There’s something I think I should state up front. If I’m going to be blogging about baking and sweets and deliciousness, it’s best to just get it out in the open now.
I love chocolate.
I mean, I. LOVE. chocolate. I’m notorious for it. So much so that when planning my birthday dinner last year, my boyfriend immediately rejected a restaurant if it didn’t list a chocolate dessert on the menu. So much so that my mom once bought me a page-a-day calendar featuring photos of chocolate, facts about chocolate, quotes about chocolate. So much so that I kept every one of those calendar pages I tore off. Hey, you never know when I might need to remember that the largest slab of fudge was made in Canada and weighed 5050 pounds. Or when I might want to make a giant collage o’ chocolate photos. They could come in handy.
It is only fitting then that my first blog baked good be made of chocolate. And what chocolate treat is better than a brownie! If you couldn’t guess from the image in my header, brownies and I have a secret love affair. Mmmmm. And so I bring to you, Cinnamon Walnut Brownies.
I used this as my inspiration but made a number of adjustments based on what I had on hand and where I wanted to take the recipe. Namely, adding cinnamon to the mix and thus giving the brownies their namesake. Here’s how mine ended up:
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Spray an 8 x 8-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside. In one bowl, mix whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together agave nectar, oil and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in walnuts. Spread into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Believe it or not, this was my first attempt at healthifying – it’s in the a dictionary – a brownie recipe. Brownies are sacred in my book – I like them dense and fudgy and insanely rich and don’t even try to give me anything less and say it’s a brownie. So I guess I was a bit intimidated at the prospect of replicating that perfection with more wholesome ingredients. My Cinnamon Walnut Brownies aren’t quite there yet, but they definitely have potential. Next time around, I’ll try baking them for 15 minutes or maybe lowering the oven temperature to 325*F to make them as gooey as brownie-ly – ok, that one’s not in the dictionary – possible. And I’ll for sure double the cinnamon and halve the vanilla to up the spice factor and let the cinnamon shine. That flavor was a bit too subtle for what I was going for.
There you have it! My first Sweet + Natural treat. Do you have a favorite healthy brownie recipe? If so, do share! But don’t forget my criteria…