Here’s an easy holiday recipe that is perfect to make with “little hands” or with yours! No mixer needed, just a bowl. This recipe doubles well, but just make sure to bake the brownies in 2 pans. They are very soft and fudgey and need a small pan to give them structure.
We’re using a familiar baking ingredient, vanilla in these brownies. But did you know that vanilla is actually an herb? Botanically, it is a perennial herbaceous climbing vine belonging to the orchid family, and is the most popular flavor in the world! Typically, its used to add a rich or creamy flavor to baked goods, or make chocolate flavor taste even more chocolate!
Vanilla is an amazing ingredient that brings its own nutrition, too. Natural vanilla extract contains numerous antioxidants, including vanillic acid and vanillin. These antioxidants give vanilla beans their distinctive, wonderful aroma. Vanillin may also have cholesterol lowering benefits. Human studies are limited but do show promise with the health benefits of vanilla.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8” square baking pan with parchment; spray pan and parchment with oil or cooking spray.
In a small bowl, stir together sugar, cocoa, flour and nuts. In a measuring cup, stir together applesauce, egg and vanilla. Add applesauce mixture to dry ingredients, and stir until well blended.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours or in the freezer about 15 minutes for easier cutting. Using a cutting board or sheet pan, flip the brownies out of the pan and remove the parchment. Flip the brownies over right-side up and cut into squares.