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Low Fat Fudgy Brownies

Low Fat Fudgy Brownie Wedge

I happened to catch an episode of the America’s Test Kitchen TV show this past weekend and was suprised – and delighted – to see that it was about making low-fat versions of two chocolate favorites: brownies and chocolate mousse. Naturally, I quickly scrounged around for a pen and something to write on (I ended up with a napkin – which, incidentally, I do not recommend for general recipe writing because it’s too easy to accidentally thrown them away while you’re working in the kitchen) before they read out the recipes so that I could give them a try.

I decided to make the brownies first. The goal for the test kitchen crew was to come up with a low fat brownie recipe that (a) tasted as good as full-fat brownies, (b) didn’t need a tiny portion size to qualify as low in fat and (c) didn’t have any unusual, non-brownie ingredients in them. As a result, these brownies don’t use any applesauce, prune butter, etc., even though they only have 2 tablespoons of butter! The trick, it turns out, is to play up the chocolate flavor of the brownies as much as possible without focusing only on the added fat. The brownies use both cocoa powder and some melted chocolate for richness.

I ended up making a couple of adjustments to the recipe anyway, but the brownies were great. They did taste like “regular” brownies and had a very strong, rich chocolate flavor. They had a chewy/fudgy texture and, although they still felt less dense than a traditional fudgy brownie, they were super satisfying. They definitely did not taste low fat and I would say that they had a much better texture than most of the “low fat” brownies that I’ve tried because they were not cakey or gummy.
delicious, with a lovely chew and a fudgy feel. don’t taste low fat or light at all. excellent dakr chocolate flavor.

The two big changes I made were using a round cake pan to make a slightly thicker brownie than the original recipe would have made and leaving out the “secret ingredient.” The ATK secret ingredient for this recipe is Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Adding only a tablespoon or two of it to the batter will, supposedly, enhance the chocolate flavor of the brownies and help give them a shiny top. Mine didn’t have a shiny top, but I don’t think that I really missed out on much by not adding the syrup, especially since it is corn syrup based.

Low Fat Fudgy Brownies
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2-oz bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp low fat sour cream or yogurt
1 large egg
1 egg white
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and lightly grease it.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl, melt together bittersweet chocolate and butter. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk chocolate mixture with sugars and sour cream. Whisk in egg, egg white and vanilla extract. Gently mix in the flour mixture, mixing until no streaks of flour remain. Batter will be thick.
Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.
Cool brownies completely in the pan. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 12 brownie wedges.

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  • sharon
    May 30, 2008

    I’ve never had much luck with low fat brownies. The last batch I made were low fat zucchini brownies which were barely edible after the first day. I’ll be interested to try these and see if they’re more successful! They sure look good.

  • Charlsie Swadley
    May 30, 2008

    This looks delish, I love how they don’t use so many weird ingredients like so many “low fat” recipes.

  • Mary
    May 31, 2008

    These look really good. I am curious how they tasted after a few days. Cooking Light’s cookies and brownies tend to become rocks after about day 2.

  • giz
    May 31, 2008

    I’m always looking for lower fat treats – as much as the full fat ones are soooo good….being health conscious is not just a fad. These are getting a tag and a test run in my kitchen.

    I do the napkin thing too and it’s even harder trying to write when all you have is a marking pen to write with lol.

  • Nicole
    May 31, 2008

    Mary – The brownies are still good for a couple of days, and definitely don’t get hard at all in an airtight container. They will dry out a bit after a while, so if you’re planning to try and make one batch last for a very long time, I’d recommend freezing them instead of storing them at room temperature.

  • akademiker krankenversicherung
    May 31, 2008

    The last batch I made were low fat zucchini brownies which were barely edible after the first day.

  • Ann
    June 1, 2008

    I love Test Kitchen and my CI magazine in general. After making my last brownie, I don’t know if I can make any other – but I may need to give these a whirl… ­čÖé

  • Steph
    June 1, 2008

    Your brownies look amazing! I made these brownies before and I must admit that they are the best fudgy low fat brownies. I would recommend the other low fat brownie recipe from CI if you like something more cakelike. I actually prefer low fat brownies over regular brownies because they are not overly rich!

  • Ashley
    June 2, 2008

    That brownie looks really good! I’ve been wanting to try and make healthier treat type baked goods (cookies, cakes, brownies). Thanks for posting this! ­čÖé

  • Shubha
    June 3, 2008

    Awesome is all I can say… This looks amazing.. and yummmm
    First time to ur blog and i loved it… would love to see u in my blog…:)

  • Erin
    June 11, 2008

    I made these today and they are amazing! Very fudgy and delicious. I used up some Scharffen Berger I had left–that probably made the difference! Thanks for the recipe, I’m sure I’ll be making it again.

