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Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe

December 23, 2011 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic pairing of savory and sweet. The trouble is that most incarnations of this delectable combination aren’t very good for you. And, while an occasional treat is fine for most, eating such desserts regularly is clearly ill advised. That’s why I made it my mission to create a recipe that will please both your body and palate. Your taste buds will suspect they’re being treated to something naughty, but the rest of you will know you’re having something nice.

In Greek, Theobraoma cacao (cocoa) translates to “food of the gods”. Scientists are understandably reluctant to use descriptions of this sort. However, many researchers enthusiastically endorse the value of this fermented fruit due to a growing body of scientific evidence. The latest batch of studies pertaining to cocoa indicate that it has preventive value in the arena of heart disease. Some publications also reveal therapeutic potential for those with preexisting cardiovascular concerns. According to a recent German summary, “consumption up to about 25 g daily of flavanol rich dark chocolate (ca. 85% cocoa content) can be recommended for cardiovascular prevention”. The same summary cites population studies in Europe and the United States that demonstrate “a 50% reduction in mortality due to a reduction of myocardial infarction” in frequent chocolate eaters. What’s more, preliminary evidence in animal models suggests that the benefits of cocoa intake extend to other areas of well-being, including protection against colon cancer and liver damage.

Healthy Fellow Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

1 1/4 cup organic, unsweetened, creamy peanut butter
1 cup unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
3/4 cup organic, non-alkalized cocoa powder
4 large, organic, omega-3 eggs
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup erythritol crystals
25 drops of liquid stevia
1 Tbs. organic apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs organic vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda (aluminum free)
1/4 tsp organic instant coffee
1/4 tsp sea salt or salt substitute

Nutritional Content: Calories: 160. Protein: 7 grams. Fat: 13 grams. Fiber: 4 grams. “Net” Carbohydrates: 4 grams. Based on a serving size of one brownie. There are 15 brownies per batch.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place the dry ingredients (baking soda, cocoa, coffee, erythritol and sea salt) into a large mixing bowl and stir well. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl or large measuring cup and add in the almond milk, apple cider vinegar, liquid stevia and vanilla extract. Combine the dry and liquid ingredients in the large mixing bowl. Add one cup of peanut butter and reserve a 1/4 cup for later. Use an electric hand mixer to blend the dry and wet components into a silky batter. Coat the bottom and sides of an 8″ x 11.5″ glass baking dish with a non-stick spray. Transfer the batter into the baking dish. Bake for 5 minutes and carefully remove from oven. Sprinkle the chocolate chips into the unset brownie base evenly. Also dollop the remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter on top of the partially baked brownies using a teaspoon. Put the unset brownies back into the oven for an additional 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool prior to enjoying.

Peanut Butter Intake May Reduce Diabetes Incidence

Source: JAMA. 2002 Nov 27;288(20):2554-60. (link)

An important issue that needs to be addressed with regard to this recipe is the peanut butter aspect. An estimated 2% of children are allergic to peanuts. In fact, this popular legume is one of the most prevalent food allergies in youngsters, with the potential for severe and even fatal reactions. But, for the majority of adults and children, peanuts actually present a reasonable, nutrient dense option that tends to support cardiovascular and diabetic health. Peanuts and peanut butter can also aid in the promotion of healthier weight management by satisfying hunger and nutritional requirements.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Consumption of Cocoa, Tea and Coffee and Risk of Cardiovascular (link)

Study 2 - Cocoa and Dark Chocolate in Cardiovascular Prevention? (link)

Study 3 – Flavonoid-Rich Cocoa Consumption Affects Multiple Cardiovascular(link)

Study 4 - Cardiovascular Effects of Flavanol-Rich Chocolate in Patients with … (link)

Study 5 - Dose-Dependent Increases in Flow-Mediated Dilation Following Acute (link)

Study 6 – The Effect of Cocoa Supplementation on Hepatic Steatosis, Reactive (link)

Study 7 - Cocoa-Rich Diet Prevents Azoxymethane-Induced Colonic Preneoplastic (link)

Note: This will be my final column of 2011. I’ll be back with all new content on Wednesday, January 4th. I want to take this opportunity to thank you each and every one of you for supporting my work here and helping to get the word out about evidence-based natural medicine. Every day, I see proof positive that we’re making a difference. You have my gratitude and my sincerest wishes for a healthy and joyful holiday season.

Be well!

JP

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7 Comments & Updates to “Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe”

  1. liverock Says:

    JP

    When you finally decide to open your Healthy Foods restaurant I will be flying out to CA for the grand opening!!

    Until then Happy Christmas to You and Your Fanily!

  2. JP Says:

    Ha! Perhaps one day, Liverock. And, if/when we do, we’ll save a premium table for you. :)

    I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and all the best in 2012!

    Be well!

    JP

  3. Caryn Says:

    Very nice! I expected it to have flour in the recipe. What a pleasant surprise. It is a healthier version of chocolate thunder from down under. In our house we use sunbutter instead of peanut butter. I also experimented with xyla and brown sugar made from coconut this winter. I’m not a fan of stevia. I don’t like the taste. Where do you get your liquid stevia from? And have you ever tried xylitol?

