Recipe: Low-Calorie Fudgy Brownies

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First, I’d like to start with a disclaimer: Low calorie is a relative term. So, although these brownies are lower calorie than their high fat counterparts, they should still be eaten in moderation if part of a diet plan!

Now that that’s over with, I’m sure many of you are like me in that you want to stay or become svelte, but have an insatiable sweet tooth. Or, worse yet, you share my obsession with baking. And we all know that constant baking and a trim figure do not go well together.

So, before hanging out with my rather voracious friends, I decided to whip up some fudgy brownies that we could all enjoy! Better yet, the leftovers stayed moist and delicious for about a week in the fridge.

Modified from this recipe.

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Makes a 13×9″ or 9×9″ pan of brownies (depending on how thick you want them)


  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips + 1 tbs for topping
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a pan of your choice (I used 13×9″; smaller sizes such as 9×9″ will yield thicker brownies.)

2. Dissolve espresso powder into the hot water.

3. Melt together chocolate chips and butter in microwave using the available melt settings, or on high for 1 minute until everything is melted.

4. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. In another bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, the butter/chocolate chip mixture, and the espresso mixture.

5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until combined and the lumps are gone.

6. Spread evenly into pan, and sprinkle the top evenly with the 1tbs chocolate chips (or as much as you desire).

7. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes for a 13×9″ pan, and more for a smaller pan. Bake until the top is set, but a toothpick still yields a few crumbs. This is the key to fudginess!

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Note: this recipe is male-tested and approved.

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Happy baking!



Recipe: Banana Crumb Muffins

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Before I get into the recipe, I have a confession to make: I play Dungeons and Dragons. There, I said it; I’m a closet nerd, as are the people I play with. If you saw these guys on the street, you would never expect them to be the types that roleplay their way through a fantasy world: they’re regulars at the gym, are in a band, and are about as far from socially inept as you can get!

That being said, having a regular crowd of 4-6 guys is the perfect way to test recipes, so I almost always bake some kind of treat to bring to our gaming sessions. The last time we played, I decided to take a break from loading them up with incredibly unhealthy (but delicious) cakes, cookies and bars, and went for a healthier alternative: banana crumb muffins. Although they turned their noses up at them at first, as soon as the first player tried one, the entire batch disappeared within about 10 minutes.

Based on this recipe.

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Makes a dozen muffins


  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

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1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray or grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, as well as the baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and salt.

3. In another bowl, beat together the bananas, 1/4 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and 1/3 cup melted butter.

4. Stir the banana mixture into the dry mixture until moistened. Pour or spoon batter into the muffin pan cups.

5. Make the crumble topping: in a small bowl, mix together 2 tbs flour and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Cut in 1 tbs butter until course, and sprinkle on top of the muffins.

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6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Note: if it comes out with some crumb topping attached, that’s fine; what you don’t want to see is dough from the inside of the muffin!

7.  Optional: To avoid a crust forming, allow muffins to cool for 5-10 minutes, and then remove them from pan and place on a wire cooling rack.

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