So often, people will tell me that they’re fine with the “regular, other time of the year” desserts they eat having no sugar and being low fat and healthy but that when the holidays roll around, that seems somehow “wrong”.
I hear you.
Holidays seem like the one time when you’re allowed to indulge, and when you look at the calender, there are no less than half a dozen events in two weeks, all of which expect you to bring something holiday-ish and decadent to share.
My thoughts are that, yes, it is okay to loosen up a bit on the “health” of your holiday desserts, but at the same time, I will argue that you don’t have to necessarily add back all the sugar and fat for something to be indulgent.
Recently, someone share a recipe for peppermint brownies with me. It called for 1 1/2 cups of butter, 1 1/2 pound of chocolate, 5 eggs, 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup all purpose flour, 2 tsp peppermint extract, and six candy canes.
As you an imagine, I immediately tried to figure out if there was a way to revamp this recipe so that it would be at least a smidgeon less unhealthy and still decadently delicious. To do so, I reduced the butter by a third and replaced it with vegan butter. I reduced the chocolate to 20 oz and substituted Enjoy Life’s allergy friendly dark chocolate chips. I removed one egg, and since there was sugar in the chocolate, I reduced the sugar by three-quarters and swapped out monk fruit sweetener for the sugar. I reduced the flour by 1/4 cup and substituted a combination of cassava and garbanzo bean flours which are grain free flours. I then reduced the candy canes to four and used special brown rice syrup peppermint candy sticks instead of candy canes.
The result was a very tasty brownie which folks can feel comfortable sharing for the holidays.
1 cup vegan soy free butter
Two 10 oz packages Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips (divided: one pkg plus one cup; remaining chips)
1/2 cup golden monk fruit sweetener or coconut sugar
1/2 cup cassava flour
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pure peppermint extract
4 peppermint sticks (you can use regular if you can’t find the brown syrup version)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.
- In a microwave or over a double boiler, melt one 10 oz bag plus one cup of chocolate chips from the second bag with the vegan butter. Stir until smooth and let it sit to cool while doing the next step.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs with the monk fruit sugar until thick and blended.
- Slowly whisk in the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and blend well.
- Stir together the flours and salt and then stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until all the flour mixture is well mixed into the chocolate mixture.
- Melt the remaining chips, mix until smooth and add the peppermint extract.
- Spread the chocolate batter evenly into the prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of the peppermint chocolate onto the batter and swirl the drops into the batter.
- Bake for 15 minutes. While the brownies are doing their initial bake, crush the peppermint sticks. I just put them into a heavy bag and whack them with my rolling pin. Works very well. You can find a more refined approach if you prefer.
- Remove the brownies from the oven, sprinkle the crushed peppermint pieces evenly over the top, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove brownies from the oven and allow them to cool completely before cutting them into bite size pieces and enjoying.