I used to love marble peanut butter brownies when I was a kid. Peanut butter and chocolate just go together. When I started thinking about what kind of healthy holiday treat I wanted to make for Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s holiday recipe sharing session, I thought about brownies.
I attempted this recipe with a cool product that was recommended by a friend who is on Weight Watchers, Bell Plantation’s PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter. It’s a pretty good find, but it didn’t work well with this recipe. I’ve been using it in smoothies and it’s awesome for that. The brownies in the photos were made using the PB2. The recipe uses normal peanut butter, since I normally use regular peanut butter for these brownies. The PB2 didn’t bake quite as well as regular peanut butter, so it’s not as pretty. Still tasty!
The reason PB2 is so cool is that it’s only 45 calories a serving with just 5 grams carbs. Regular peanut butter is 188 calories and 6 grams of carbs. That’s a big difference in calories. That being said, sandwiches with it are not quite the same. I have a problem with weird textures, and this is weird. You’re supposed to mix it with water and turn it into “peanut butter,” but I can’t stand it. For the same reason, it’s not good on celery. It was ok in some cupcakes I tried it in, but not stellar. I thought it would work well in this prep, but it was just so-so. If you’re really looking to shave calories, it might be worth trying. For me, I think I’ll reserve it for smoothies. It tastes great in those, especially the chocolate and peanut butter variety.
Everyone has a low carb brownie recipe, but to keep this within the theme of the gluten free holiday blog roll, I made them low carb and gluten free using almond flour. It gives the brownies a nutty flavor.
Let’s talk about making almond flour. It’s one of my favorite flours, because it’s so easy and I always have almonds in the freezer. If you have a fancy blender, it only takes a few seconds to make a batch of it. If you have a food processor or coffee grinder, it might take a little longer, but you’ll get something useable.
Making almond flour really is as easy as putting some almonds in the blender and blending until they become flour. You have to keep an eye on it. If you blend too long, they’ll become almond butter (also delicious). I use a Vitamix. Since it gets hot, I use frozen almonds to make my flour. I find the results are better, and they don’t go as easily to almond butter. After grinding the flour, I always push it through a strainer to be sure I have any big pieces or butter out. After straining, it comes out almost as fine as processed almond flour. You’ll notice you still get some nut pieces (you can see them in the brownie photos). You wouldn’t get those with commercial flours. You could process your flour twice, or in smaller batches, and eliminate those, or just enjoy the nut pieces. I’m lazy. I enjoy them.
Because of the almond flour, peanut butter and eggs, these things are protein packed! It’s like eating a delicious protein shake. Each 2 by 1.5 brownie is about 5 grams of protein (a normal 2 by 1.5 brownie has 2.7 grams). A person of my size requires 44 grams of protein a day, and I don’t get even half that on most days.. That means I should eat an entire pan of these, right? No? Oh well, worth a shot.
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- 1 cup of stevia mix for baking (Fructevia)
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla
- ½ cup dutch cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cup almond flour
- ½ teaspoon of baking powder (optional)
- Peanut Butter Topping:
- ⅓ cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 tablespoons stevia mix for baking (Fructevia)
- 1 tablespoon almond flour
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 8 by 8 pan with parchment.
- Mix butter with cocoa powder, vanilla, almond flour and salt. If you're using baking powder, add it now. If you add baking powder, your brownies will be more cake-like. They'll be denser and moister if you don't. Please note that baking powder is not always gluten free.
- Beat eggs with stevia until doubled.
- Mix chocolate mixture with eggs until just combined.
- Pour into prepared pan. Spread out evenly.
- To make peanut butter mixture, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Please note, when I used powdered peanut butter, I used 4 tablespoons. You also need to add water to get the right consistency (it should be the consistency of brownie batter).
- You have two options. You can spread the peanut butter mixture evenly on top of the brownie mixture (pictured). If you want them to look marbled, drop the peanut butter mixture by spoonful about 2-3 inches apart. Use the back of a spoon or knife to "swirl" the peanut butter mixture into the chocolate. I couldn't get the powdered peanut butter to marble like regular peanut butter (it doesn't get as creamy) so you may be stuck with layering if you use it.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Cut into pieces. I cut mine into 20 small pieces, but I like a bite sized brownie.
|These use powdered peanut butter. Low calorie, but not quite like real peanut butter.|
If you use the powdered peanut butter, one serving is 119 calories, with only 2.2 grams of carbs. If you’re eating a small serving, it doesn’t really cut that much out, so I saw go for the gusto and use the real stuff. If you’re eating Panera Bread sized brownies, it might make a difference.
It’s probably worth pointing out that a regular brownie of similar size (a small one, not Panera Bread size) is 243 calories, 39 carbs and 10 grams of fat. That’s not even for a peanut butter covered brownie. We have more fat here, but I bet it’s mostly because of the peanut butter (2 tablespoons of peanut butter has 15 grams of fat).