Double Chocolate Espresso Brownies

If someone told you that you cannot have chocolate and stay healthy at the same time, you have my permission to slap them. Go forth and plant one on their cheek because you really can have chocolate. In fact, there is always room for desserts in a healthy diet. 

I tested these brownies 5 times to get the right amount of texture, consistency, and chocolatey goodness. I've been going on a low-fat yogurt rant in the last few recipes (Grilled Potato Salad with Herbs and Spices  & Almond Cake with Lemon Zest), but the tangy goop  is insanely versatile. This really contributes the moist factor to these brownies. 

Most brownie recipes use an entire stick of butter for just a few servings, but these brownies call for 2 tablespoons in the entire recipe, and this means just a little over 1/2  teaspoon of butter is tucked away into one square of brownie. Your love handles will thank you. 

I used semi-sweet chocolate and 70% bittersweet chocolate here, but if it were up to me I would use 70% cacao chocolate throughout the entire recipe. Unfortunately, my brothers aren't so fond of the less sugary taste. From a healthy point of view, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that fight cancer. Does this mean you can eat it by the tablespoon? No, silly. It's still calorie dense, so as I always say moderation is key. This recipe honors that, and the freshly brewed espresso really makes the chocolate sing.  

To make these brownies even more moist a lot of excess flour has been cut out. So the ratio of  wet ingredients to dry ingredients is greater, and from a food science standpoint these develop gossamer, velvety brownies. 

Any other information about the ingredients is boring. Your time is much better spent whipping up a fresh batch of healthy brownies. ;-)

Double Chocolate Espresso Brownies
Makes 9 squares

2 tablespoons melted butter
2 ounces 70% dark chocolate (I recommend Moser Roth), cut into chunks
2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder (regular, not Dutch processed)
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 eggs, large
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon fresh espresso, or espresso powder, or really strong coffee
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoon walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray.
1.) If you've purchased dark chocolate that comes in the form of a bar, chop it down to the size of chocolate chips. 
2.) Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl: flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. 
3.) Combine the butter, oil, and sugar in a mixer. Mix on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
4.) Add the yogurt, eggs, canola oil, and espresso.
5.) On a low setting, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet just until combined. Don't over mix, you don't want to whip air into the batter (this is desirable in cakes not brownies).
6.) Turn off the mixer and stir in 1/4 cup of walnuts, semi sweet chocolate, and dark chocolate. Transfer batter to pan.
7.) Sprinkle over remaining 2 tablespoons of walnuts over the the top. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes (can take as long as 45 minutes, depending on how hot your oven 

Enjoy them while they're warm with a cold glass of low-fat milk, or wait until they have cooled to dig in! :o)


Almond Cake with Lemon Zest

Like most women, I have a major sweet tooth. I was scrutinizing the recipes I have posted thus far on Healthy Eating 101, and I have to say, it's such a tragedy that I haven't posted any desserts! I prefer cooking over baking because it doesn't require much mental effort. With baking you have to measure out ingredients, but I don't hesitate to satisfy my sweet tooth. And these are rare moments when I bake. 

Ideas will come to me at inconvenient times: on the commute to work, in class, or sometimes when I don't have a pad of paper or a pen at my fingertips to scribble on. I have a host of recipes that I have tested and tweaked at least 5 or 6 times to convert into a healthier alternatives. And this Almond Cake with Lemon Zest is no exception. Now, I love chocolate and I would choose it over non chocolate baked items like toffees and fruits based pastries ANY DAY. But this Almond Cake is divine. It's got just the right amount of sweetness, plus it is moist, and it has a nutty flavor from the toasted almonds. 

The flavor of the almonds are intensified with a dash of rum, plenty of lemon zest, and olive oil. To cut out most of the fat without compensating on flavor, low-fat yogurt whisked into the batter will lend the liquid the cake needs to, well, taste like a cake. You gotta try this. 

