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Study session share plates: gooey goodness brownies

When you’re studying with friends and you hit a slump, it can be tempting to reach for something sweet. But there’s a way to get a sugar-style fix without dishing out junk food. Instead, try making these brownies, which are made using substitutes for unhealthier ingredients.

Deakin University Bachelor of Food and Nutrition Sciences/Bachelor of Commerce student Desi Karandaglidis says that while it might seem surprising to add avocado to your brownies, it’s a great source of healthy fat and a good substitute for butter too. ‘The honey is a substitute for refined sugar, as it is a natural sweetener without the added calories,’ she adds.

When you’re feeding a group, Desi also suggests adding fruit and vegetables where suitable, which is why we’ve added strawberries to this tasty share plate. ‘They are a more nutritious, wholesome snack and also add a lot of flavour,’ she says.

Serves 10

1 avocado
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup honey
¼ cup roasted hazelnuts
¾ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup plain flour
⅓ cup dark chocolate (to serve)
1 tbsp icing sugar (to serve)
Handful of strawberries (to serve)


1) Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced).
2) Mash avocado and mix with egg, vanilla extract, coconut oil and honey. Set aside.
3) Roughly pound or chop hazelnuts.
4) Sift cocoa powder and flour into a separate bowl and then combine with the avocado mixture and half of the hazelnuts.
5) Line a 20 x 20 centimetre baking tray with baking paper or spray with oil.
6) Pour mixture into the tray and spread it out to the corners, then sprinkle with a handful of hazelnuts.
7) Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Cool.
8) Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
9) Cut brownie into fingers, then dust with icing sugar, drizzle with melted chocolate and serve with strawberries and remainder of hazelnuts.

Gluten-free option

To make this recipe gluten free, replace flour with hazelnut meal or gluten-free flour.

Egg-free option

To make this recipe egg free, replace egg with mashed banana or chia (mix 1 tbsp ground chia seeds with 1 tbsp water and allow to soak for five minutes).

There is increasing community interest in food, nutrition and health, and a growing demand for specialists in these fields. Learn more by studying one of Deakin University’s food, nutrition and dietetics courses.


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