Ok, who else is as big a chocolate fan as we are?
Around here we have chocolate every day, be it a square of dark chocolate or a full-on chocolate dessert. And, when we can double down and not only tame our sweet tooth but also get nutrition, we’re all about it. Enter this Salted Almond Fudgy Healthy Brownie Recipe.
We created these brownies for California Prunes who asked us to use prunes for a healthy swap, and we immediately went to dessert and to this healthy brownie recipe.
You’re probably asking “Can a brownie be healthy?” Well, it’s still a dessert and this recipe has refined sugar and butter so it’s by no means the healthiest recipe out there. However, yes, you can have a healthier brownie recipe. This one has half of the sugar of a traditional brownie recipe as well as nutritious ingredients like almond meal, almonds, dark chocolate, and California prunes.
Focus On California Prunes
But let’s hone in on prunes for a minute because they aren’t just flavorful but also nutritional powerhouses. While they don’t have any fat or cholesterol, prunes do have vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.
The recommended daily serving of California Prunes is four to five, which clocks it at fewer than 100 calories, supports digestive health and bone health, and is fiber-rich! A serving of just four prunes also has 11% of your recommended daily fiber, 6% potassium, and 20% of vitamin K, so they’re a great addition to a healthy diet.
Healthy Swaps With California Prunes
Wondering how to use California prunes to make healthier baked goods? Well, you can use California Prunes to swap out refined sugar, egg, butter, or oil in desserts. Here we cut down on this sugar in this healthy brownie recipe by using a variation on this prune puree.
Let’s talk about this prune puree for a second. Often when looking for a healthy brownie recipe, people wonder “Can you substitute sugar in brownies?” “Can you make brownies without oil?” or “How would you make a healthy brownie recipe without eggs?” The answer to all of those is this prune puree! It can be used in place of sugar, oil, or eggs in a baking recipe. However, it cannot be used in place of all those ingredients at once.
For this healthy brownie recipe, we found the best place to use the prune puree was to cut the sugar in half. We then used espresso coffee in place of the water in the California Prune board puree recipe to give these brownies even more flavor.
California Prunes are incredible in desserts because they bring lots of flavor and pair brilliantly with common baking ingredients like dark chocolate, warm spices, caramel, and coffee (hence the reason we use so many of those ingredients in this recipe). Find lots of tasty prune inspiration here.
About This Healthy Brownie Recipe
We know, brownies need no introduction. However, this healthy brownie recipe does. While many recipes opt for ingredients like black beans or applesauce or whole wheat flour for a healthy brownie recipe, we wanted something that was healthier but still tasted like decadent fudgy brownies.
This recipe is a twist on the confection-like brownies that I developed for my first-ever recipe development job. Those brownies are a bit more intense and dense while this healthy brownie recipe has a rich, dark chocolate taste and a perfect balance of sweet and salty thanks to the prune puree and salted roasted almonds. The end result is a healthy brownie recipe that tastes just as good as the original recipe but is much better for you.
Tips For Making This Healthy Brownie Recipe
There are a few keys that will make this recipe the best healthy brownie recipe out there!
Sift The Almond Flour
First off, this recipe calls for almond flour, not an almond meal. Almond flour is finer so it has a better texture. But, also, be sure to whisk it or sift it before adding it to the batter so it is as evenly incorporated as possible.
Use Dark Chocolate
Use dark chocolate wafers (not chocolate chips!) as they’ll melt easiest for the topping. Also, don’t use unsweetened chocolate or the dish won’t’ have enough sweetness.
Use Plump Prunes
Make sure to get good-quality prunes for the puree as they’ll be easier to blend. We like to use the D’Noir Prunes in recipes because they’re preservative-free, and they tend to be plump and have the best taste.
Variations On This Recipe
As is, these brownies are gluten-free, grain-free, vegetarian, and dairy free. If you use plant-based butter, they will also be vegan.
You could make this recipe even fancier by adding a layer of salted caramel in place of the final chocolate layer. Or by using the Salted Almond Butter Caramel from our chocolate tart recipe. But believe us when we say it’s pretty perfect as is.
Salted Almond Fudgy Healthy Brownie Recipe
For The Prune Puree:
- 16 ounces pitted prunes
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso or coffee powder
For The Healthy Brownie Batter:
- 6 ounces dark chocolate wafers (6 ounces)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3 ounces)
- 1 1/3 cups almond flour sifted
- 1/3 cup dutch-process cocoa powder sifted
- 2 large eggs beaten until smooth
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup prune puree
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For The Salted Almond Topping:
- 3 ounces dark chocolate wafers (3 ounces)
- 7 ounces whole raw almonds
- Maldon sea salt or other flaky sea salt, for garnish
Make The Prune Puree:
- Combine the prunes, boiling water, and espresso powder in a blender. Blend until a smooth sistency forms, stopping and scraping down the inside of the blender or carafe, if necessary. Store the purée in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.TIP: You don't need all of the prune puree for this recipe so feel free to use it to cut down the fat or sugar in your favorite baking recipes.
Toast The Almonds:
- Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Toast the 7 ounces of almonds on a rimmed baking sheet until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop; set aside. TIP: If you want to get rid of any small, flaky almond bits, put all the chopped almonds in a fine mesh sieve and shake to remove any small almond pieces.
Make The Healthy Brownie Recipe Batter:
- Meanwhile, coat an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, then line it with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving a 4-inch overhang on 2 sides.Coat aluminum foil or parchment with nonstick spray.Combine the 6 ounces chocolate wafers and butter in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until evenly melted. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Place the almond flour and cocoa powder in a large bowl and whisk until well the dry ingredients are combined and uniform in color and set aside.Combine the eggs, sugar, prune puree, vanilla extract, and salt in a large bowl and briefly stir until just the wet ingredients are incorporated. Add the cooled chocolate and mix until uniform in color. Add the almond flour-cocoa powder mix and stir until evenly incorporated (it will be thick but still pourable).Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and use the back of a spoon or an offset spatial to evenly spread the batter in the baking dish.
- Bakeuntil a toothpick or tester inserted into the center of the brownies comes outclean, about 30 to 40 minutes for a fudgy brownie. Immediately top with remaining3 ounces chocolate wafers and let melt for a couple of minutes. Use an offsetspatula to spread the melted chocolate so it evenly covers the top of thebrownie. Top with almonds and a few pinches of flaky sea salt and let coolcompletely.
- Using the aluminum foil or parchment overhang, lift the brownie out of the pan and transfer it to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 16 squares.TIP: Use a sharp knife to run under hot water for a few seconds (and then wiped dry) to get the cleanest cut on the brownies. These healthy brownies can be made up to 4 days ahead of time and stored refrigerated or at room temperature in an airtight container.