Dark chocolate gives brownies health kick

Death by chocolate? Hardly.

We’ve all heard of the studies suggesting a few ounces of dark chocolate a week can be good for your health. And while chocolate does contain fat (from cocoa butter), a third of it is the same kind of healthier monounsaturated fat found in olive oil.

All this is good news, especially when you’re presented with a plate of rich, chocolaty brownies. But beware – all brownies are not created equally in the eyes of the nutritionist.

These Dark Chocolate Brownies with Sour Cherries are rich tasting, moist and chewy, and they sport an admirable dietary profile.

To start with, the batter is made with dark or bittersweet chocolate chips combined with unsweetened cocoa powder, which adds intense flavor without additional fat.

Plus, a batch of these brownies contains only one egg and a tablespoon and a half of canola oil rather than the stick of butter some recipes call for.

As with any sweet, a brownie is dense in calories, but these pack such a powerful chocolate punch you’ll be satisfied with a relatively small portion.

If you like, serve these brownies topped with a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream or a dollop of thick and creamy nonfat Greek-style yogurt.

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Sour Cherries

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet mini chocolate chips, divided

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup, blended with 3 tablespoons lukewarm water

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Pinch of salt

1 large egg

3/4 cup dried sour cherries

Position a rack in center of oven. Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the oil and half of the chocolate chips. Place the pan over the lowest heat and cook, stirring constantly, until just melted and smooth (be careful that the chocolate does not overheat).

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the granulated sugar, corn syrup mixture, almond extract and salt until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the egg until smoothly incorporated. Gently stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the cherries and the remaining 3 ounces chocolate chips just until well blended. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Bake until almost firm at the center and a toothpick comes out with some moist batter clinging to it, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours.

Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 brownies, wiping the blade with a damp cloth between cuts.

Yield: 12 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 192 calories, 6 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 2 grams protein 34 grams carbohydrate, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams dietary fiber, 33 milligrams sodium.

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