I made these delectable treats yesterday afternoon – I had been reading about using chia seeds
as a replacement in baking for butter due to their ability to gel. I had never baked with chia seeds before and was, admittedly, a little nervous. However, the results were pleasantly chewy and most of a 9×13″ pan of brownies are gone.
In order to use chia seeds as a butter or gluten replacement, they must be mixed with water. It is only then that these little super seeds begin their gelling magic.
These lovely little seeds are from South America and were part of ancient Aztecs and Mayans diets. They can be eaten as they are, sprinkled on oatmeal or in yogurt, added to smoothies, and used in baking. They have are high in Omega-3 and fiber. They are best kept in the refrigerator or freezer, once opened. 1 tablespoon of these little guys has 60 calories, 40 from fat, 5g of fiber, 2, 282 mg of Omega-3, 6% daily recommended calcium, and 4% daily recommended iron. (Source: Bob’s Red Mill, chia seed label)
Now, let’s compare the 1/2 cup of butter needed to make brownies, which has 814 calories, 92.06 g of fat, 244 mg cholesterol, and 3% daily recommended calcium. (Source: Fatsecret, USDA calorie counter)
Not bad, not bad, little seed.
I simply soaked my chia seeds in water for an hour before using, and then combined them with the liquid ingredients. My next steps are to try grinding the seeds before soaking to make a more even texture. There is a little crunch to these brownies, which did not bother me one bit, I likened it to small nut pieces.
I opted for whole wheat pastry flour. I have been using this as a swap for white all-purpose flour quite a bit lately and have been liking the results. Next time I make these brownies they will be gluten-free. I am sure the chia seeds will work wonders in gluten-free flour.
Note: I made a large batch, but the recipe below can easily be reduced by half to make a smaller batch, just simply use an 8×8″ or 9×9″ pan instead.
Butter-Free Chewy Chia Brownies – adapted Better Homes & Gardens
1. In a small bowl combine: 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons chia seeds. Allow to soak for 1-2 hours before using.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×12″ glass pan with margarine. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine: 1-1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 cups sugar, and 4 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder.
3. In a medium mixing bowl combine: 4 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and the chia seed and water mixture.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in liquid ingredients, combine just till moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or till knife inserted in center comes out clean.