Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pecan Brownie Cupcakes

Pecan Brownie Cupcakes

As a child my parents were very good about making sure that dessert was something saved only for birthdays and very special occasions. Our cakes and desserts, when we had them, were homemade with whole wheat flour, brown sugar and were made as natural and healthy as possible. Regardless of how they were made, for us they were still a huge treat! We never had candy, sweets or any processed sugary sweets, ever; looking back now I owe a big thank you to my Mum & Dad for that. We never had them, so we didn't miss them. Now, as an adult and being exposed to all sorts of good and not so good treats I am responsible to myself to maintain a healthy diet and keep those rules that my parents had for us as children and apply it to my adult life. But, lucky for me, I have found a way to bend that rule a little bit by making my desserts even healthier and more nutritious than how I had them as a child! Now I no longer have to wait till a special occasion to indulge on a dessert, with my healthy recipes I can have a cupcake a day and not worry about it spiking my insulin, giving me cavities, or gaining unhealthy weight. Horray! These brownies, high in protein, healthy fats and fiber and low in carbs are a nutritious and delicious way to go. 
I must have been about 11 or 12 years old the first time I had brownies out of a box. I’m not going to lie,  after that I was addicted to them! Chewy, moist, chocolaty and rich… that was how I liked them. I think it's safe to say that chocolate chip brownies are in my top two of favorite desserts. I’m sure many of you share this sentiment. So, healthy cooking project time… remake those brownies in the healthiest way possible so that I can have one every day and not feel guilty. Below, is my mission accomplished! 
Nom nom… J

6 egg whites, 1 whole eggs
½ cup coconut oil (melted)
½ cup almond or coconut flour
¼ cup Vital wheat Gluten (optional if you want more fluffy cupcakes)
1/3 cup sugar free maple syrup
1/4 cup powdered stevia
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup of fat free Greek Yogurt
2 scoops of Level 1 Milk Chocolate protein powder
2 tbsp vanilla extract

½ cup of cinnamon honey toasted pecans crumbled

Combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup, egg whites, vanilla extract, and Greek yogurt in a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or whisk. In a separate bowl combine the coconut flour, cocoa powder, protein powder, stevia, and vital wheat gluten flour (optional) in a bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend until thoroughly mixed.
Spray cupcake holders with Pam and fill cupcake holder’s ¾ of the way up. Sprinkle pecans on top and bake in oven at 350 for 20 minutes. Check for done-ness, depending on oven it may take longer. Brownie cupcakes are ready to be served. J

Directions for honey toasted pecans:
Take ¼ cup of honey & 2 tbsp of cinnamon and combine in a bowl and microwave until honey is thinner and more liquid. Toss in the pecans and mix until all the pecans are covered in honey. Place the pecans on a cookie sheet pan in oven for about 15 minutes on 375. Take out of oven and allow to completely cool. Crush with a mallet or blend in food processor.

Fun facts:
I came across Vital Wheat Gluten and wanted to try cooking with it. ¼ of a cup has 120 calories, no fat, and 23 grams of protein in it. Note that if you are gluten intolerant to not use this product at all.
Gluten, Vital Wheat is the natural protein found in wheat. It contains 75% protein. A small amount added to yeast bread recipes improves the texture and elasticity of the dough. This is often used by commercial bakeries to produce light textured breads, and can easily put the home bread baker on a par with the professionals. Vital Wheat Gluten can also be used to make a meat substitute known as seitan.

Variation: Had them for breakfast with eggwhites, maple syrup and cinamon. Kinda like a  healthy McMuffin :)

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