Brainy Brownies

If your kids aren't crazy about eating vegetables, here's a simple solution for getting the two of them together with some delicious brownies that might surprise you.!

My son likes white foods. He always has since he was a little guy. Now that he is 8, finally there’s a bit more colour on his plate, but his palate lacks the variety I think his growing body needs.

I have tried different ways to disguise vegetables, sometimes smothering them in peanut butter, cheese, or ranch dressing, but he always finds them underneath and makes a neat, untouched pile. That has changed since I introduced Brainy Brownies into the mix.

Missy Chase Lapine is the Sneaky Chef. She has a book called, “The Sneaky Chef: Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favourite Meals.” Here is my favourite recipe and it works. When I put one of these brownies in my son’s school lunch, he thinks he’s getting a dessert. I know he’s getting his vegetables.

When you try this recipe, I’d love to hear from you about your child’s own reaction to these, so please leave me a comment below telling me what you thought about this recipe.


  •   6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •   3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  •   2 large eggs
  •   2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  •   1/2 cup sugar
  •   1/4 cup flour, plus
  •   2 tablespoons flour (or a blend of equal parts whole wheat, wheat germ, and white flour)
  •   1/4 cup rolled oat, ground in a food processor
  •   1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  •   1/4 teaspoon salt
  •   butter or nonstick cooking spray

Optional extra boost:

  •   1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

"Sneaky Chef" make-ahead Purple Puree (use 1/2 cup)

  •   3 cups raw baby spinach leaves (1 cup frozen chopped spinach, or frozen chopped collard greens)
  •    1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen, no syrup or sugar added)
  •    1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  •    1/2 tablespoon water


Prep Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 1 1/4 hr

Preheat the oven to80C. Butter or spray only the bottom, not the sides, of a 13-by-9-inch square baking pan. Melt the butter and chocolate chips together in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water (or in a microwave, checking every 15 seconds). Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool a bit. Meanwhile, in another bowl, stir together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and Purple Puree. Combine this purple egg mixture with the cooled chocolate mixture.

In a mixing bowl, stir together Flour Blend, cocoa powder, oats, and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly. Mix in the chopped walnuts, if using, then pour the entire mixture into the baking pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan before cutting the brownies and use a plastic or butter knife. Dust with icing sugar, if desired. Keeps for a week in the refrigerator, covered tightly.

Use the Sneaky Chef Make-Ahead ingredients for Purple Puree as noted above, and prepare as follows:

 If using raw spinach, thoroughly wash it, even if the package says "prewashed." Bring spinach or collards and water to boil in a medium pot. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. If using frozen blueberries, quickly rinse them under cold water to thaw a little, and then drain.

 Fill the bowl of your food processor with the blueberries and cooked spinach, (or collards) along with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water, and puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push top contents to bottom. If necessary, use a second tablespoon of water to make a fairly smooth puree.

 This amount of spinach and blueberries makes only about 1 cup of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of the puree. It will store in the refrigerator up to 2 days, or you can freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.

Read here for more tips on this.