Brownies are an all-American favorite treat, probably created at the beginning of the twentieth century in New England. Brownie recipes traditionally call for lots of fat, as much as a full stick of butter (eight ounces) and squares of unsweetened baking chocolate.
As a fat conscious vegan, my baked goods are made without added fat, so unsweetened cocoa powder is a natural choice. Brownies in my kitchen are made with cocoa and are every bit as moist and rich tasting as any brownie aficionado would expect.
Research has shown that chocolate contains beneficial antioxidants, thought to help prevent cancer, heart disease and stroke. Chocolate is derived from beans, which contain very high levels of natural antioxidants called flavonoids.
A study by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency, found that natural cocoa contains the highest levels of an important antioxidant.
Scientists at the ARS looked into the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and procyanidin levels of six chocolate and cocoa products: natural (unsweetened) cocoa powders, Dutch processed (alkalinized) cocoa powders, unsweetened baking chocolates, semi-sweet chocolate baking chips, dark chocolates, and milk chocolates.
The study found natural cocoa powders contain the highest levels of TAC and procyanidins. Milk chocolates contain the least amount of cocoa solids and had the lowest TAC and procyanidin levels.
Baking chocolates contained fewer procyanidins than natural cocoa, because of the high fat content (50 to 60 percent).
Alkalinization is a process used to reduce acidity and raise the pH of cocoa. Because Dutch chocolate has been alkalized, it was found to have a markedly reduced procyanidin content.
Rich in beta-carotene from the pumpkin and procyanidins from the cocoa, these scrumptious Pumpkin Walnut Brownies are also low in calories and fat and completely dairy and cholesterol-free.
Pumpkin Walnut Brownies VIDEO
2 3/4 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup cocoa, sifted
1/3 cup yellow corn meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
I teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
1 cup California walnut pieces
1 (12.3 ounce pkg) Mori Nu Lite Silken Tofu, firm
1/4 cup prune puree (video)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
1 medium banana, sliced
2 cups Organic Sugar
1 cup vanilla flax milk
1 Tablespoon Milled Golden Flax
3 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat 350° spray 9” by 13” baking pan with olive oil cooking spray
In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and set aside. Blend tofu in a food processor. Add prune and pumpkin purees, banana, sugar, flax milk, flax meal, water and vanilla. Process and fold into dry ingredients. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, cool, cut into squares and sprinkle with Organic Powdered Sugar.
Pumpkin Walnut Brownies
Nutrition Analysis: per serving: one 2 1/2 ounce brownie
Calories 176, Protein 4g, Carbohydrate 30g, Fiber 3g, Fat 5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Calcium 37mg, Sodium 109mg
Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV, Follow Marie on Twitter: http://twitter.com/vegtv
 USDA/Agricultural Research Service (2005, April 21). In Chocolate, More Cocoa Means Higher Antioxidant Capacity. ScienceDaily.