This healthy brownies recipe is delicious option when you want to share a healthier chocolate treat with your family. They are seriously fudgey and are egg-free and nut-free for toddlers who may have a food allergy.
These brownies are lower in sugar than a standard brownie recipe and the fudgy, moist batter is packed with banana, applesauce, spinach (really!), and rolled oats—so you can feel good about serving up a dessert with a little extra nutrition.
How to Make a Healthier Brownies Recipe
I know that toddlers and kids won’t eat something if it doesn’t taste good, so these healthy brownies have just enough cocoa powder and mini chocolate chips to ensure they taste like dessert. The soft texture is suitable for toddlers who are still learning to like bready things, but appealing to bigger kids and adults—because they taste like fudge!
Healthy Fudge Brownies with Cocoa Powder
The variety of fruit ensures that they don’t taste overwhelmingly like any one ingredient, and the cocoa powder gives them the rich chocolate flavor you expect from a brownie recipe. (I like this cocoa powder.) And while I definitely don’t think that you need to sneak spinach into everything we serve our toddlers, it lends extra moisture here and no unpleasant flavors or textures, so I figured—why not!
Lower Sugar Brownies
It can be hard to bake lower sugar treats for toddlers that taste good enough for the whole family to want to eat, but I think you’ll find that these check all the boxes. These healthy brownies are low in added sugars so your toddler can enjoy one even if you watch their sugar intake. The fruit adds natural sweetness (and potassium, Vitamin C, and fiber).
Healthy Blender Brownies
This egg-free brownie recipe comes together in a blender, which ensures that the spinach is totally hidden. It also means that you only have one bowl to wash at the end of the process! You may need to stop and scrape down the sides halfway through blending and/or use the stick that came with your blender to help get the mixture going if needed. You can do this in a food processor, but the spinach won’t be as hidden, so use a blender if you can.
Blender cleaning tip: After you pour out the batter, put in a few drops of soap, fill halfway with water, cover, and turn on to let the blender clean itself! This is an excellent way to get the blade clean.
Coconut Oil for Moist Brownies
I use coconut oil here since it helps ensure that the final brownies are moist and rich. (The produce also lends moisture so we don’t need to use a stick of butter.) You can put it into the blender without melting it first—it will get incorporated into the batter. You can substitute melted butter or even a favorite nut butter if you prefer.
Healthy Vegan Brownies Made without Eggs
I originally made this recipe with eggs but found that the egg-free variation I tried had a far fudgier texture, so I’ve updated the recipe to reflect that. I use chia seeds to help bind the batter, which helps create the moist texture (and adds in extra healthy fats). These are a great brownie if your toddler has an egg allergy or if you simply run out of eggs. You could even make these to share at a school event or party since they are also peanut-free.
Can Toddlers Have Chocolate?
Chocolate, other than baking chocolate, has added sugars as well as naturally occurring caffeine. For both of those reasons, I err on the side of adding an optional ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips to the batter. The real flavor comes from cocoa powder, which is free from added sugars and lower in caffeine. (Each brownie will have about 3 mg of caffeine, depending on how large or small you cut them. For comparison, a cup of green tea has 35 mg.) Cocoa powder also has beneficial flavanols.
How to Store Brownies
You can slice up the brownies and wrap them individually before storing them in the fridge so you can pack them in lunches. Or, tuck a few into a zip top freezer bag if you want to save a few for another day. They will freeze well for about 3 months, though we usually share a few with our neighbors and eat the rest ourselves!
These lower sugar, egg-free brownies have moisture from fruit and veggies, and just enough cocoa powder to ensure they taste great.
- 2/3 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup lightly packed baby spinach
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1 small very ripe (with brown spots) banana, about 1/2 heaping cup sliced
- 5 tablespoons milk (dairy or nondairy)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil OR melted and cooled butter
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with foil and coat with nonstick spray.
- Place the oats into the blender. Grind into a flour, about 30 seconds on high. Add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips and blend smoothly, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in chocolate chips if using (or plan to sprinkle on top of the batter in Step 2.)
- Pour into prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Top with chocolate chips and lightly press into batter, if using. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out cleanly. Do not overbake.
- Let cool completely in the pan, remove foil, and slice. Serve.
These can be stored at room temp or in the fridge for up to 3 days. (We prefer them chilled.)
To make these with eggs, omit the chia seeds and milk and add 2 eggs. These brownies will be cakier.
To make them slightly sweeter add 2 tablespoons sugar to the batter.
To make these gluten-free, use gluten-free rolled oats.
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