16 January 2016

Cherry & Pistachio Brownies [Low In Saturated Fat]

The media is full of conflicting arguments on what is and isn't good for us, and the facts behind them are not always black and white. For instance, I thought that all fats were bad until I started analysing foods for their fatty acid composition (saturates, monounsaturates or polyunsaturates) at work.

My boss had studied lipids for his masters degree, and could identify olive oil just by looking at the chromatogram we use to obtain results on its fat composition. From his imparted knowledge about what fats do in the body, I learned that not all fat is bad; saturates are essentially bad for you, whereas mono- and polyunsaturates are generally good for you. Of course it's possible to get too much of a good thing, but the latter two types of fat are the "good fats" you hear about in the media, for instance avocados are high in monounsaturates.

For more information about this topic, there's a great article all about fats over at Vox.

I am in no way professing to know all about the pros and cons of different types of fat, but the knowledge that I have gleaned has taught me that eating foods lower in saturates is no bad thing. Therefore, I thought that brownies low in saturates would be great for Cake Of The Week's Healthy(ish) January.

To achieve the "low in saturated fat" claim, I had to swap butter for olive oil. This was not the simple switch I thought it would be; it turns out that using the same quantity of oil left the original brownies swamped in excess oil, so much so that I had to dab them with paper towels! Appealing, I know. In my second attempt, I used this advice from Nigella.com and opted for 80% butter weight for the oil. As always, the recipe for the brownies is based on my Healthy Brownies. The end result was almost exactly like a normal brownie, but with a denser, less cakey, texture. The oil flavour was just detectable, but considering that oil gives baked goods different properties to butter, I am very pleased with this result. My colleagues were so impressed that they went back for seconds.


  • 200g Dark Chocolate
  • 250g Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • 225g Plain Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 75g Cocoa Powder
  • 100g Pistachios, shelled and chopped
  • 100g Glace Cherries, chopped
  • Preheat the oven to 180C and line two 9" square cake tins (or one 18" tin) with baking parchment.
  • In a medium saucepan, break up the chocolate and add the oil. Melt over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, then add the eggs. Use a spoon to break them up and ensure that they are well combined with the chocolate mixture.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into the chocolate mixture and fold in. Stir until well combined.
  • Add the pistachios and glace cherries, stirring well to ensure they are evenly spread throughout the mixture.
  • Divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Check that the top of the mixture is firm, but a skewer should come out with a lot of semi-firm mixture on it still. The brownie will continue to firm up and cook as it cools. If the top is still wobbling, return to the oven for another few minutes before checking again, and so on.
  • Once the brownies are cool, slice up using a sharp knife (I got 18, but it really depends on how big or small you make them). Store in a cool, dry place.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Did you try this recipe? Let me know what you think! Comments are always appreciated. Unless they are spam.