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Sample these heart-healthy brownies

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February is American Heart Month, the perfect time to introduce a dessert that’s heart-healthy but doesn’t compromise flavor.

According to statistics from the American Heart Association, heart disease affects more than 82 million Americans.

One way to reduce risk is with a healthy diet (low in saturated fat, low in trans fat, low in cholesterol, low in salt).

It’s important to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains — essential items in any healthy diet, whether you’re worried about heart disease or not.

For people also trying to lose weight, which can help reduce risk of heart disease, these protein-packed raspberry brownies can help meet goals without making you feel like you’re giving up all the foods you love.

Maintaining a healthy diet is always easier when you enjoy what you eat — a lesson it took me a long time to learn.

I’ve spent a lot of time remaking family recipes to cut calories, fat and sugar as well as scouring the Internet for alternatives that taste great.

These brownies fit the bill.

Give them a try during American Heart Month. I guarantee you won’t realize they’re actually good for you.

SUPER RASPBERRY PROTEIN BROWNIES

¼ teaspoon safflower oil

2 cans (15 ounces each) low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup all-fruit raspberry jam

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

¼ cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with the oil. Combine black beans, dates, jam and vanilla in a food processor, and process until smooth. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt, and process again. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top looks set.

Remove from the oven and cool completely, then cut into 16 squares. The brownies will keep, refrigerated in a covered container, for up to 1 week. Makes 16 brownies.

Nutrition per serving: 145 calories, 1 g fat, 5 g protein, 8 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium.

M. Clare Haefner enjoys cooking for family and friends. Contact her at chaefner@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7551.

Contact M. Clare Haefner at chaefner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7551.

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