Growing up, I thought that all brownies came from a box. That was the only way we baked them, whether for a random Tuesday night dessert or a special slumber party treat. While the brand varied, the method stayed the same: pull out the eggs, oil, and water; stir everything together in the huge mixing bowl; spread the batter into the warped metal pan and pop it in the oven.
That all stemmed from my mom’s first brownie baking experience. As a 2nd grader, she had to bring a plate of homemade ones to a church bake sale. She pulled out a cookbook, found a recipe, and started measuring, but when she mixed the eggs into the hot melted chocolate, it immediately cooked them and she ended up with chocolate-covered scrambled eggs!
She refused to bake brownies from scratch ever since.
So up until I started this food blog, I made mine the same way: box mix, oil, eggs, and water. Finally, a little over a year ago, I courageously stepped outside my brownie comfort zone and decided to develop my own from-scratch recipe for the perfect lightened-up fudge brownies.
After multiple rounds of testing, I came up with these beauties, followed by these a few months later (a version made exclusively with cocoa powder and no melted chocolate) and these (a dark chocolate variation on the cocoa powder ones).
But all of those included all-purpose flour and granulated sugar, and that thought started nagging at me a few weeks ago until I set out to create a “clean eating” fudgy brownie recipe, one with entirely wholesome ingredients: whole wheat flour, maple syrup, and the works.
I’m SO proud to say that these Peppermint Drizzled Chocolate Fudge Brownies far exceeded all of my brownie expectations! They’re rich, dense, moist, chocolaty… Everything a brownie should be. These dark squares literally taste like you’re eating fudge—and not a single person ever guessed that they were healthy!
This easy recipe is basically as simple as a box mix. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet in another, and combine the two. You just need a fork. There isn’t any chocolate to melt! Because most of the chocolate flavor comes from cocoa powder, we’ll add equal amounts of that and flour for the richest, fudgiest taste.
Instead of refined granulated sugar, these healthier brownies are sweetened with maple syrup. No, they don’t taste like maple! Not even a hint or undertone. Make sure you use the real stuff—pure maple syrup—not the faux syrup I used to douse my pancakes in as a kid. You could probably substitute agave or honey if you preferred, although I haven’t tried myself.
For an extra bit of decadence, we’ll add a little chopped dark chocolate to the batter too. Choose a good-quality variety if you can; I went with Trader Joe’s red 72% pound-plus bar. Chocolate chips contain a stabilizer that prevents them from melting, but regular chocolate bars do melt while baking and create indulgent hidden pockets of chocolate. Ohmygoodness… They’re to die for!
For the fudgiest texture, we’ll bake these brownies low and slow, and try your very hardest to wait to cut into them for at least 8 hours. I know, I know… It’s pure torture seeing the pan on the counter! (It’s why I bake them the night before right before I head to bed: no temptations but lots of sweet dreams!) If you cut into them sooner, they’ll still taste a little cakey, but you can always seal the cut brownies inside of an airtight container and let them sit overnight to increase their fudge factor.
The peppermint drizzle is mindlessly easy: it’s just Greek yogurt, agave, and peppermint extract. Go easy on the peppermint extract! A little goes a long way, and you don’t want your drizzle to taste like toothpaste! You only need a drop or two. To make sure you don’t add more than that, measure the drops into a ¼-teaspoon measuring spoon, and pour any excess back into the bottle. Then drizzle over the brownies to your heart’s content!
So rich… So decadent… These Peppermint Drizzled Chocolate Fudge Brownies barely lasted 24 hours! The ultimate comfort food chocolate dessert, they disappeared much too quickly in our house full of chocoholics. Because really, who can resist brownies that taste like fudge?
I know I can’t… And I bet you can’t either!