Once the stuff of jingle commercials promising a green-sprouted clay head, chia seeds are an absolute must-try if you haven’t already.
Working as a thickener in recipes, these low glycemic seeds add healthy omega-3′s to your diet. To boot, at room temperature they last longer than flax seed (it’s typically believed that chia seeds can typically stay fresh at room temperature for up to 2 years). Want more? I’ll bring it: Chia seeds are anti-oxidants and contain fiber, calcium, protein, and can help you cut fat in your baking.
Tired yet from its fabulous?
I can do this all day, but I want to share a terrific recipe with you. We can bake and be fabulous at the same time.
Tip: To keep cocoa powder from going everywhere while mixing, add a little at a time with the melted butter (or any liquids) to incorporate.
I never knew where to find Chia seeds before, but Dole makes them now (you can score a coupon here), which is bonus to those of us who want to shop locally. Thanks to their generosity, I scored a container to play with. And play I did.
Tip: Taste test batter to check for sweetness before baking, especially when working with cocoa and sweeteners, but use caution when raw eggs are an ingredient.
Chia seeds contain only 2 net carbs per 3 tablespoons, making them the perfect addition to many of your dishes. Chia gel is wonderful to keep on hand for up to a week and for thickening foods, beverages, you name it (add chia seeds to water at a ratio of 1 Tbsp per 1/2 cup water)! The seeds can also be ground up and used as flour.
For this recipe I went with chia seeds as a thickener to cut back on the flours. This means the result is fewer carbohydrates (2.3 net) but slightly higher on the caloric scale (182). At the same time, the fat and fiber make these a filling dessert with almost as much protein as an entire egg per serving (5.4 g).
Tip: If you remove the cream cheese from the recipe, dial down the sweetener as well.
I ended up using flax seed meal and almond flour, but I’m thinking the flax isn’t as dense as coconut flour would have been. You might try coconut flour instead. It will bump the carbohydrate amounts, but if you try it and love it, please let me know.
As for the flavor? spot on, my chocolate loving friends. Spot on. The drawback? You need to let these sit out overnight to solidify. This recipe is not Atkins Induction Friendly because chia seeds are on the seed rung of Atkins. Play with the baking time a little bit because I really think these need to bake longer than average brownies or they remain too moist.
Chocolate Chia Seed Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
1 Tbsp chia seeds + 1/2 cup water
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal (or coconut flour)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar equivalent in a substitute
1/2 cup brown sugar equivalent in a substitute
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp organic sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 ounces cream cheese, melted
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, make the chia seed gel by mixing 1 tbsp chia seeds + water. Stir well and let sit for 20 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Grease an 8″ x 8″ baking pan. In a separate bowl, whisk together the chia gel, almond flour and flax seed. Add eggs and whisk to incorporate. Add (and mix just enough to incorporate) cocoa, butter, vanilla, sugar substitute, brown sugar substitute, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Pour the batter into the pan. Melt cream cheese in the microwave and incorporate into the brownies by dropping dollops onto the batter. With a knife gently swirl the cream cheese to incorporate into the batter, leaving delicious, cheesecakey trails.
Bake for 35-50 minutes, or until a toothpick (or sharp knife) inserted in the center of the brownie pan comes out clean and the top looks slightly more dry.
Let rest for up to 24 hours. Slice and serve.
Makes 12 brownies.
Nutritional information per brownie: Calories: 182, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 3.7 g, Net Carbohydrates: 2.3 g, Protein: 5.4 g, Fat: 16.8 g
Dole Nutrition Plus Whole Chia Seeds
Price: $16.99 for a 16 oz package (about 15 servings)
Usefulness: A replacement for fats, for carby flours, on salads and for thickening.
Positive: Chia seeds only. No added weird stuff.
Negative: Cost could be prohibitive, but a bit of seed makes a lot of gel.
Found: Store Locator
Website: Dole Nutrition Plus
Savings: Coupon here
Disclosure: Dole provided this product free of charge for review, but this has not affected my review of the item.