Featured

The Story Behind the 1 SmartPoint Brownies (and the recipe too)

IMG_1938I have a serious sweet tooth. It’s a real problem, and I totally blame it on growing up in the ’80s when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considered fat to be a far greater evil than sugar (insert eye roll here).  Anyhow, a fat free culture was born in my youth; which is really just another way of saying that we became a bunch of sugar addicts. Thinking back on it, my most memorable “fat free” food was SnackWell’s Devil’s Food Cookie Cakes. Back then, SnackWell’s were considered innovatively healthy cookies because they were (and still are) fat free. Sadly, it wasn’t until much later that anyone paid attention to the amount of sugar in them, or in anything else for that matter.

So I was saying, my sweet tooth game is strong. I can go toe to toe with the best of them. A bag of potato chips is completely safe in my cupboard for months. I can leave salty snacks totally untouched. But good lord, do not let me near a container of Nutella because I don’t stand a chance.

With this knowledge about myself, I was on a mission to find something that that would completely satisfy my sweet tooth without sabotaging my weight loss goals this past holiday season. In November 2017, I came across a recipe on epicurious.com for “37 Calorie Brownies.” I thought to myself, “self: this sounds too good to be true, but it’s worth a shot.”  I proceeded to make the 37 calorie brownies and followed the epicurious.com recipe to a T. They were good, but they called for some ingredients that I don’t use very often (e.g., skim milk, Stevia) and their taste and consistency was just slightly off for my liking. So I played around with the recipe for a solid two months, and finally nailed it last week.

While I am not the creative genius behind the 37 Calorie Brownies, it was the epicurious.com recipe that was the starting point for my 1 SmartPoint Brownies. In the past couple months, I’ve seen a bunch of Weight Watchers friendly brownie recipes on Instagram. I’ve seen Zero SmartPoint recipes and other 1 SmartPoint recipes using protein powder, black beans and diet soda. But in my most humble opinion, my recipe is the original 1 SmartPoint Brownies recipe and it’s the absolute best!

As I’ve played around a bunch with all different ingredients, I feel really strongly that the ingredients listed here are the best ingredients to use. Therefore I do not recommend using substitutions of any kind.

If you make my 1 SmartPoint Brownies, please tag me @theunfrostedcupcake on Instagram and let me know how you like them!

xoxo, Danielle

The Unfrosted Cupcake’s 1 SP Brownies Recipe

Servings: 9

Serving Size: 1 brownie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Quaker 100% natural whole grain old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup Ghirardelli 100% unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup Swerve granular sugar replacement (buy on Amazon)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch fine grain Himalayan pink salt
  • 3/4 cup Fage Total 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Califia Farms plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 111g (single serve container) Mott’s plain unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 whole egg
  • PAM butter flavor nonstick cooking spray

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • Spray an 8 x 8 glass baking dish generously with PAM butter flavor nonstick cooking spray and set aside
  • Pour all dry ingredients into a blender and blend on high speed for at least one full minute (note: you want the old fashioned oats to become oat flour)
  • Add all remaining (wet) ingredients to the blender and blend together until all ingredients are mixed well (note: use a spatula to scrape the sides of the blender a few times)
  • Pour the brownie batter mixture into your 8 x 8 glass baking dish
  • Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the center is solid or a toothpick comes out clean (note: do not over-bake as the edges will burn)
  • Let brownies cool completely before cutting into 9 serving

Each brownie is 1 SmartPoint.  Enjoy guilt free!

The Making of ‘The Unfrosted Cupcake’

I grew up in an Italian-American household, which essentially meant, ‘food is life.’ My love affair with food started at an early age. I can’t remember exactly when, but I can pinpoint the age at which my pediatrician took notice and put me on a calorie-restricted diet.  Nine, I was nine years old. That was the beginning of my life-long struggle with my weight. That was the first time that I had become abundantly aware of my body image.

Over three decades, I tried it all (i.e., diet pills, fad-diets, pre-packaged astronaut food, complete food group eliminations, etc.). I’ve yo-yo’ed. I’ve been thin, I’ve been big and I’ve been everything in between. In all that time, I learned two things about myself: (1) a restricted ‘diet’ of any kind does not work for me long-term; and (2) weight loss is far less physical than it is mental and emotional.

On January 2, 2017, I joined Weight Watchers online, and attended my first meeting the next day. That was my third time joining Weight Watchers, and I lost over 25 lb. in a little more than three months. In April 2017, I was within five pounds of my goal weight. It’s difficult now to describe what happened next. In the simplest of terms, I went on vacation to Disney World. I participated in my first ever 10k there. I didn’t track my food, and I used the race as a reason to eat whatever I wanted. Long story short, I gained almost nine pounds in one week. I’m still amazed that that’s even physically possible. And what happened next is where I really went wrong: I stopped attending my Weight Watchers meetings. I guess I was embarrassed about my humongous gain, and I mistakenly thought that I could lose the weight that I had gained ‘on my own.’ I told myself that I’d go back to the meetings once I had lost what I’d gained. BAH. Wrong! I ended up losing and gaining back the same five pounds over and over again over the next few months.

Fast forward to July 2017 when my world got rocked upside down. My Dad had been diagnosed with metastatic small cell carcinoma. Cancer. Bring on the binge-eating. Bring on the depression. I literally ‘padded’ myself with food for the next four months. F*CK cancer by the way. My Mom is a Survivor, and my Dad is putting up a fight.

In the middle of November 2017, I had enough. My clothes were tight. I didn’t feel good about myself, and I didn’t feel good in general. So I recommitted to myself, and re-joined Weight Watchers (just in time for the rollout of their new Freestyle program). Setbacks and all, in 2017 I lost 18.2 lb., and kept it off. More importantly, through struggle I gained better insight into myself and my journey. Twelve days into the new year, I’m feeling focused, and more so now than ever, I vow to love life and live it fully.

And so I became The Unfrosted Cupcake.