I first heard about applesauce brownies when researching recipes for an earlier post on Whole Wheat Brownies. Supposedly, you could replace all of the butter in made-from-scratch brownies (or the oil in a brownie mix) with unsweetened applesauce, and the brownies would still taste good. It would be the ultimate healthy brownie recipe. Since the theme for this week’s #SundaySupper is “Lighten Up the Holidays,” I thought I’d give it a whirl.
I’m sure you’re dying to know if it worked. As a matter of fact, it did! However, there’s one really important thing you need to know.
Let. These. Brownies. Rest!
That’s right, folks. Don’t snarf them right out of the pan. These applesauce brownies need time to cool off completely for the flavors to mellow and meld. If you can, wait 24 hours, or at least overnight, before eating them. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with a really delicious, chocolatey brownie with a very dense, slightly cakey and slightly fudgy texture.
Would you like to know what these brownies reminded me of? Well, if you’ve ever eaten a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that comes with brownie chunks in it, this healthy brownie recipe produces a brownie that tastes just like those. I’m not pulling your leg. My kids loved these, and I rather liked snacking on them, too. Especially with a nice cup of milk. It’s not exactly the same as a traditional brownie, but it’s still really tasty and satisfying. Don’t forget to let them rest!
Since the flavor of this brownie recipe depends heavily upon the quality of your cocoa powder, pick a good one. My favorite is Guittard Cocoa Rouge.
Also, if at some point you’d rather have the ultimate in brownie indulgence, try my Ultimate Deep Dish Brownies! If you try out any of my recipes, please stop by and let me know how it went. I love to hear recipe feedback! Be sure to come back soon for more tasty stuff.
PS – Try the GLUTEN FREE version of this recipe.
Healthy Brownie Recipe | Applesauce Brownies
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce at room temperature
- 2 TB butter melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
Move a rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325. Prepare an 8 inch square pan by lining it with parchment or foil.
Stir the melted butter into the applesauce. If the applesauce is cold and the butter firms up, warm the mixture in the microwave for a few seconds until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and the applesauce/butter mixture. Stir together. Add the cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla, and stir until combined. Stir in the eggs.
Sprinkle the flour over the batter and gently stir until just combined. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 25 minutes. The center will be risen and the edges will be firm, but a toothpick inserted in the middle should be a bit wet when removed. If the batter on your toothpick becomes firm when cool, the brownies are done.
Let cool completely. For best flavor, store these brownies overnight before eating.
This delicious brownies will become a new favorite in my house.
Thank you! I hope you enjoy them.
We all need a healthier brownie in our repertoire! I don’t think I’d miss the oil (or the calories) one bit!
I do love my butter-filled brownies, but these make a nice treat, too. I was really surprised that it worked.
These brownies look so moist with so little fat, just love this recipe!!
They really are as moist as they look! The applesauce really holds the moisture well.
The use of applesauce I bet makes this so moist and delicious
Will try these soon! I’ve been on a chocolate kick and I bet these freeze well to take out for later too.
I would think that they would freeze well, since they seem to improve with time (which is an unusual trait for brownies).
The Ninja Baker
Applesauce is indeed a fantabulous substitute. Have you tried mashed up banana also? At any rate, Katie, anything that reminds me of Ben ‘n Jerry’s is bliss!
I did use bananas last month for Banana Brownies with Watermelon Syrup and Yogurt Whipped Cream. I found that the bananas contributed to a slightly cakier texture, but they were still yummy.
I’ve used applesauce in my baked goods so many times, and I always think it works very well. Great to see that the Perfect Brownie expert agrees 🙂
This means we can have two each, right? Yum! Thanks for sharing.
Julie @ Texan New Yorker
These look fabulous! My sister loves to bake for her kids, but is of course concerned about health and nutrition, so she bakes with either applesauce or mashed bananas a lot. I’m definitely sending her this recipe. 🙂
Dini @ giramuks kitchen
oooh! I’ve never tried adding apple sauce to Brownies. All the flavour minus some of the calories? Sounds like something I should have in the fridge all the time! 🙂
Of course you should! Brownies are little chocolate packages of happiness, even the healthy ones. 🙂
Applesauce sounds like a winner in here!
Thanks! And thank you for stopping by! 🙂
I love using applesauce in place of a fat in my baked goods. I bet these are delicious!
Yes indeed! Thanks for visiting!
Nothing wrong with an indulgence like this!
Hi Sarah! Nice to see you again. I’ve visited your site several times, but your Disqus link just sends me back to your post again and doesn’t bring up a comment form. Thought you might want to know. I’ll try again next week and see if I can post a comment. 🙂
If this is what health food looks like, count me in!
Thanks! 🙂 I’ve been following the Pillsbury bakeoff from your blog & tweets. Sure looks like fun!
I have been wondering how much butter you can replace with apple sauce in recipes like this! I’m so glad to see that this works!
Sounds good but how many calories?
If you cut them into 9 squares, each square has about 175 calories each.
I just made these and this is a keeper and probably my new go to easy sweet desert. We did not wait the 24 hrs..but hopefully there’s some left tomorrow to see. Great easy recipe!!
Yay! I’m so happy that you liked them. I am working on converting this recipe to a cake recipe, which will be coming soon. Bigger, taller, sliceable into wedges… and oh so chocolaty. Check back in a week or two!
I have these in the oven. The batter was very thick. Fingers crossed. They smell great! My husband will be the taste tester. If he is on board, I’ll be making these quite often. Always looking for ways to cut calories! Thank you for the recipe!
Thanks for writing in! I love to hear when my readers try out recipes. If you liked this one, I just published a new version of it that makes thick slices of chocolate applesauce cake!
SUPER chocolatey. Nice texture, different than standard brownies, but still very good.
So glad you liked them! They are a little different texture, but very snackable. 🙂