  • KEN
    July 24, 2008

    Hey. Why don’t you do yogurts too! They’re like lovely.

  • aaedible
    November 28, 2008

    Made these tonight — a thoroughly indulgent version with Valrhona powder and Dagoba chocolate (but nonfat yogurt). I futzed around with the order of ingredients, but…Wow. Fabulously decadent with a little less guilt than my usual (James Beard) brownie recipe.

  • Sara
    March 27, 2009

    I made these last weekend and they were by far the best lowfat brownie I’ve ever made. I halved the recipe, used half hersey’s dark powder and half ghiradelli powder, and regular Baker’s semisweet chocolate sqaures. I also made them in a 9X5 loaf pan and made 8 to keep the portion size in check – this made them pretty thin but still fudgy and great! Oh, and I used the ice water bath cooling method. Thanks so much for this recipe.

  • Barbara
    April 3, 2009

    Here’s the skinny on these brownies,

    Very good taste but dry as hell, had to put it in a cup and eat with a spoon. Will put it on ice cream next. But like i
    said the taste is excellent.

  • JT
    April 12, 2009

    This is the first low fat brownie recipe that I would say…..good!!!!!!! Not bad at all!!! Not gummy like some low fat brownies are….good taste to it. I put in a bit more chocolate powder and used semisweet chocolate squares. Am on low fat diet so no butter and used egg whites from the carton. All in all….will make this again….my sweet tooth will be happy for a while. Thanks!!!

  • Sarah
    April 27, 2009

    What are the calories per serving for these brownies?

  • AJ
    July 26, 2009

    This was so so so good! I have tried out quite a few low fat recipies of yours and they are all consistently good. Thanks a lot. And yes! I added the chocolate syrup and I don’t know if it made an extra difference, just was wonderfully chocolatey!

  • Jessie Sanders
    January 15, 2010

    I just made these and they are sooo good! I took them to a friends house the next day and she couldn’t believe they were low fat.

  • chocolate lover
    February 24, 2010

    When I watched the show they added 1 or 2 T. of chocolate syrup. I make them twice a month…sooo good! My favorite recipe!!!

  • Christopher M
    September 2, 2010

    The 2 tbsp low fat sour cream or yogurt make it low-fat? Is this a joke?

  • Nicole
    September 9, 2010

    Christopher – Actually, they’re a bit lower in fat because they use less butter than most brownie recipes. They also use cocoa powder and a small amount of chocolate, while some other brownie recipes use quite a bit of dark or milk chocolate in them.

  • kristi
    October 20, 2010

    would you mind emailing me with the calories, fat, and fiber (if any) in each serving of this? thanks!

  • moriah
    March 18, 2011

    I had to replace the brown sugar with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 Tbls. molasses, so this may have contributed to the overly sweetness of these brownies, I doubt it.
    Texture is great and they really are chewy, but next time I will cut the sugar.

  • Nicole
    March 18, 2011

    Moriah – Glad you had good results! Post back after you try the brownies with reduced sugar. Sugar contributes to the fudginess of the brownies, so keep a close eye on the baking time if you do reduce the sugar, as the brownies could dry out faster in the oven!

  • Marie
    June 13, 2011

    I just made these and omitted the extra egg white. I also upped the cocoa to flour ratio, replaced some of the granulated sugar with Stevia and powdered sugar, and added only 1 oz. melted semisweet chocolate chips. Delicious! I was skeptical about how “fudgy” they’d be, but fudgy they were! It’s a rare low-fat brownie recipe that produces such a lovely texture.

  • meghan
    July 27, 2011

    What I enjoyed about these was the texture, they actually are fudgy, thick, and almost chewy, how a brownie should be and what is usually lacking with low fat recipes. They weren’t really chocolatey enough for me, I think if some chocolate chips were added they were be super decadent and delicious!

  • Danielle
    September 20, 2011

    Hi! I was thinking about trying out this recipe. Sadly I don’t happen to have any yogurt… has anyone tried it with sour cream? It’s just sour cream in a brownie doesn’t seem so appetizing. Anyone know if I’m wrong?!

  • Victoria
    October 30, 2013

    I have been on a quest to find a low(er) fat fudgy brownie and saw the America’s Test Kitchen recipe but didn’t want to start a ‘trial’ subscription just to see the recipe. I am SO glad I continued to look as I happened upon your site and this recipe. This is my 3rd batch in as many days, trying different recipes. They are just out of the oven and I can already tell they are going to be good.

    I know this post is years old as are the comments, but wanted to reach out with a thank you!

  • Nicole
    October 30, 2013

    Victoria – I’m glad you found it! I hope you find a few other recipes in my archives, as well!

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