Monday, July 28, 2014

No-Guilt Brownie Muffins

I was watching the Food Network the other day (one of my favorite pastimes), and an episode of Hungry Girl came on, with a focus on healthy swaps for common (fattening) snacks. One recipe seemed too easy to pass up: Lisa’s Yum Yum Brownie Muffins.

So I decided to give the two-ingredient recipe a whirl this past weekend. All you need is a box of devil’s food cake mix (chocolate cake mix will work, too) and a can of 100 percent pure pumpkin (be sure not to grab pumpkin pie filling!).

I followed the Hungry Girl recipe for the most part. I couldn’t find devil’s food cake mix (I was at Target, so my options were limited). At first I grabbed a box of Duncan Hines Classic Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix, but a look at the ingredients list changed my mind. The whole point of the recipe is to be healthy, and the list was long, hard to pronounce and a bit stomach-turning. (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil? Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids? No thank you.)

I quickly traded up to a box of Immaculate Chocolate Cake Mix. The all-natural mix is a couple bucks more but totally worth it. The ingredients are few and simple—exactly what you would use if making a cake from scratch.

To assemble, you just stir together the cake mix and pumpkin puree, which takes the place of added oil or eggs (and even butter or shortening with my cake mix). Because the batter is so thick and can be difficult to stir, I deviated from the recipe directions slightly by slowly incorporating the cake mix into the pumpkin in four batches. That made it much easier to stir, and much easier on my arm!

Once the batter was completely smooth, I deviated again and added a couple handfuls of chopped walnuts (I like a little crunch in my brownies, and my muffins, and nuts offer some healthy fat). I then scooped the sticky batter into a muffin pan lined with colorful baking cups (an ice cream scoop would be great for this job, but two spoons worked just fine!) and baked it in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes.

The finished brownie muffin was crisp on top—just how you want a muffin to be—and fudgy inside—like a perfect brownie. The husband loved them and I felt good knowing I could eat one (or two) guilt-free.

These would probably be divine served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream... But I settled for a cup of hazelnut coffee with a touch of cream instead.

Have you tried any healthy-yet-delicious dessert recipes lately? Do share!


  1. These do sound like a lot of fun, but ridiculously easy. Plus I'm a big pumpkin fan, although I'm guessing there's probably not a big pumpkin taste to them.

    1. I love pumpkin too, but you're right, these don't have much pumpkin flavor. The chocolate kind of takes over. But if you like fudgy brownies, then you'd love these!


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