I had it stuck in my mind that I’d seen a recipe with brownie mix, All Bran cereal and water. Of course I had not bookmarked the recipe, and now that I’m looking for it I see tons of versions of this recipe. The All-Bran website has a version without brownie mix… cocoa, flour, etc. But I’m staying true to brownie mix in the Trifecta of Chocolaty Goodness. The low-calorie and diet websites all seemed to have member versions of the recipe, so here’s a link to one on Dotti’s Weight Loss Zone. It’s for muffins, but the idea is the same. And all the recipes I saw, whether for brownies or for chocolate muffins, called for baking powder. Now that says to me “Liz, this is gonna be a cakey brownie, not a fudgie one.” As a lover of fudgie brownies, I decided to throw caution to the wind and just wing it, making up my own recipe.
Here is the basic idea I started with:
3 cups All Bran cereal
2 ½ cups water
1 package brownie mix
2 Tbs mini semisweet chocolate chips
Check me out, rockin' the store brand chips and generic mix. I do love to save a buck.
Mix the water into the cereal and let them sit together for at least 5 minutes so they can learn to enjoy each other’s company. Then add the brownie mix and chips. Stir, spread in a pan you have sprayed with non-stick spray, and bake for 20 minutes at 350.
I could not resist tampering with the brownies a little more. I had some homemade cranberry sauce leftover from Christmas. I was in a hurry when I made the cran sauce or I would have taken pictures, the cranberries were so bright and cheery-looking through the short 15-minute process it takes to make the sauce. I attempted to swirl the cranberry sauce on top of the pan of brownie batter. I’ve never swirled anything into brownie better before; it turned out more like a “W” which I will say stands for “Wow.”
After seeing how bad that looked, I threw a handful or so more chocolate chips on top. Then I shoved it in the oven before I could mess with it anymore.
At 20 minutes they looked good, but a finger-poke found them mushy. After 10 more minutes they appeared solid enough. I had one while they were still warm because my mama didn’t raise any fools.
Here’s the good news: the chocolate gives the cranberry sauce a good solid canvas for its tart kick, and berry’s flavor enhances that of the chocolate. Cranberries and chocolate are a match made in heaven.
Now for the bad news: wow, the bran is really obvious. Bran is not bad. It was in the cupboard because I like it. But it interferes significantly with the brownie-ness of the brownies. I see now why there are so many recipes out there for chocolate muffins with All Bran; it is probably more suited to a muffin or maybe a bar. So I’ll call these chocolate-cranberry muffin bars next time. They are not brownies, not to me, but they are still pretty darn good!