At my university, the Chemistry Department required all first-year graduate students to enroll in two classes and three seminars during the first semester, and many of us taught two undergraduate chemistry lab sections as well. Although the seminars were fairly laid back (especially since the advisors in charge set out platters of cookies at each one!), the rest of our workload demanded almost all of our waking hours.
I set my alarm for 6 am every day throughout the week to squeeze in a workout and shower before my early morning Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry courses. Once those finished, I hopped on my bike to ride across campus to the undergraduate lab building, where I carefully wrote helpful hints about the experiments on the whiteboards before my students arrived two afternoons each week. On the other days, I found a quiet space to pour over my own homework sets before that afternoon’s seminar.
Needless to say, I rarely found time to bake… Let alone cook!
For lunches, I threw together sandwiches with extra veggies in the evenings to pack in my cute insulated lunch tote the next morning, and for dinner, I typically cooked a big batch of pasta or chicken with veggies to reheat throughout the week. But on midterm weeks, I rarely managed that, and I turned to my “emergency” stash of healthier frozen meals from Trader Joe’s.
With a huge sweet tooth, I always wanted a little treat after dinner (and as a reward for making it through my crazy chemistry-filled day!), so I typically grabbed a high-fiber chocolate snack bar from Trader Joe’s. They tasted just like brownies, complete with chocolate chips—my favorite dessert!
But if I had the time to bake, I definitely would’ve picked these Healthy Chocolate Chunk Brownie Thins instead! Unlike those delicious Trader Joe’s bars, they contain no butter, refined flour or sugar… And even with their incredibly rich flavor, they’re just 66 calories!
Basically my brownie-loving dream come true! 😉
To make these healthy brownie thins, you’ll start with cocoa powder and white whole wheat flour. Just regular ol’ unsweetened cocoa powder! You’re adding equal amounts of cocoa and flour, so these brownies already taste extra rich and chocolaty without Dutched or special dark cocoa powder. (Those other two also have a different acidity level, which can affect the taste and texture of your brownie thins!)
Although white whole wheat flour sounds like a bit of a paradox, it actually does exist… And it’s just as healthy as regular whole wheat flour! It’s made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat, which gives it a lighter taste and texture similar to that of all-purpose flour, but it still has the same nutrients and fiber as regular whole wheat flour. This makes it perfect for baking all sorts of treats, like muffins and cookies and, yes, even brownies!
It’s very important to measure the flour and cocoa powder correctly, using this method or a kitchen scale. Too much of either will dry out your brownie batter, and too much cocoa powder will make your brownie thins taste bitter instead of rich and chocolaty. For this reason, I highly recommend a kitchen scale! ← That’s the one I own, and it has been the best $20 I ever spent because it ensures my recipes turn out with the perfect taste and texture every time I make them.
You’ll skip the refined sugar and sweeten your brownie thins with pure maple syrup instead. Make sure you use the real kind! Skip the pancake syrups and sugar-free syrups because those can often behave differently in baking recipes. The only ingredient on the label should be “maple syrup,” and it generally comes in thin glass bottles or squat plastic jugs (like this!).
Once you’ve mixed up your brownie batter, you’ll use a spatula to spread it in a very thin layer on a silicone baking mat. Just ⅛” thick—and yes, I measured! I keep a ruler in the drawer with my measuring cups and spoons just for that purpose. I’m a total baking geek… What can I say? 😉 Then sprinkle the batter with finely chopped dark chocolate (this and this are two of my favorites!), pop it in the oven, and…
Hello chocolate bliss! 😉 And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy brownie thins!
Healthy Chocolate Chunk Brownie Thins
- ½ cup (60g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- ½ cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder (measured like this)
- ⅛ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp (14g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 large egg white, room temperature
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp (30g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 5 tbsp (75mL) pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp (30mL) nonfat milk
- 1 ½ tbsp (21g) finely chopped dark chocolate
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the Greek yogurt, mixing until no large lumps remain. Stir in the maple syrup. Alternate between adding in the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 3 equal parts.)
- Spread the batter onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer ⅛” thick. Sprinkle the dark chocolate evenly across the top, and gently press it into the brownie batter. Bake at 300°F for 11-15 minutes (11 minutes yields the fudgiest brownie thins; 15 minutes yields slightly firmer brownie thins). Cool completely to room temperature in the pan, and let the brownie thins sit for at least 3 hours at room temperature for the fudgiest texture before slicing into bite-sized pieces and serving.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Flourless Chocolate Chunk Brownie Bites
♡ Healthy Almond Joy Brownie Thins
♡ Healthy Fudgy Dark Chocolate Frosted Brownies
♡ Healthy Fudgy Dark Chocolate Orange Brownies
♡ Healthy Practically Flourless Extra Fudgy Brownies
♡ Healthy Fudgy Mocha Brownies with Coffee Drizzle
♡ Healthy Brownie Batter Protein Bars