Almost Guilt-Free Brownies

September 6, 2012

Although this blog is dedicated to healthy eating, a few evenings ago I decided to treat myself to some brownies and I just have to share the recipe with you! It comes from a cookbook titled, “Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health” and is my go-to recipe for brownies as they are relatively guilt-free and taste A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Pair a piece (or two!) with some French vanilla ice cream and I think you’ll agree – it’s a little taste of heaven!

What’s your favourite “healthy” recipe using cocoa?!

Ingredients:
1/3 cup (75 mL) canola oil (I used grape seed oil)
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp (155 mL) natural cocoa powder (I used quality Dutch cocoa from Costco)
1/2 cup (125 mL) whole wheat flour (yes, whole wheat flour! – I even used spelt!)
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit. Line an 8-inch metal pan with parchment paper. Make sure to use enough parchment paper so that it hangs over the edges of your pan.
2. Beat together the oil and eggs. Add the sugar and beat until slightly thickened.
3. Add the vanilla and cocoa powder. Slowly beat in.
4. Stir in the whole wheat flour and baking powder (which you should pre-mix in a separate small bowl). The batter will be quite thick.


5. Spoon batter into the prepared pan and gently spread (again, it will be quite thick!).
6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Pick up the parchment paper at the sides and lift the brownie out. Finish cooling on a wire rack. Then flip the brownie over and gently peel off the parchment paper.
7. Cut into 16 equal pieces. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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Blueberry Crisp

August 9, 2012

Last week my mother brought me a large basket of blueberries she had picked with a friend, and I shared with you a delicious recipe for Blueberry Scottish Oatmeal Pancakes (just be sure not to forget to add the oil and blueberries, like I did this past long weekend when I made some for our friends at their cottage; they did not taste anything like they should have – sorry J & C, but next time I’ll get it right!).

Well, seeing as I had forgotten the blueberries in the fridge at home, once I returned from our friends’ cottage I got to work using up the antioxidant-rich berries. I made two dozen Bananaberry Oatmeal Muffins and a 9 X 13 inch glass casserole dish of Blueberry Crisp. Today I will share with you the recipe for the crisp. My sister-in-law shared an apple crisp recipe with me many years ago and it has by far my favourite oatmeal crumb topping, although I have made some healthy substitutions and modifications to the original recipe. Some of my favourite fruit combinations are apple/pear, strawberry/rhubarb, and blueberry/peach. You can try out any fruit or fruit combination you like, but trust me – the topping from this recipe is a winner.

Filling

6 cups fresh blueberries*

1/4 cup agave nectar (or 1/3 cup granulated sugar)

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tsp grated lemon zest**

2 tbsp lemon juice**

Topping

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup ground flax seed

1/2 cup margarine (I prefer to use Becel’s unsalted margarine)

1/2 cup to 1 cup nut meats (my favourites are pecans or walnuts) – optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all filling ingredients in a 9 X 13 inch glass baking dish.

In a separate bowl, stir together first four ingredients. Add some cinnamon, if you like. Add margarine and work the flour mixture into the margarine until a crumbly consistency is attained. (I use my KitchenAid paddle attachment to accomplish this quite effortlessly, however you can also use your fingers to rub the flour into the margarine.)

Spread the oatmeal crumble over fruit. Sprinkle with nut meats (if using) and bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Tastes great with greek yogurt (or vanilla ice cream when you’re looking for more of a treat!) Keeps well in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave.

*Note – if using a firmer fruit, such as apples, you will need to cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake an addition 10 – 15 minutes.

**Orange zest and juice instead of lemon also taste great with the blueberries.

What’s your favourite fruit in a crisp? What’s your favourite crisp topping recipe?