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Help tweaking a lowfat brownie recipe

The recipe I have calls for applesauce to replace some of the fat but I'm finding the apple flavour comes through a little too well. Any ideas for something I could use that approximates but is more subtle in flavour?

Thanks in advance! :)

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  1. have you tried the cook's illustrated lighter brownie recipe? there is no applesauce involved. there is also a recipe on epicurious using prunes I think.

    1. I would try mixing cocoa powder in the applesauce.

      1. I think canned pumpkin is a much better substitute than applesauce in chocolate recipes.

        1. pumpkin is a terrific fat substitute, but it can also have a pretty strong flavor. try using half applesauce, half pumpkin...and if you can get your hands on it, add a half teaspoon of espresso powder. it enhances the chocolate flavor without imparting a distinct coffee flavor.

          2 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Hey, great idea. I'm using both the pumpkin and espresso powder ideas. I'll report back (it'll be a while, but I will!) Is there a recipe online or that you can post that uses pumpkin in a brownie recipe?

            1. re: ccbweb

              you got it. i recently adapted one from "vegan cupcakes take over the world." however, i use agave nectar to sweeten my baked goods, so if you're not up for that i'll also incude a link to the original recipe.

              Decadent Low Fat Brownies

              1½ cups plus 2 Tbsp. flour
              ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
              2 Tbsp. tapioca flour [you can sub arrowroot or cornstarch, but tapioca is best]
              ½ teaspoon baking soda
              ½ teaspoon sea salt
              ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder [i use medaglia d'oro]
              8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
              1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
              ¾ cup agave nectar
              2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

              Preheat oven to 350 F.
              Grease an 8-inch square pan, preferably lined with parchment paper.
              Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, tapioca, baking soda, salt and espresso powder, and set aside.
              In a large mixing bowl combine pumpkin, agave nectar and vanilla.
              Stir in the dry ingredients, then add the melted chocolate and mix gently until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
              Spread batter into greased, lined pan, and bake for 30 minutes.

              here's the original if you want to make it - just double the recipe for the brownie layer, add ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder, and skip the pumpkin pie layer.


              good luck! i'd love to know how it turns out, whichever recipe you choose.

          2. I made brownies with grated zucchini and they were very moist. You can't even tell the zucchini is in the brownies after they are baked.

            my blog http://www.dinnersforayear.blogspot.com

            1. Thanks all for the great suggestions! I think I'll first try half pumpkin/half applesauce since I just so happen to have some pumpkin puree leftover from a batch of muffins. The grated zucchini has possibilities too since it's relatively low-key in terms of flavour.

              alex8alot I haven't tried the CI recipe - mainly because they aren't free online and CI isn't a regular magazine I pick up (yet). Is it lighter using natural ingredients or sugar substitutes type thing? I'm hoping to stick to as natural as possible although heh no prunes for me(can't get past the visual of Gran putting prunes on All Bran)...If the CI recipe is naturally light I just might have to get a subscription :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: maplesugar

                I will post for you if you like? it is completely natural, just cutting back on the major culprits. my husband liked them, he who always disdainfully demands to know if a oarticular dish is a "healthy" version, pronouncing the word with a sneer.

              2. Might be too late, but I've had better luck replacing fat with prune butter. It's a LOT more viscous than applesauce. Basically, 8 oz pitted prunes to 6 Tbsp water, then puree the heck out of it in the food processor until smooth. I replace butter 1 to 1. You will need to reduce the sugar some, and turn down the heat a little. I made some choc-chip cookies using the orange essence prunes that were outstanding.

                ETA -- I just saw your no-prune rule, but really, you can't taste prunes at all (if you use the unflavored prunes). Plus, 2 grams of fiber per cookie serving -- how can you go wrong?

                1 Reply
                1. re: heatherkay

                  my experience hasn't been quite as positive with prune butter. i find it contributes a noticeable fruity flavor, and can sometimes toughen baked goods. the pumpkin/applesauce combo is my favorite of all the ones we've discussed here.

                2. http://www.channel3000.com/food/24299...
                  try these. dont make the topping. and add more vanilla and some instant coffee.
                  i'd also put a couple ounces of melted chocolate in it as well. I made these with quinoa flour for my gluten free pals and they enjoyed it.

                  1. hmmm, I'm surprised no one's mentioned subbing nonfat yogurt for the fat. I especially like to use nonfat coffee yogurt when I'm making brownies. Has anyone had bad experiences with this? I'm not much of a sweets eater and I generally serve baked goods hot from the oven to dessert-starved eaters, so maybe they're not terribly particular?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: miss louella

                      yogurt is a good option, but it can impart an off flavor, and sometimes it makes things a little too spongy. anyway, a lot of people seem to want to avoid dairy these days, so i think we all just inadvertently defaulted to non-dairy/vegetarian options.

                      but good call for those who are open to it.

                    2. I always use the baby food jars, prune, bananas or any combination. I've had great results.

                      1. I used to have a recipe that substituted in pureed black beans and honey and they came out delicious--if I can find it, I'll post. I've had success in the past with combining a few different moisteners--1/3 prunes, 1/3 squash of some kind, and 1/3 yogurt, or something like that. The final result is neither too fruity nor too sour.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: thursday

                          beans are always a great idea [and perfect for increasing the fiber content], but you have to be sure to adjust the liquid or your brownies will come out dense & mealy. black beans work well in chocolate desserts, and white beans are perfect in lighter, non-chocolate recipes such as quick breads and cakes.