During the spring of my junior year of high school, a good friend of mine invited me to her birthday party. Because we had met multiple years earlier at a backpacking summer camp and she actually lived three towns away, I knew none of her other friends, but I still replied with an emphatic yes.
Unlike most teenage birthday parties, my friend invited everyone over for a four-course dinner party at her house, which she cooked entirely by herself. I loved the concept, so I offered to come over a couple of hours early to help her with some of the food prep (and dishes!).
Just before everyone arrived in the late afternoon, my friend set out a few trays of bite-sized appetizers on the coffee table in her living room, and she introduced me to her school friends as they knocked on the door and nibbled on the delicious homemade food. Not too long after, she invited us to sit at the long dining table, and her mom helped her bring in each course.
We started with warm homemade bread rolls and fresh seasonal greens salads, then moved on to tortellini served alongside grilled asparagus and cherry tomatoes. To end the meal, instead of a cake, my friend had baked decadent fudgy chocolate brownies topped with luscious chocolate mousse and dark chocolate covered espresso beans.
Although many people at the dinner table felt incredibly stuffed by the time dessert rolled around, I had saved lots of room. Dessert is my favorite part of any meal, especially when that much chocolate is involved!
When I overheard a couple chatting about what drinks to bring to a dinner party while grocery shopping last week, I smiled as the memories of my friend’s birthday party floated through my mind. And of course, I ended up craving brownies…
So I baked these Healthy Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting! They’re supremely decadent, absolutely bursting with rich chocolate flavor, and they basically have the same luxurious texture as squares of fudge. Paired with the creamy peanut butter frosting on top (and dark chocolate covered espresso beans, as a nod to my friend’s birthday dessert!), they taste just as indulgent as any traditional brownies made with lots of butter and heavy cream…
Yet these contain no heavy cream whatsoever, and no refined flour or sugar either, along with just 88 calories! That’s true brownie bliss in my book!
So let’s go over how to make these healthy fudgy dark chocolate brownies with peanut butter frosting!
You’ll start with the brownies, which require white whole wheat flour and unsweetened cocoa powder. I highly recommend regular unsweetened cocoa powder, like this, instead of Dutched or special dark cocoa powder. Those latter two actually taste less intense (and more bland!) compared to regular unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe. You’re actually using just as much cocoa powder as flour, so your healthy fudgy dark chocolate brownies will definitely taste really rich and decadent!
I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again… White whole wheat flour actually exists, and it’s not a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and whole wheat flour! Instead, it’s made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat (hence the name!), whereas regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. They have the same health benefits, like extra fiber, but white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture… Which lets the rich flavor and fudgy texture of your healthy dark chocolate brownies truly shine!
Just remember, it’s extremely important to measure the flour and cocoa powder correctly, using this method or a kitchen scale. (← That’s the one I own and love!) Too much of either ingredient will dry out your batter and make your brownies crumbly, instead of moist and fudgy. Too much cocoa powder will also make your brownies taste bitter. And since you’re probably not a fan of that, I promise it’s worth taking the ten extra seconds to properly measure so your healthy dark chocolate brownies turn out supremely rich, decadent, and fudgy!
Whereas traditional recipes often call for a full stick or two of butter, along with whole milk or heavy cream, this recipe definitely does not! Instead, you just need 1 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil and no whole milk or heavy cream. That really helps keep your healthy fudgy dark chocolate brownies low fat and low calorie!
But I promise they still taste really rich and fudgy! That’s all thanks to one of my favorite healthy baking ingredients. If you’ve browsed through my recipes before, you probably know what that is…
Greek yogurt! Greek yogurt adds the same moisture to your batter as extra butter or oil but for a fraction of the calories. It also gives your healthy fudgy dark chocolate brownies a protein boost! I call that a win-win. Wouldn’t you??
You’ll also skip the refined granulated sugar found in many traditional brownie recipes and sweeten yours with coconut sugar instead. Coconut sugar is exactly what it sounds like: an unrefined sweetener that comes from coconuts. However, it does not actually taste like coconuts! It has a caramel-like flavor, similar to brown sugar, which adds a lovely richness to the flavor of your healthy fudgy dark chocolate brownies. You can often find it on the baking aisle right next to the other sugars!
Almost time to bake! This batter is fairly thick, with a consistency almost like really wet cookie dough or somewhat thick muffin batter, so you’ll need to spread it evenly across your pan. I prefer pans like this one that have true square edges instead of rounded ones!
