Blondie ambition: Better-for-you blondies

A changeup of dry ingredients makes a better-for-you treat.

Organic ingredients, vitamin-rich salads and sandwiches made with house-baked, whole-grain bread project a healthy halo at five-unit Hannah’s Bretzel, but some desserts didn’t align with the rest of the menu and weren’t selling as well, says Scott Perin, leader of brand experience at the Chicago-based fast casual. “Our brownies and blondies were too large, high in calories and low in nutritional benefits,” he says. “[Here,] something sweet should be a small indulgence.” So chef and nutritionist Kendra Peterson started playing with the blondie recipe, blending more healthful whole-wheat pastry flour with organic all-purpose flour and adding quinoa flakes. She also dialed back the portion size, lowering the calorie count from 680 to 230—and allowing Hannah’s to drop the price to $2. “Sales are up, with customers purchasing the organic blondies for snacks as well as dessert,” says Perin.  organic blondie brownie


The original recipe used all organic ingredients—organic eggs, for instance, have a denser yolk which added richness to the batter—but Peterson aimed to make it more nutritionally sound  without affecting food cost. Whole-wheat pastry flour is lower in gluten protein, so she added 10 percent quinoa flakes to compensate; this mix yielded the best texture. Molasses stands in for some of the sugar, lending small amounts of vitamins and minerals while preserving the caramel taste.

Smart swaps

All-purpose flour onlyHalf whole-wheat pastry flour
White sugarMolasses
6-ounce portion2-ounce portion



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