The brownies are typical sweets of the US culinary tradition based on dark chocolate and hazelnuts , low and traditional square shape, soft and with a crispy crust . They are typically served with unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Soft and delicious, these desserts are a symbol of pastry made in the USA, inevitable in the windows of bakeries and coffee shops and a real must to taste. Find out all about the brownies, their history and the many variations and try the recipe for brownies without butter.
The brownies were born in a take away version . In fact, it seems that they were prepared for the first time in 1892 in Chicago, when Bertha Palmer, a woman from the local bourgeoisie, on the occasion of the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America asked her pastry chef to devise a cake as good as a cake, but practical to transport like cookies .
Where does their name come from? Brownies are so called because of their dark color , thanks to the dark chocolate which is one of the basic ingredients of the recipe.
The original recipe for American brownies
The original brownies recipe is prepared with butter, dark chocolate, bitter cocoa powder, eggs, flour, sugar, hazelnuts or other dried fruit . In some versions there is also baking powder.
Here are the ingredients to prepare the classic American brownies.
- 200g quality Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped
- 175g Unsalted Butter
- 325g Caster Sugar
- 130g Plain Flour
- 3 large Eggs, lightly beaten
- Icing Sugar, to dust
The variants of the brownies
There are many reinterpretations of brownies. Some variants simply use walnuts, almonds, pistachios or other dried fruit instead of hazelnuts . In some cases, the brownie has really changed its skin and has become more like a tart with a soft heart: a tasty but not faithful to the original transformation, which, being born as a sweet, comfortable to carry, had to leave your fingers dry. There are also many delicious reinterpretations with caramel, with milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate, with fruit and vegetables, or dietary, protein or gluten-free variants. Discover them all.
The main reinterpretations of the classic recipe
- Nutella brownies , in which dark chocolate is replaced with the famous spreadable cream.
- With milk chocolate , which replaces the dark chocolate in the dough.
- Brownies with black cherries , in which hazelnuts are replaced with cherries in syrup.
- With salted caramel , which is added to the traditional dough before baking.
- Pumpkin , with pumpkin and cream cheese.
- Lemon brownies , variant without chocolate but with lemon juice and zest.
- Berries brownies , where blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are added to the traditional chocolate dough.
- Proteins : suitable for those who follow a protein diet, they are prepared with oatmeal and yogurt and added with isolated proteins. Often this variant is also low in calories, carbohydrates and fats and is prepared without flour and without butter.
- Fit brownies , low-calorie variant that uses a series of gimmicks to cut calories: it is butter-free, uses only egg whites, not yolks, requires the addition of low-fat yogurt, is low in sugar (often replaced with some sweetener) and in many cases involves the use of flour other than 00 (wholemeal, rice or oat flour).
- Vegan brownies without eggs , in which the eggs are not present or are replaced with bananas and avocados and, instead of butter, a vegetable drink such as almond or soy milk is used.
- Gluten free , prepared with gluten free almond flour.
- Brownies cake , which is prepared with the same ingredients but is left whole instead of being cut into squares.
- Blondies : they are the clear version of these sweets, based on white chocolate.
Brownies without butter: the nutritional properties
The nutritional benefits of brownies without butter derive from the two main ingredients of these sweets, namely dark chocolate and cocoa.
Long demonized because considered rich in fat, chocolate , as well as the cocoa from which it derives, is actually a mine of beneficial substances. If you consume it in moderation, you will therefore be able to enjoy many positive effects, the result above all of its high content of antioxidants .
Chocolate contains flavonoids, in particular catechins and procyanidins , which make it a useful food to slow down the aging of cells and prevent cardiovascular diseases thanks to their ability to counteract the damage of free radicals. The important thing is to choose dark chocolate, which has a greater quantity of flavonoids, as well as being richer in magnesium , an important mineral salt against physical and mental fatigue, bad mood, stress, irritability and difficulty in concentration. On the contrary, in milk chocolate the quantity of sugars and fats not derived from cocoa butter is greater, which if in excess can endanger heart health.
The daily consumption of 30-40 grams of dark chocolate helps you:
- keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control
- make blood vessels more elastic
- promote blood circulation.
The recipe for brownies without butter
The recipe for brownies without butter, which we have replaced with seed oil for a result with reduced saturated fat content , therefore healthier. In addition, compared to the original version, we have decreased the amount of dark chocolate, sugar and dried fruit. In this way, brownies are much lighter and low in fat and calories . You can therefore also enjoy them on a diet , always with measure and without exaggerating with the portions, as a delicious exception to your menu, at the end of the meal or when you want to pamper yourself a little.
Total calories: 2099 kcal / Calories per person: 262 kcal
Ingredients for 8 people :
100 g of flour
40 g of bitter cocoa
70 g of granulated sugar
80 g of brown sugar
50 g of chopped almonds
30 g of dark chocolate
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Salt to taste
30 ml of seed oil
- Pour the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Then add the brown sugar, cocoa, granulated sugar, chopped almonds and chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips.
- Turn on the oven at 180 °.
- Add the previously beaten eggs, then the water and the oil and mix everything for a long time to obtain a homogeneous mixture.
- Pour it into a square mold lined with parchment paper and bake for about 25 minutes. Leave to cool, then cut into squares.
Brownie at Wikibook Cookbooks