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The Yankee Express

Healthier Baking - Autumn Brownies

By Christine Galeone

We all know that fall is one of the best seasons for baking. The only angst comes from choosing which baked good to make. Will it be pumpkin spice muffins, banana bread, apple cider donuts, brownies, etc.?  
These magical autumn brownies could be the answer. They combine fall flavors in a rich chocolate dessert. And they’re magical because they disappear incredibly fast.
It’s easy to see why any processed, store-bought brownies are unhealthy. And even though mixes call for a couple of additional fresh ingredients, and, like most, the results taste great, they’re still processed and generally include unnecessary ingredients. But even most homemade brownies that are made from fresh ingredients are unhealthy, because they call for lots of added sugar. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a recipe to call for two cups of sugar. That sugar causes inflammation. Inflammation is linked to various diseases and other harmful health conditions.    
This recipe calls for significantly less sugar, because the banana contains natural sugar. It also calls for healthier fats, instead of butter, margarine or other unhealthier fats that can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease. 
While walnuts are heart-healthy and brain-healthy nuts, bananas contain important vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and magnesium. And the pumpkin spice – which generally consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice – provides antioxidants, antimicrobial properties, fiber and minerals along with a warm autumn flavor.

Magical Autumn Brownies


½ Cup of Unsifted All-Purpose Flour 
1/3 Cup of Unsweetened Cocoa 
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Pumpkin Spice
¾ Cup of Sugar
½ Cup of Light Tasting Olive Oil
1 tsp. of Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. of Apple Cider
2 Eggs
1 Banana
½ Cup of Natural Walnuts
¼ Cup of Dark Chocolate Chips (Optional)

Combine flour, cocoa, pumpkin spice and baking powder in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar, olive oil, vanilla extract, apple cider and one mashed ripe banana.
Add eggs to the mixture, and beat well with a spoon. 
In a few increments, add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Blend together with a whisk or a spoon.
Mix in walnuts and dark chocolate chips.
Pour batter into an 8”X 8” baking pan.
Sprinkle more pumpkin spice over the entire batter.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for around 25-28 minutes. Brownie should begin to pull away from the edges of the pan.  
The warm pumpkin spice aroma alone offers enough motivation to go out to the kitchen and make a batch of these brownies on a cool autumn evening. Happy (healthier) baking, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!