Like most people, I have a serious weakness for sweets. Brownies, cakes, cookies, candy bars… if it’s got chocolate in it, I probably want it. We all know the various reasons why you should limit how much sugar you consume (heart disease, zits, etc.) So we come up with life hacks to limit ourselves.
Here’s mine: I only let myself eat baked goods that I make.
Making my own baked goods means I know exactly what goes into them. I’m incredibly picky and have several food intolerances and allergies. If I make cookies, I don’t have to ask anyone if they have nuts in them. I don’t have to worry about ingredients I can’t pronounce that the FDA promises is totally okay for human consumption. If I don’t want high fructose corn syrup in my brownies, I don’t use it.
I seriously decrease my impulse sweet snacking. I am always tempted by the Famous Amos cookies in the grocery store. But then I remind myself that I can make them cheaper, better, and fresher at home, and I don’t buy them. In order to make them at home at all, I have to think ahead and get the necessary ingredients. If I decide at three A.M. on a Tuesday that I want chocolate cake and I don’t have cocoa powder, then there go my cake plans.
This rule also means that I only eat baked goods when I really, REALLY want them. I have to have the time and energy to bake in order to have yummy goodness. If I just want a sweet snack because I’m sitting in front of the TV, then I don’t have one. And I probably don’t need it either. If I’m PMSing and I would kill someone for M&Ms, then no big. Go whip up a batch of brownies and kill that craving.
The biggest downside to my life hack is that I end up making more cookies or brownies or cake than my husband and I could eat. This is where having friends and co-workers comes into play. Ever wanted to be the most popular kid in class? Bring in a plateful of chocolate chip cookies. They don’t need to know that you actually made two dozen cookies and ate six before plating up the rest to bring in. Caution: this behavior can lead to requests.
So the next time you’re in the store and you’re debating picking up that box of Little Debbie Fudge Brownies, tell yourself to make brownies instead. They don’t have to be complicated brownies that require rum, chopped up bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and the blood of a virgin. My favorite brownie recipe (below) is so easy, you don’t even need a mixer. Only eating your own baked goods tastes better, is better for you, and you’ll probably enjoy it more knowing that you made it yourself.
My favorite brownie recipe
Ingredients to make 18 brownie cupcakes:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Tip: the better quality your ingredients, the better quality your end product.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2-1/2-inch muffins cups with paper or foil bake cups.
- Place butter in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1-1/2 minutes or until melted.
- Add cocoa; stir until smooth.
- Add brown sugar and granulated sugar; stir with spoon until well blended.
- Add eggs and vanilla; beat well with spoon.
- Add flour and chocolate chips; stir until well blended.
- Fill prepared muffin cups about 2/3 full with batter.
- Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until tops are cracked and feel firm (will be moist inside).
- Cool in cups about 15 minutes. Remove from cups. Cool completely.