fifth day, I rewarded our diligence by making their brownies. Or my intention was that they should be a reward.
I love brownies. When I got married – centuries ago – I had one cookbook and a dozen brownie recipes. But if you are holding your breath thinking that the Digest Diet brownies were the answer to a diet dessert, I’m afraid you should exhale. They were dry and had a strange flavor.
The only way Ken would eat them was smothered in ice cream and chocolate sauce. Sort of defeats the idea of a “diet.” After nearly a week, the pan sat mostly untouched and I chucked the rest of them into the garbage. Unprecedented for me to pitch brownies, but that’s what happened.
However, I’m still going to give you their recipe because I know we can improve on it and come up with a tastier option. It did have several things going for it: cocoa powder and honey for a start. But then it drifted into the “egg white” territory with flaxseed meal and you can see why they were dry and crumbly.
But before I move on, check out the link to the
Yummy Lowfat Brownies from Dr. Oz’s TV guest which were a treat: http://www.nanaclareskitchen.com/2012/06/18/yummy-lowfat-brownies/
If you are gluten for punishment, here’s the Dr. Oz Butt Blasting Brownie that I thought was bitter, but better when baked: http://www.nanaclareskitchen.com/2012/03/24/dr-ozs-butt-blasting-brownie-experiment/
OK, here we go. These are the ingredients exactly as written from the Digest Diet.
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup flaxseed meal
2 TBS turbinado sugar (this is “sugar in the raw” with big crystals)
1 tsp espresso powder
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fine sea salt
¾ cup honey
½ cup expeller-pressed nut oil, such as almond, or use extra light olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
2 TBS water
Directions for Digest Diet Brownies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly oil an 8 or 9 inch square pan.
In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients.
Add the honey, oil, vanilla, egg whites and water and stir just until combined.
Scrape batter into baking pan.
Bake 15 – 18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
This should make 16 brownies which are 153 calories each.
First of all, I think whole wheat pastry flour is a better option than white whole wheat. It’s ground finer for pastry and wouldn’t have made these so crumbly.
Second – I think if they had used the entire eggs, instead of just the whites it would have been fudgier and less crumbly. Sure you’d add a bit more fat, but they have to be edible.
I think Coconut oil would be a better option than light olive oil. Even light olive oil has a taste that rarely works in baking, in my opinion.
Turbinado sugar is usually best sprinkled on top of muffins or cookies for effect. A finer sugar would have integrated better.
Finally, my brownies took 25 minutes to have the toothpick come out clean. I checked them at 15 and 18 and they were barely cooked.
So there you have it. Play with the recipe if you like – or not. I’d love to know if anyone else has different results.
The Digest calls these “Fudgy Mocha Brownies” but clearly they have never tried a true fudgy brownie.