Healthy-ish Dark Chocolate Brownies

Healthy-ish Dark Chocolate Brownies

A new post at last!  I meant to post the recipe for these brownies for Valentine’s Day–that’s right, a month ago–but kept getting sidetracked somehow.  Days would go by, then weeks, and here we are now in mid-March (on Pi Day!).  How did that happen?!  Of course, now that tax season is upon us, instead of using my free Saturday afternoon to gather all my paperwork to file my taxes, I’ve decided to finally write up a blog post 🙂

As I’m trying to experiment with healthier ways to bake (e.g. less sugar, more fiber, more protein, etc.), I’ve learned that many baked goods and desserts with chocolate make for the easiest make-overs.  Thanks to its rich flavor, cocoa and chocolate has the ability to hide the flavors of some other ingredients used to make the dessert or pastry healthier (of course I’m referring to natural cocoa used for baking, without added sugar or fillers, like a lot of cocoa powder for drinking).  And there’s something about cocoa itself which keeps said dessert or pastry moist and rich–and therefore is a bit more forgiving when it comes to making other substitutions in a recipe.


For these dark chocolate brownies, I heavily modified a recipe from David Lebovitz.  His recipe uses two types of cocoa–one of them being a black cocoa, which takes a little hunting around to find.  To make these more accessible in general, he recommends using high quality dark cocoa powder, like Valrhona.  A brownie is only as good as the cocoa you use, so don’t skimp on it.  Using maple syrup as the main sweetener, this adapted recipe makes for a rich fudgy brownie.  I’ve seen other brownie recipes using things like avocado to replace the butter.  I didn’t do that here because it seems kind of a waste to hide an avocado in a brownie.  With whole wheat flour, though, I can call these dark chocolate brownies “healthy-ish” because they are, after all, still brownies with sugar and carbs and all that, but at least I don’t feel like I have to run a 10K to eat one.  Maybe just a 5K.

As a side note: someone please tell me how to properly cut brownies (and cakes).  I am never able to get a beautiful clean edge, so my brownies are always jagged.  I just want them to look nice for pictures 🙂



{Healthy-ish Dark Chocolate Brownies}


  • 1-3/4 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1-1/4 cup of the darkest natural unsweetened cocoa powder you can find
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 t. instant espresso or coffee powder (espresso is preferred)
  • 3/4 t. sea salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • flaky sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line or grease an 8″x8″ pan.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan, set aside to cool.
  3. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, espresso powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk together eggs, maple syrup and brown sugar in a separate bowl.
  5. Mix half of the egg mixture into the cocoa mixture, then mix in the melted butter. Mix in the remaining egg mixture until combined. If it’s not smooth, David recommends using a whisk, but I found that it’s okay if the batter is a little lumpy.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. At this point, you can top with the walnuts, chocolate chips, and/or flaky sea salt.
  7. Bake in the center of oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the center is barely set. Allow to cool completely in the pan.

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Eva Rosenberg

Eva Rosenberg

Welcome to Eva's Kitchen where I share my adventures in cooking. My creations may not always turn out Pinterest perfect, but I usually end up with a funny picture or an interesting meal. Thanks for stopping by!


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