Healthy Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

Just like most foodies, I am totally obsessed with the Food Network channel.  Even though the chefs don’t necessarily make any of the food I’m “into” — aka, nutritious food…  they throw around three sticks of butter like it’s no big deal! — I just love each of their personalities and I love watching them cook and talk on camera.

[Side note:  How do they do that?!  If I engage in a conversation while I’m baking I forget what step I’m on and what ingredients I have already put into the mixing bowl.  So, I guess I watch the chefs because I am also jealous of their multitasking abilities  😉 ]

The food each chef makes is inspiration for me to healthify.  Like Ina Garten’s brownies!

A few years ago, I watched an episode of Barefoot Contessa where Ina was making brownies.  She said that “anybody who tries to make brownies without butter should be arrested.”

Well, I think the opposite (sorry, Ina!)

You will get the same fudgy results, same chocolate flavor, and same “oh-my-gosh-this-must-be-going-straight-to-my-hips” reaction from both Ina’s butter-filled brownies and this healthified brownie.  And the good thing about these brownies is that they aren’t heading anywhere near your hips.

Why?  Because these dense, fudgy and chewy cocoa brownies are low in calories!  It’s hard to believe they are free of white sugar, refined flour, eggs and butter.  This recipe is so good that I’ve made it three times in the last two weeks, you need to try it  :)

These are some brownies that you can sink your teeth into.  Fudgy, moist, chocolatey, rich — who needs the butter, sugar and eggs?!

Naughty or Nice Cookbook: The ULTIMATE Healthy Dessert Cookbook – Jessica Stier of Desserts with Benefits


Find the recipe in the Naughty or Nice Cookbook!

With 70 secretly healthy dessert recipes, full-color pages and photos for every recipe, you’ll soon discover what heaven feels like.  See this page for more information on the book, including the Table of Contents, some sneak peaks, and sample images.

Naughty or Nice Cookbook: The ULTIMATE Healthy Dessert Cookbook – Jessica Stier of Desserts with Benefits

Get your copy from Amazon here!

24 comments on “Healthy Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

  1. I just love the idea of “healthy brownies” without the slabs of butter like you said you see those chefs use on cooking shows. these look so yum!

  2. Mmm, these look delicious! Once I have collected all of these sweeteners I am definitely giving these a try :)

  3. These brownies look beautiful. I’m wondering if there’s anything I could use instead of the margarine?

  4. These look amazing! I love when you do vegan treats, I always want to make them ASAP.

  5. Hi! These looks so delicious, I’m drooling! I have two quick questions: 1) Can I use normal coconut shortening or does the butter flavor make a huge difference? 2) No one in my family (including me) can eat coffee; can I omit this? Thank you! :)

    • dessertswithbenefits

      You can use the coconut shortening, I just used the butter flavored one because it tastes more authentic/unhealthy :)
      And you can definitely omit the coffee, it’s just there to enhance the chocolate flavor. If you want, you can add another teaspoon of vanilla extract, since vanilla does the same thing. Enjoy!

  6. These look so yummy!!! I want to make these now!

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  8. These look awesome! Do you think it would work if I used a flax or chia egg instead of the Ener-G replacer?


    • dessertswithbenefits

      Hi Zoey! I haven’t tried the flax egg or chia egg in this recipe yet, but I’m hopeful that they will work. Good luck, I hope you like the brownies :)

  9. I made these and they were amazing! I ate them with vanilla fro-yo. :) I think I like your black bean brownies better, but these are still delicious!

    • dessertswithbenefits

      I’m so glad you liked the recipe(s)… it’s so strange hearing someone prefer black bean brownies over the regular kind! Vanilla fro yo sounds great, I need to try that soon :)

  10. The sweetener came in today, so I decided to give this a try. However, I couldnt find the shortening you used so I substitute it with Smart Balance light buttery spread. I also used regular eggs. The result taste great but somehow the texture isnt good like yours. The brownie is also a little bit dry and hard on the edge.
    I dont know if it because I used different ingredients or my maybe I mix too hard or I baked it too long :(
    Anyway I like your recipe, I’ll give it another try.

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Oh no! I’m sorry your brownies didn’t turn out too well, it could either be the eggs or overbaking. I know my response is a little late, but if you run into this problem again in the future, microwaving a brownie for about 15 seconds should help it soften, and to add some moisture you can try the “bread trick.” As a last resort, you can crumble each brownie and top oatmeal with it, or even add it to smoothies to make a brownie milkshake (I’ve done this before, it’s delicious!)

  11. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you put the nutrition with your recipes, at least some of them. It’d be great if you could put them with the printed version and on all the recipes. 😉

  12. It’s a great recipe but most of the healthier option ingredients, Erythritol etc… are all very expensive to buy and you can’t get most of them in the UK… I was so annoyed when I found out…

  13. To make these gluten free, can not use instant coffee. What would be a good substitute for that? I do understand that coffee enhances the chocolate flavor. I can drink maxwell house, brewed. Would appreciate any suggestions, thank you.

  14. Hey!
    So i’ve a strange question but i think its pretty valid! What exactly is “non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening” that you call for alot in your recipes?
    We dont have “shortenting” in ireland, and the closest thing i can ever find to what it seems to be (i’ve googled the ingredients etc) is a vegetable spread/alternative to dairy spread.
    We stock this in our house, (i know this isnt shortening – its low fat buttery spread), but would you still consider it to be a good option? Its got no trans fats or hydrogenated oils, and it bakes up decently when i have to use it for some recipe.

    Are there any alternatives to shortening, if i cant get it here? (my aunt bought me a few baking books last month and they’re all calling for shortening which i cant get!!!)

    Sorry for the random question, it was just bugging me!!

    • Michelle-
      Spectrum Organics Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening is a solid fat (kind of like butter and margarine) that is made up of all-natural, organic vegetable oils. I would not recommend typical shortening or margarine because they’re made up of hydrogenated oils/trans fats, which are extremely unhealthy and dangerous! It’s good that Ireland doesn’t have it then 😉
      If you want to substitute the Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening, you can use organic butter or coconut oil. Both should work! In this recipe though, you can use a liquid oil too, preferably one that’s neutral in flavor, like grapeseed oil or non-gmo canola oil.
      I hope this helps! :)

  15. Hi Jessica,

    have you tried to create healthy brownies with a crunchy top yet? I am soooo craving them!! I just don’t know how to create the crunch without sugar…Or maybe I could just put a little sugar on top for the crust. I would love it if you could create a REALLY GOOD american brownie recipe!! <3 I don't quite like the texture of the all fudgy ones, especially the black bean brownies… :(

    Thanks and good job btw! :)

    • Julia-
      Do you mean brownies with those crackly tops that shatter and look shiny and oh so delicious? 😉
      Yes I’ve tried it, sadly, it’s never worked for me :(
      It’s supposed to be from the mixture of eggs and sugar, but I’m going to try it without sugar, and hopefully an eggless batch for my vegan readers. However, I tend to like fudgy brownies so if I do come out with a brownie recipe with a crackly top, it’ll probably be fudgy. I know that extra liquid or an extra egg will make it cakier though 😀

  16. Hi Jess, I like your new page.

    I noticed you use liquid stevia alot.
    I have more powdered than anything else. Can you give me an equal ratio to use with your baking recipes? Thanks.

    • Manne-
      I don’t have any baking experience with powdered stevia (I’m still scarred from a bad experience I had years ago with the powdered stevia I got from Trader Joe’s, eghhh). However, according to all the conversion charts I see online, powdered stevia should replace liquid stevia at a 1:1 ratio! Hope you like the brownies 😀

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