You’ll bake your healthy fudgy dark chocolate brownies low and slow, at just 300°F for 15 minutes. When you pull your pan out of the oven, the center should still look glossy and underdone, while the edges should look firm and fully baked through. By letting the pan of brownies cool completely to room temperature on your counter, the heat from the warm pan continues to cook the center without over-baking or drying out the edges!
For the fudgiest texture, wait at least 6 hours before slicing into your healthy dark chocolate brownies! They’ll have a cakier texture if you cut into them while they’re still warm. Letting them rest on the counter for that long creates the most magical fudgy texture imaginable!
Tip: If you can’t wait 6 hours after your pan has cooled completely to room temperature, then put your pan in the fridge for at least an hour to speed up the fudgification process! (Can we agree that “fudgification” is now a word? Pretty please??)
Time to make the healthy peanut butter frosting! And it actually starts with… More Greek yogurt! Greek yogurt creates an incredible rich and creamy texture in frosting. I’ve used it to make so many frosting recipes!
You’ll also mix in homemade creamy peanut butter, a little liquid stevia (this one!), and instant pudding mix. Yes, I know instant pudding mix sounds like a strange ingredient for frosting… But when mixed with the Greek yogurt, it thickens the frosting to create a texture that’s just like regular buttercream!
Tip: If you can’t find instant pudding mix or prefer not to use it, then check out the Notes section of the recipe. I’ve provided an alternative there!
Now all that’s left to do is spread your healthy peanut butter frosting on top of your fudgy dark chocolate brownies, slice them into squares, press a few optional (but highly recommended!) dark chocolate covered espresso beans into the frosting for garnish…
And try not to eat half the pan at once! 😉 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 fudgy dark chocolate brownies with peanut butter frosting!
Healthy Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting
FOR THE BROWNIES
- ¾ cup (90g) white whole wheat flour or gluten free* flour (measured like this)
- ¾ cup (60g) unsweeteened cocoa powder (measured like this)
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp (14g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ½ cup (96g) coconut sugar
- 6 tbsp (90mL) nonfat milk
FOR THE FROSTING
- 1 cup (240g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 3 tbsp (48g) homemade creamy peanut butter
- 1 serving (8g) sugar-free, fat-free vanilla instant pudding mix (see Notes!)
- ⅜ tsp liquid stevia (or adjusted to taste)
- optional: dark chocolate covered espresso beans (for topping)
- Preheat the oven to 300°F, and lightly coat an 8”-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- To prepare the brownies, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, and vanilla. Stir in the Greek yogurt, mixing until no large lumps remain. Stir in the coconut sugar. Stir in the milk. Add in the flour mixture, stirring until just incorporated.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 300°F for 15-19 minutes (15 minutes yields the fudgiest brownies; 19 minutes yields slightly cakier brownies). Cool completely to room temperature in the pan, and let the brownies sit for at least 6 hours once at room temperature for the fudgiest texture before frosting and serving.
- To prepare the frosting, add the Greek yogurt, peanut butter, instant pudding, and liquid stevia to a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Cover the top of the bowl with foil, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Once the brownies have completely cooled and rested for 6 hours, spread the frosting on top just before serving.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Fudgy Dark Chocolate Frosted Brownies
♡ Healthy Practically Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie Bars with Chocolate Frosting
♡ Healthy Fudgy Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Brownies
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Fudgy Chocolate Chunk Brownies
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy brownie recipes!
Ashlyn @ F5 Method says...
I love using Greek yogurt for added moisture as well! It’s a great healthy swap that actually adds a wonderful texture to baked goods. And let me just say, these bars look SO elegant!
You’re so sweet — thanks Ashlyn!! I completely agree about Greek yogurt. It’s one of my all-time favorite ingredients! 🙂
These brownies look and sound amazing! Perfect for a healthy snack!
Thanks so much Natalie! You’re so sweet! 🙂
Is it possible to make these with almond flour?
Yes, almond flour works fine in this brownie recipe! I can’t wait to hear what you think of them Ruth!
jermaine gray says...
you write lovely content I like it very much I will follow your blog from now on, and its the first I will be hearing of white whole wheat flour and I am vegetarian, I must look for it. thumbs up and keep bringing good content.
Thank you so much for your kind words! I’d love to hear what you think if you try these brownies! 🙂
I have this type of Vanilla instant pudding…GramZero Sugar Free Pudding Mix, Stevia Sweetened, Vanilla. Do you think I still need to add the liquid Stevia to the frosting?
I really appreciate your interest in my recipe Rachel! Yes, still add the liquid stevia to the frosting. The instant pudding mix alone won’t provide enough sweetness. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear what you think of these brownies!