Pumpkin Walnut Brownies, Nutritious, Delicious and Vegan!

Pumpkin Walnut Brownies

It’s that time of year when all things pumpkin are popping up everywhere and my Pumpkin Walnut Brownies are a great choice to usher in the baking season. Moist, delicious and rich in healthful antioxidants these delicious  brownies are a heathy tribute to American’s favorite treat!

It is thought that brownies were probably introduced at the beginning of the twentieth century in New England. Brownie recipes traditionally call for lots of fat… often a half cup of butter, four ounces of  baking chocolate and four large eggs, all of which contain high levels of saturated fat and of course  eggs and butter are also high in cholesterol.

As a health conscious vegan, excess dietary fat is an issue of some concern, as most vegan desserts seem to contain high levels of fat.  In my kitchen, this is just not necessary. My baked goods are rich tasting and moist without eggs, dairy or added fat, so unsweetened cocoa powder is a natural choice.  I have used Prune Puree to displace 100 percent of the fat in my baking for almost 30 years with fabulous results. It is quick, easy and economical to use and I keep it on hand.  

Prune Puree Recipe. Easy to make…  replaces fat 100 percent in baking. Prunes are high in sorbitol, a natural preservative and prune puree will keep for six weeks or longer in the refrigerator and also extend the freshness of baked goods dramatically!

Research has shown that chocolate contains beneficial antioxidants, thought to help prevent cancer, heart disease and stroke.  Chocolate is derived from beans, which contain very high levels of natural antioxidants called flavonoids.

A study by the USDA (ARS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency, found that natural cocoa contains the highest levels of an important antioxidant.[1]

The study found natural cocoa powders contain the highest levels of TAC and procyanidins. Milk chocolates contain the least amount of cocoa solids and had the lowest TAC and procyanidin levels.

Baking chocolates contained fewer procyanidins than natural cocoa, because of the high fat content (50 to 60 percent) my secret site.

Rich in beta-carotene from the pumpkin and procyanidins from the cocoa, these scrumptious Pumpkin Walnut Brownies are also low in calories and fat and completely dairy and cholesterol-free.

Pumpkin Walnut Brownies
30 brownies

2 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1/3 cup yellow corn meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
I teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
1 cup  walnut pieces

1 (12.3 ounce pkg) Lite Silken Tofu, firm
1/4 cup prune puree
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
1 medium banana, sliced
2 cups Organic Sugar
1 cup soy, almond or other plant milk
1 Tablespoon flax meal (ground flax seeds)
3 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat 350° spray 9” by 13” baking pan with olive oil cooking spray
In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and set aside.  Blend tofu in a food processor.  Add prune and pumpkin purees, banana, sugar, plantmilk, flax meal, water and vanilla. Process and fold into dry ingredients. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, cool, cut into squares and sprinkle with Organic Powdered Sugar.

Pumpkin Walnut Brownies
Nutrition Analysis: per serving: one 2 1/2 ounce brownie
Calories 176, Protein 4g, Carbohydrate 30g, Fiber 3g, Fat 5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Calcium 37mg, Sodium 109mg

Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV. Her latest book is The Skinny on Soy.  Follow Marie on Facebook and Twitter

[1] USDA/Agricultural Research Service (2005, April 21). In Chocolate, More Cocoa Means Higher Antioxidant Capacity. ScienceDaily.