Let's be real here, some days you just want a big, fat slab of whatever chocolately, over-the-top rich deliciousness you can get your hands on. No matter what the caloric cost, you are going to eat it and not feel any guilt whatsoever. Cue the fat kid cake. To me, that type of indulgence is perfectly healthy every once in awhile.
But for those days when you still need your sugar fix without eating some sort of gut-bomb dessert, there has to be some lighter alternatives. That's where today's recipe comes in.
Baking with applesauce is not a new idea. I've added it to brownies before and regularly use it in muffins and cookies of all varieties (like these chocolate oatmeal ones).
Back to the brownie idea, applesauce can be substituted for some (not all) of the butter to help reduce the fat content. It will produce a brownie that is lighter than your traditional melted butter/melted chocolate recipe but where do you think all of that dense fudgy-ness is coming from? If you guessed melted butter/melted chocolate, you are basically a genius.
So what do we do to combat this and add in that extra richness? Well we don't just make brownie bites, we make cheesecake brownie bites. Now we can all have our brownies and eat them too! Ready, set, go!
Skinny Cheesecake Brownie BitesMakes 16
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Heat your oven to 350F. Prepare a 24 cup mini muffin tin by spraying it with PAM or other cooking spray. Whisk together the brown sugar, white sugar, egg, applesauce, oil and vanilla bean paste. Add the remaining dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Portion the batter into the greased mini muffin tins (you can use a mini cookie scoop or just a spoon). Then put a dollop of cheesecake batter on top of each (see recipe below). Depending on how you want the brownie bites to look you can swirl the cheesecake in with a toothpick (that's what I did) or you can pipe it onto one side of the brownie batter to create a half white/half brown effect. Bake at 350F for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool before removing them from the muffin tins. If you try to do it too soon you run the risk of them falling apart, they are on the delicate side. And if you find that they aren't coming out, gently run a knife around the outside of each and prod them out with a little encouragement. Talk nicely to the brownie bites while you do this and they will be kind to you (hopefully). Enjoy!
4 oz. light cream cheese
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract if you can't find it)
1 egg yolk
Cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in the vanilla and egg yolk, beating until everything is incorporated. Dollop on top of brownie batter and bake!