Taking the Guilt outta Sweets…


Anyone that knows me, knows I have a sweet tooth, ok really an anything tooth, I love to eat.  Summer however, is knocking on our doors, reminding me with every tear of sweat, that ’tis the season to disrobe in the sun and hmm choosing what to eat goes under the magnifying glass (and sweets locked into the darkest section of my pantry).  I am here to tell you that it safe to bring out  the sweets from the depths of your cabinets (from time to time) with these secret ingredients to lower the guilt in your desserts.


Black Beans

What! Black beans in my sweets!! That might sound nuts but really no one would ever know! Trust me I did a taste test with the most pickiest eaters and they didn’t realize it!

  • Process until smooth  1 C of drained and cooked black beans into a food processor.
  • Add to High Quality  Brownie mix (I love Ina Garten’s and Giradelli) with   ¼ C of  low-fat milk or water.
  • No need to add oil or eggs! Bake and enjoy a very fudgy, lower fat, higher fiber brownie!



Great substitute for oil/butter in Cakes not cookies, unless you like a more mushy and less crispy cookie. The ratio is 1:1 meaning if the recipe asks for 1/2c of oil/butter substitute that with exactly ½ c of Applesauce.

Extra tip: Use unsweetened applesauce so that you aren’t adding more sugar., or if you only have the sweetened kind lower the sugar the recipe is using so that you aren’t adding extra calories.


Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree (not use pumpkin pie mix) is a great substitute for recipes that are flavored with citrus, chocolate, pineapple, spices.

To Substitute Butter: take the amount of butter the recipe calls for and use ¾ (.75) of what they ask for. SO for example 1 C butter (2 sticks of butter) use ¾ c Pumpkin Puree

To Substitute Oil or Shortening: Ratio is 1:1. For ½ C of Oil/Shortening use the same amount (1/2C) of Pumpkin Puree.

Extra tip: Lower the heat of the oven by 25˚F so that the dessert doesn’t become dry. For example the recipe calls for it to bake at 350˚F adjust the oven temperature to 325˚F


Coconut Sugar

Although this sugar has the same amount of calories as regular sugar it does have a lower glycemic index (even lower than honey) meaning it won’t spike up your blood sugar leading you to overeat or crave more sugar to get energy.  I find this to be a great alternative to sugar in my recipes!



Truvia or other non-caloric sweeteners

This is a no brainer… if you want to lower the calories in your sweets even more just go with this alternative rather than the regular route.

Check the sweeteners container recommendation for ratios in sweetening.


Have Fun in the Sun!




  1. flor troconis06.05.12

    This is such a GREAT TIP!!! who would know about Black Beans and Chocolate Brownies? Loving BlackBeans will be just another sweet way to eat them!
    I like about what you suggest as a subtitudes!!
    Thank you Vinna

    • VK06.06.12

      Yeaa!! So happy you liked the article! I know black beans are great but in brownies really? I was a bit skeptical but after having tried them I can really recommend it…!
      Bon Skinny Appetit!