Better-for-You Brownies Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Better-for-You Brownies

Although a brownie is rarely a nutrient-dense snack, it doesn't have to be completely decadent. This recipe contains dramatically less fat than usual, yet the results are rich and chocolaty. The secret is to replace the butter and cocoa butter with cocoa and chopped dates, which have a remarkable flavor affinity with chocolate. Sprinkling sugar over the batter before baking creates an appealing crusty top that's typical of far richer brownies.



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½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
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½ cup pitted chopped dates
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1 tsp. instant coffee granules
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½ cup boiling water
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⅓ cup walnut halves
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⅔ cup all-purpose flour
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½ tsp. baking powder
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¼ tsp. salt
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1 large egg
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1 large egg white
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1 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar
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2 Tbs. vegetable oil
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1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In medium bowl, combine cocoa, dates and coffee. Add boiling water and stir until cocoa has dissolved. Let stand until completely cool, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, spread walnuts in shallow baking pan and bake until lightly toasted and fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside to cool. Keep oven on.
  4. In food processor, combine flour, baking powder, salt and toasted walnuts; process until walnuts are ground. Transfer mixture to large bowl and set aside.
  5. With rubber spatula, scrape cooled cocoa mixture into food processor. Add egg, egg white, 1 cup sugar, oil and vanilla and process until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down sides of work bowl. Add to reserved flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until brownies are firm around edges and just set in center, 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool completely. To serve, coat sharp knife with cooking spray and cut into 16 squares.

Nutrition Information: 

2 g
Total Fat: 
4 g
Saturated Fat: 
23 g
13 mg
42 mg
2 g
Makes 16

Comments on this Recipe

Sooo good!!!

Can anyone suggest an alternative to coffee...not a big fan, actually not a fan at all of coffee. Would love to try these!

Anne, you can just omit the coffee granules. They are really only there to enhance the chocolate flavor.

Try leaving out the coffee.

These are great. I used instant espresso grounds because they were the smallest/cheapest container I could find in instant coffee. No actual coffee taste to the brownies, so don't worry if you're not a coffee fan. Good texture and flavor. Will make again.