Almond Cake with Lemon Zest


1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature (this is pretty important)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups low-fat yogurt
2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum (the cheapest one you can find will be great in here)
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest, about two lemons
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted in a dry pan for 3-4 minutes until golden brown


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1.) Grind the whole almonds in a food processor until extremely fine, 2-3 minutes or more. 
2.) Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
3.) Using a food processor, whisk the butter,oil, and sugar for 2 minutes until it looks "fluffy". 
4.) Add the whole eggs and egg whites. Whisk again. Then add the yogurt, vanilla, lemon zest, and rum.
5.) Gradually mix in the dry ingredients into the the wet. Pour the batter into a cake pan.  (Don't overmix! Otherwise you strengthens the gluten protein in flour and accidentally make a tough cake. 
6.) Sprinkle over the toasted almonds. 
7.) Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (or whatever size you prefer) with nonstick cooking spray and pour the batter in.
8.) Bake for 30-40 minutes. Oven temperatures vary, so check frequently. Use the toothpick method to check if the batter is too wet and needs more time to bake.

Roast Beef Sandwich with Chimichurri, Caramelized Onions, and Goat Cheese

You can always feel good about eating a sandwich. It requires minimal effort, and it is insanely versatile. You can choose  any ingredients that fancy you, slap them in between two slices of quality bread  and you have a delicious and intriguing meal. 

This sandwich was inspired by a pot of vibrant green chimichurri; the Argentian "pesto", or, if I were to mirror it to Indian food, it would be the sister of the everyday green chutney. Just as Indians slather chutney on everything, the Argentinians reach for their chimichurri. You can save plenty of dollars by creating your own condiments, and it's great because it allows for some personal embellishment. The chimichurri is a great condiment to start with. 

Parsley creates the foundation for most chimichurries, and many Argentinians will argue that they wouldn't use any other herb. But we're not trying to please anyone here. Just our taste buds. So I've included cilantro and mint in this version. But this is also fine without mint, or even made with cilantro or parsley on their own. 

The pairing of chimichurri and beef is quite famous. The garlic and red wine vinegar really wakes up the roast beef, and goat cheese adds creaminess and a slightly tart flavor. The chimichurri and the goat cheese up against the sweet caramelized onions really makes the entire sandwich sing. This is definitely a pick me up sandwich. 

Roast Beef Sandwich with Chimichurri, Caramelized Onions, and Goat Cheese

Serves 1

For the chimichurri (Serves 4):

1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup mint
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the caramelized onions: (Serves 4) Yield: 1/4 cup

cooking spray, (canola oil flavored is good here)
1 1/2 cups white onion, sliced
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar (or white granulated if that's all you have)

For the sandwich:

2 slices whole grain bread, toasted if you prefer
3 oz lean roast beef deli meat
1 tablespoon chimichurri
1 tablespoon plain low-fat goat cheese, spreadable at room temp
1/4 cup romaine lettuce
1 tablespoon caramelized onions 

For the onions:

1.) Coat a nonstick pan with cooking spray, add the onions and start cooking over a medium low heat for 10 minutes. 

2.) Once the onions are translucent, add the sugar, and cook an additional 6-8 minutes. Stir frequently. *Scroll down to view photo of final result*

*This may take more or less time depending on the intensity of your heat and quality of your pan, so keep an eye on this*

While the onions are caramelizing, make the chimichurri:

1.) Add the garlic to a small food processor and blend until it is chopped down to fine bits.
2.) Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. 

My chimichurri didn't blend easily the first time, so use a spatula to bring the sauce settling on the bottom of the processor to the top;  continue doing this and blend until you have a smooth sauce.

To assemble the sandwich:

1.) Spread the goat cheese over both slices bread.
2.) Divide 1 tablespoon chimichurri between bread slices and spread over the goat cheese.
3.) Top each slice with 1/2 tablespoon caramelized onions.
4.) Add lettuce to each slice. 
5.) Bring both slices together to form your sandwich.