Monday, July 22, 2019

Chocolate Protein Brownies

These Chocolate Protein Brownies are decadent and moist with only 97 calories a piece! The secret? Whey powder and adzuki beans for protein, fibre and a fudgy texture.

When I was on Weight Watchers in my teens, chocolate was one of my biggest cravings. Since I was a "very busy" highschooler at the time, I got to indulge my craving with low fat brownies from a mix. They were good, I have to say - chewy and fudgy, with a crinkled top like "normal" brownies.It's been years since those brownies were in my fridge, but since I have a few friends on the weight loss journey (and doing darn well!) who are also chocoholics, I thought it might be worth a shot to try my hand at a healthy, yet still decadent option.

Bean brownies are nothing new, but they have longevity for good reason! Instead of chickpeas (like the recipe I used as my jumping-off point) or black beans (like this equally good recipe), I turned my attention to a bean that is more traditionally used in Japanese desserts - adzuki. These small, dark red beans have an awesome sweet starchiness about them, which worked incredibly well mixed with the bitter cocoa and coffee. To up the protein a bit more, I used a generous helping of chocolate flavoured Optimum Nutrition Protein Energy, a protein powder I keep on hand for baking and adding to oatmeal (I still prefer Nuzest for drinking straight). Without eggs (or sugar), getting the coveted crackly top would be tough. However, a sprinkling of fine sugar over the batter worked wonders! Once the bars were sliced, it was clear that they embodied the rich fudginess I remembered from my youth. They also freeze exceptionally well, and wrapped individually make exceptional lunchbox treats for camp, school or work! By the way, if you are making these for kids, use hot chocolate or even milk for the coffee and use a plain protein powder to minimize the caffeine.

Chocolate Protein Brownies
Makes 16 bite sized or 12 "normal" brownies
Original concept from The Roasted Root 
2 cups cooked adzuki beans (or black beans)
2-3 tbsp hot coffee
1/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup Optimum Nutrition Protein Energy Chocolate (or your favourite chocolate protein powder)
1/2 cup Truvia Baking Blend (or 3/4 cup sugar)
2 tbsp Homemade Egg Replacer (or Ener-G)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp fine sugar, for topping (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 350 F and line a 9" x 9" pan with parchment (or grease well!).
  2. Combine the beans, coffee, cocoa, protein powder and Truvia in a blender or food processor.
  3. Blend until completely smooth (you do not want bean bits in your brownies!) 
  4. Add the egg replacer and baking powder and blend in completely.
  5. Pour / scrape the batter into the pan and sprinkle with sugar (optional but makes a nice crust)
  6. Bake for 26 - 28 minutes, until they just slightly pull away from the sides of the pan but are still slightly soft in the middle.
  7. Immediately place the pan on a sheet tray in the freezer or into a bowl of ice for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove and finish cooling completely on a rack before cutting.

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