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Hungry Girl: Give the Gift of (Secretly Healthy) Brownies

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Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of eleven books, six of which debuted at number one on theNew York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.

‘Tis the season for giving, sharing, and — of course — eating delicious seasonal treats. And while we all appreciate it when our neighbors bring over homemade cookies, we’d also like to get through December still fitting into our cute jeans.

Good news: You can show holiday cheer without handing out little sugar ‘n butter bombs. These brownies are outrageously delicious yet made with healthy ingredients! My number one secret? Black beans! I promise: All you’ll taste is fudgy chocolate goodness.

HG tip: Print out the recipe and include it with your gift. They’ll request it if you don’t!

WATCH THIS: Food Hack: Make Rainbow Cupcakes

RELATED: Hungry Girl: My Healthy Bread Pudding Is Basically Happiness in a Mug

Winter Wonderland Brownies
Serves 9

One 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup canned pure pumpkin
¼ cup (about 2 large) egg whites or fat-free liquid egg substitute
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
¼ cup Truvia spoonable no-calorie sweetener (or another natural brand that’s about twice as sweet as sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. mini (or chopped) semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp. chopped white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8” X 8″ baking pan with nonstick spray.

2. Place all ingredients except both kinds of chocolate chips in a food processor. Puree until completely smooth and uniform.

3. Fold in 1 tbsp. each semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped white chocolate chips.

4. Spread mixture into the baking pan, and smooth out the top.

5. Evenly top with remaining 2 tbsp. each semi-sweet chips and chopped white chocolate chips. Lightly press into the batter.

6. Bake until a toothpick (or knife) inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, 25 – 30 minutes.

7. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.

RELATED: Hungry Girl: How to Make a Healthy In-N-Out Burger at Home

Nutritional Information: (1 brownie): 122 calories, 4g total fat (2g sat fat), 231mg sodium, 24.5g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 7g sugars, 5g protein

Active time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes, plus cooling

‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!