  4. JP Says:

    Hi, Caryn.

    The liquid stevia I used in this recipe is by a manufacturer called NuNuturals. In my experience, the key to successful stevia use is finding the right amount to use. Brands also vary in flavor to some extent. But, quantity is paramount. Too much or too little can ruin a recipe, IMO.

    I have tried xylitol. However, I prefer erythritol because it doesn’t have the “cooling” effect that xylitol sometimes imparts. Also, erythritol tends to yield a chewier texture to recipes … which is helpful when replacing flour containing gluten.

    Be well!

    JP

  5. Guest Says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I really like it! I love that you list your sources. Every time I read “news” articles about what ‘new studies are finding…’, I ALWAYS wonder, “WHAT studies?!” What were the details, variables, etc. I realize it is a time-consuming task, and I Thank You for your work!

    I was getting ready to call it a night when I saw you even had a Recipes section, which I HAD to peek at! This recipe sounds great, and I HATE the fact that I’m going to be one of THOSE people. You know, the ones that seem to always ask a stupid question (ergo the anonymity -Sorry!). But I am REALLY curious. So, with apologies, here goes:

    1) In your gorgeous picture, did you spread the chocolate chips OVER the peanut butter after baking, or did you add more chips for a final layer?

    2) When you (painstakingly, I imagine) apply the peanut butter layer on top -by teaspoon, do you spread it to a uniform layer, or do you leave it in tiny mounds over the top and it spreads to an even layer during baking?

    Thank you for your time – and blog!

  6. JP Says:

    I’m sorry for the delay in my response! And, thank you for your kind words! They’re much appreciated!

    At long last, allow me to reply to your questions:

    Two things: 1) It’s been a while since I made this recipe. 2) The photos I post may be pretty, but my recipes tend to be more “rustic”. ;)

    When I make this recipe, I tend to sprinkle the chocolate chips in first and then dollop the peanut butter afterwards – using a teaspoon. I don’t spread it by hand, I allow the baking to do so. The end result isn’t as pretty as the photograph above. However, the flavor and texture works quite well.

    I hope this answers your questions. If not, please let me know!

    Be well!

    JP

  7. JP Says:

    Update: Nuts & peanuts may lower all-cause mortality …

    http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2173094

    Prospective Evaluation of the Association of Nut/Peanut Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality

    Importance: High intake of nuts has been linked to a reduced risk of mortality. Previous studies, however, were primarily conducted among people of European descent, particularly those of high socioeconomic status.

    Objective: To examine the association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality in Americans of African and European descent who were predominantly of low socioeconomic status (SES) and in Chinese individuals in Shanghai, China.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: Three large cohorts were evaluated in the study. One included 71 764 US residents of African and European descent, primarily of low SES, who were participants in the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS) in the southeastern United States (March 2002 to September 2009), and the other 2 cohorts included 134 265 participants in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study (SWHS) (December 1996 to May 2000) and the Shanghai Men’s Health Study (SMHS) (January 2002 to September 2006) in Shanghai, China. Self-reported nut consumption in the SCCS (approximately 50% were peanuts) and peanut-only consumption in the SMHS/SWHS were assessed using validated food frequency questionnaires.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: Deaths were ascertained through linkage with the National Death Index and Social Security Administration mortality files in the SCCS and annual linkage with the Shanghai Vital Statistics Registry and by biennial home visits in the SWHS/SMHS. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs.

    Results: With a median follow-up of 5.4 years in the SCCS, 6.5 years in the SMHS, and 12.2 years in the SWHS, 14 440 deaths were identified. More than half of the women in the SCCS were ever smokers compared with only 2.8% in the SWHS. The ever-smoking rate for men was 77.1% in the SCCS and 69.6% in the SMHS. Nut intake was inversely associated with risk of total mortality in all 3 cohorts (all P < .001 for trend), with adjusted HRs associated with the highest vs lowest quintiles of intake being 0.79 (95% CI, 0.73-0.86) and 0.83 (95% CI, 0.77-0.88), respectively, for the US and Shanghai cohorts. This inverse association was predominantly driven by cardiovascular disease mortality (P < .05 for trend in the US cohort; P < .001 for trend in the Shanghai cohorts). When specific types of cardiovascular disease were examined, a significant inverse association was consistently seen for ischemic heart disease in all ethnic groups (HR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.45-0.85 in blacks; HR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.39-0.92 in whites; and HR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.54-0.89 in Asians for the highest vs lowest quintile of nut intake). The associations for ischemic stroke (HR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.60-1.00 for the highest vs lowest quintile of nut intake) and hemorrhagic stroke (HR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.60-0.99 for the highest vs lowest quintile of nut intake) were significant only in Asians. The nut-mortality association was similar for men and women and for blacks, whites, and Asians and was not modified by the presence of metabolic conditions at study enrollment.

    Conclusions and Relevance: Nut consumption was associated with decreased overall and cardiovascular disease mortality across different ethnic groups and among individuals from low SES groups. Consumption of nuts, particularly peanuts given their general affordability, may be considered a cost-effective measure to improve cardiovascular health.

    Be well!

    JP

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