We didn't want to walk away from this - can you blame us?
Recently, the brownie craving has been rearing its ugly head. But once again, laziness got the better of me, and I decided running out to the store for brownie mix was too much effort. I didn't really have the right ingredients (including chocolate) for homemade brownies, but I did have some interesting substitutes lying around - so I decided to get a little crafty in the kitchen.
A few weeks ago I won a Puritan's Pride giveaway prize pack from fellow blogger Ironwoman Strong. Included in my winnings was a pouch of Carob Powder, of which I hadn't heard previously. After doing a little research, I learned that carob powder makes a good substitute for chocolate because it's lower in fat, naturally sweet (so you can cut down on sugar in your recipes), high in fiber, and doesn't have an caffeine. Since I'm pretty sensitive to caffeine, this carob stuff sounded like a good solution, but I questioned how similar the taste would be to real chocolate.
I pulled a few other ingredients together but realized I also was missing sugar! Instead, I found a bag of Truvia from a previous baking experiment and decided to go substitution crazy. Previously I've written some of my own recipes, working around favorites I borrowed from my mom, so I tackled the brownie challenge with gusto and came up with the following:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Truvia
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup carob powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
With the oven preheating to 350 degrees, I mixed the oil, truvia, extract, and eggs in one bowl while I combined the rest of the ingredients in another. I slowly added the dry mix to the egg mix until it was all well combined. My brownies baked in a greased 13" x 9" pan for about 26 minutes. Next time, I'll probably put them in for less time, as my research hadn't told me that the carob powder can burn pretty easily and my brownies came out a little overdone. BUT - they tasted like chocolate brownies! And that was the goal, so I consider this a whopping success!
I'm not 100% sure these are healthier than the alternative, but the experiment helped me see that substitutions don't ruin flavors. That's one of the major reasons I've been hesitant to try any of the hundreds of "healthy recipes" that claim to mimic the junk I've always loved: I was worried the healthy substitutes would be lacking in flavor. Maybe I can start trying more substitutions to see if I can finally get over my biggest roadblock in my fitness journey... Really, it's about time I started eating a little better...
So who's got a healthy substitute recipe for me to try?! I'm open to any dessert-y suggestions to start, and then I'll move on to real meals! Have you ever tried carob powder in a recipe?