Thursday, September 29, 2011

Brownie Trifle -- sounds and looks decadent, but is lighter than you think

Here's a dessert that's fit for company, including for the just-around-the-corner holidays. If you make these brownies rather than buying ready-made ones, the result will be significantly healthier. But let's not kid ourselves about the health profile of the recipe, another contribution by my friend Mary Ann Barnes, who has a raging sweet tooth. (She seems to spend a lot of her time figuring out dessert recipes that substitute healthier ingredients for the fats and sugars in standard sweets.) Like most desserts, this is a once in awhile indulgence!

Recipe: Chocolate, Banana and Peanut Butter Trifle

Serves 8

2 pounds baked brownies (store bought, or see recipe below)
1 16-ounce container sugar-free, fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 4-serving box sugar-free, fat-free vanilla instant pudding mix
1 ½ cup fat free or lowfat milk
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 – 3 bananas, sliced
Chocolate covered peanuts for garnish, if desired

Combine instant pudding mix and fat free milk, whisking until thickened.  Add thawed whipped topping and peanut butter, stirring until smooth.  

Layer ½ brownies on the bottom of a large glass bowl, pressing to fill any holes.  Arrange slices of bananas on brownie layer.  Spoon ½ peanut butter mixture over bananas.  Repeat layers.  Sprinkle chocolate covered peanuts on top, if desired.  Refrigerate until served.

Recipe: Dark Chocolate and Black Bean Brownies

1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed
½ cup whole grain pastry flour
3 eggs
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup strongly brewed coffee
2/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup Smart Balance (or other spread with plant stanols)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly brush an 8 inch by 8 inch baking pan with oil
Pulse black beans in a food processor until smooth.  Add flour, eggs, cocoa, sugar, Smart Balance, vanilla and grapeseed oil; process until smooth.  Pour mixture into a medium bowl.  Add baking powder and chocolate chips, stirring until blended. 
Pour mixture into baking pan, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out cleanly. 
Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

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