Healthy Snack Ideas

Yes, It’s Possible To Bake Rich, Fudgy Brownies That Are *Also* Packed With Benefits for Heart Health and Longevity—Here’s How

Consider this your guide to healthier baking. Chef Mia Rigden and Jenny Dorsey team up to show you how to revamp some of your favorite baked goods to make them healthier and loaded with better-for-you ingredients—without skimping on flavor. See All

Is that time of the month again? Or frankly, just any day of the month? Sounds like a great reason to bake a batch of brownies, IMO.

Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like chocolate is the answer roughly 99 percent of the time. Whether you’re going through a recent breakup, had a hard day, or simply want a little something to make you smile even wider, cocoa is the name of the game. After all, chocolate is loaded with polyphenols that boost health, mood, and longevity. Sold yet?

On the latest episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp, nutritionist Mia Rigden, CNS shares her sophisticated twist on traditional brownies with a few ingredient swaps that make this version a healthier, fudgier, and even more delicious version than boxed brownies. (Sorry, Betty Crocker. But also love you forever.)

So, what makes these brownies so much better than a boxed mix, you may ask? Let me tip you in on a little secret. Rigden uses hearty-healthy olive oil to make these brownies rich, creamy, and super moist (in addition to adding major anti-inflammatory, heart-healthy benefits to the dessert). She makes a few other RD-approved modifications to make her brownies even more delicious than ever, too. Ready to get baking? Read on for the full recipe, and follow along in the video above to see how it's done.

Why these fudge brownies reign supreme

Like any great brownie recipe, this recipe includes the trifecta of ingredients to make them fudgy, chocolatey, and oh-so-decadent: flour, a source of fat to bind everything together, and boatloads of chocolate. However, to make these brownies RD-approved, Rigden swaps out a few ingredients like butter and refined sugar to give this recipe a delicious, nutrient-rich glow-up. Oh, and did I mention they’re gluten-free and dairy-free, too?

For starters, in the episode, Rigden builds a strong case for using olive oil instead of a fat like butter or Crisco. “I love using olive oil in this recipe because it adds a little bit of nuttiness and richness and a ton of nutrition. Olive oil is super anti-inflammatory; it’s got healthy omega-9 fatty acids and tons of antioxidants and polyphenols,” she says.

But olive isn’t the only heart-healthy ingredient that can help boost longevity in this recipe. Of course, this brownie recipe includes tons and tons of chocolate, which is one of the many reasons that it tastes so great. However, aside from tasting delicious, consuming dark chocolate with a 70 percent or greater cacao content can help reduce your risk of heart disease and dementia, as well as improve your mood.

But the benefits don’t end there. Rigden swaps out refined sugar for unrefined coconut sugar and regular all-purpose flour for fiber-filled, nutrient-rich almond flour. Believe us when we say these replacements will go completely unnoticed by even the most ardent brownie purists. To hear why you should really try this recipe out and all its health benefits, check out the full episode to learn more.

Heart-healthy fudge brownies recipe

Yields 16 servings

Ingredients
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more for greasing the pan)
1 cup almond flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 pinch of sea salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup coconut sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, melt one cup of the chocolate chips in the olive oil using a bain-marie over low to medium heat. Stir the mixture until fully combined and melted. Once melted, remove from the heat, and let cool for five minutes.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together. Mix until combined.

3. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and coconut sugar to a third bowl. Whisk until combined. Next, slowly pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking until fully mixed together.

4. Add the dry ingredients into the egg and chocolate mixture. Fold together until fully incorporated.

5. Add the remaining chocolate chips and stir.

6. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool, slice, and serve.

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