Dark chocolate quinoa brownies


This recipe "experiment" (yes, there's a reason for the quotes), has undergone several trials now, but not in the way you'd think. The truth is, I tried to swap, add to, cut back, and generally explore ways to reduce a little fat and sugar and sneak in a wee bit more nutrition. Yet, in spite of myself I kept making these delectable, fudgy, quinoa brownies I found on awesome blog, Poor Girl Eats Well. I kept telling myself with each baking that I was going to play with the recipe and adapt it, but I didn't.

In my defense, it wasn't laziness, or even pregnant chocolate cravings that stunted progress. It's just that the recipe yielded rich, chocolatey quinoa brownies that were pretty much perfect as is. And, they're satisfying, such as a small bite can suffice; they keep well in the fridge, too, making logical opportunities to experiment a bit spread out. Besides, dessert is dessert, and it's not like throwing in a few extra healthy ingredients changes the overall profile when it comes to a smart diet.

What saved the determination to tweak something, or a few little somethings, here and there, was I made the brownies for Lisa, one of our fabulous school secretaries. I knew she'd like them, but at the same time I felt sooo guilty, knowing health-conscious Lisa always appreciates a good experiment, not to mention careful reduction of extra calories.

When I think about it, I didn't really alter this (winning) recipe very much in the end, especially considering the thick and lustrous golden threads of thought that poured into the idea of altering it. I removed one egg and two tablespoons of butter. I even added a little sugar with the dates, though not necessarily in a bad way. And I did cut back just the teeniest wee bit on raw sugar.

So was it really worth it? It can go either way. The result was a little  "lighter", if just a bit, retaining super fudginess with that classic crisp-crumbly top coat. So changes definitely didn't hurt, in my opinion. At the same time, I'd be hard-pressed to say the recipe was improved. But I'll make this one again and again, too. Perhaps with just a teeny bit less guilt, but not enough of a difference that I'll be tempted to eat the whole pan. ;)

Lesson learned, therefore, could be, in theory: why mess with a good thing, just practice moderation instead. Only I can't deny that I haven't actually learned a lesson here. Experiments are fun. Deliciously so.


Dark chocolate quinoa brownies (Slightly modified from Poor Girl Eats Well)

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips/pieces (or 8 ounces coarsely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • (just under) 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup pureed dates (about 5, pitted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry (or gluten free) flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 generous teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup cooked quiona

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°.  Prepare a square baking pan (8″ x 8″)  and set aside.   Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

2.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over medium low heat, stirring frequently.  When melted and smooth, mix in the cocoa powder.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars. Add dates.  Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and mix well.  Gently fold in the flour mixture.  Last, stir in the cooked quinoa.

4.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting. *These taste great and super fudgey straight from the refrigerator!