Chocolatey, fudgy and moreish morsels of yum. It’s got all the right crunch of almonds, gooeyness of semi-melted choc chunks, and darkness of the cocoa (and dark chocolate) for a not-too-sweet decadent dessert.
Dark chocolate vs Milk chocolate
Both dark and milk chocolate contain cocoa (from the cocoa bean). You may think that opting for dark chocolate (whether you like it or not) would be a health-savvy choice, but you may find a different story if you flip over to the nutritional information panel of your choc block pack.
Block for block, dark chocolate generally do contain less sugar than milk chocolate varieties, but in terms of fat both chocolate types are pretty similar. At the end of the day, the principle of enjoying your chocolate in moderation remains the same.
Read my verdict on dark vs milk choc, and find out more about the all-important cocoa in my blog post here.
Better binders than butter
Classic slices and brownies use butter to combine the ingredients, but this adds a hella lot of saturated fat which hurt your heart by increasing your bad cholesterol level (LDL). Your daily limit of saturated fat is 7% of your daily energy intake, which is around 16g for the average adult. Where else can you find a lot of saturated fats? Butter, palm oil (also called vegetable oil), coconut milk, full fat cheese and fatty meats. Want more information? Find out here.
Instead, this recipe uses fruit puree which slashes the saturated fat AND added sugars by using the natural sweetness of fruits. Plus, this will add a nifty bit of fruit into your decadent dessert.
You’ll notice that sugar is still added to this recipe – a regular chocolate slice could have anything up to 2 cups of sugar in the recipe, so these slices will save you 50% of the usual added sugar (that’s up to 5 teaspoons)! World Health Organisation recommends us to limit our sugar to less than 12 teaspoons per day (that’s around 50g). A single can of soft drink could have up to 10 teaspoons of sugar – that’s a terribly sweet mouthful! For more information on the recommendations for added sugar, click here.
Serves: 16 squares
Costs: $7.80 ($0.49 per square)
Cooking time: 25 mins (+ 10 mins cooling time)
- 1 cup unsweetened apple or banana puree (e.g. Heinz 100% fruit pouches or jars)
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ cup wholemeal self-raising flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup 70% dark chocolate, broken into bite-sized chunks (I used Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Mild Dark)
- ¾ cup (70g) unsalted roasted almonds, roughly chopped
- Icing sugar or extra cocoa powder, to dust (optional)
Let’s get cooking:
- Preheat oven to 175oC and line a square lamington or cake tin with baking paper.
- Pour apple puree into large mixing bowl. Add in cocoa, flour and baking soda. Add sugar and salt and fold to mix until just combined – do not over-mix as this would lead to tough, “heavy” brownies. Fold in chocolate and almonds.
- Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth top with back of a spoon. Bake for 15-20 mins or until the top is dry when touched and a skewer comes out slightly fudgy.
- Cool the slices in the tin for 5-10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice into 16 squares. Dust slices with sifted icing sugar or extra cocoa powder, if using.
- Swap apple puree for any other unsweetened fruit puree, such as banana, mango, pear or berry. You could even mash overripe bananas as a substitute.
- Swap the sugar for a sugar substitute such as Stevia, if you prefer. Or if you’re a bitter fan, you can omit the sugar altogether – you’ll end up with slightly less batter though.
- Swap almonds for any other roasted unsalted nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts or macadamia. Adding walnuts gives you heart- and brain-boosting omega-3 healthy fats.
- If you prefer a smoother texture to your slice, swap out the whole almonds for almond butter or peanut butter.
One square contains 1.5 teaspoons equivalent of added sugars.
|Total fat (g)||6.6|
|– Saturated fat (g)||2.1|
|– Sugars (g)||8.7|
Recipe inspiration by the Australian Healthy Food Guide