Sunday, February 12, 2012

On Counting Carbs . . . and Eating Them Too

For reasons I am not yet ready to reveal to the Internet, I recently had to start counting carbs and watching my diet.  In a nutshell, it’s not fun.  I have always been a very healthy eater, but there’s something about being told I have to eat healthy that is just so . . .  well, annoying.  Nevertheless, I have committed to following the rules.  Most of the time, anyway.  When I do feel like cheating, it will most definitely be for chocolate.

At our Superbowl party last weekend I cheated with these brownies.  They have less flour and less sugar than your average brownie.  The chocolate flavor really shines through from the Dutch-processed cocoa, which is supposedly more flavorful than your run-of-the-mill cocoa powder.  

These brownies also have a nice dose of salt, and I have to admit I find the sea salt and chocolate combo to be downright mouth-watering.  Initially I made a version with all of the salt inside the batter, but I think the crunchy topping makes for a nice finish. 

If you happen to be watching your carb (or calorie) intake, give these brownies a try.  I hope to cheat with them again soon!

Lower Carb Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies
Makes 16 brownies
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa (preferably Dutch-process for a flavor boost)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ butter
  • 2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.  Grease an 8-inch square metal baking pan.

In a cup, dissolve the coffee in the vanilla extract.  In a small bowl, combine the cocoa, flour, ¾ teaspoon sea salt, and the baking powder.  Then in a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, vegetable oil spread, eggs, and coffee mixture until well-mixed.  Then blend in the flour mixture.  Spread the batter in the prepared pan.  (It will be a thick batter.)  Lastly, sprinkle the remaining ½ teaspoon sea salt over the brownies.

Bake for approximately 22 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted approximately 2 inches from the edge of the pan comes out almost clean.  Place the pan on a wire rack and cool for approximately 2 hours.  Enjoy!

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