Lighter fudge brownies

These lighter fudge brownies are a great alternative to their full fat counterparts. We use less butter and enhance the flavor with instant coffee powder!

lighter fudge brownies

I’ve had a Cooking Light cookbook in my collection for a while now. I think I found it at work one day on one of those bookshelves that is a free-for-all (I’ve donated some books to it as well, so I’m not a moocher… ha!).

Weirdly enough, I have not made many (any?) recipes from it since I’ve had it in my possession. One afternoon, I was flipping through it and found this brownie recipe. It seemed pretty close to a regular fat version, so I decided to try it.

lighter fudge brownies

I noticed that it only used about half of the butter of traditional brownies, and it also used some coffee powder to enhance the chocolate flavor. I threw in some chocolate chips because why not?

lighter fudge brownies

Although I baked my brownies for less time than the recipe called for, these weren’t as fudgy as I wanted them to be. They felt a bit dry (especially the edge and corner pieces) and the flavor wasn’t as chocolate-y as I expected.

Granted, I knew going in that these weren’t a “normal” brownie so I expected some variation from a classic brownie. However, my family and I would rather eat a regular brownie. If you are on a low(er) fat diet and don’t want all the calories, then these are a potential alternative. I’d recommend making a regular brownie and just eating a smaller piece though.

Husband’s rating: 3 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 2.5 out of 5
My rating: 3 out of 5

Lighter fudge brownies

A lightened up version of a classic fudge brownie
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bars, Brownies
Servings: 16
Author: Eva Bakes


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon hot water
  • 2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips optional


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Generously grease or line a standard 8"x8" square baking pan and set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, mix the sugars and eggs together on medium speed until it gets thick and pale (about 4-5 minutes).
  • Combine the hot water and coffee granules together and stir until the coffee granules dissolve.
  • Add the coffee mixture, melted butter, and vanilla and mix well.
  • Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until a few dry streaks remain. Stir in the chocolate chips if using and mix until no dry streaks remain. Your batter will be thick.
  • Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and smooth out the top. If desired, sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top.
  • Bake in your preheated oven for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  • Allow the bars to cool before slicing and serving.


Leftover brownies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will last several days.
Source: Barely adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2003, page 207


  1. Kay
    December 26, 2023 / 11:39 am

    The recipe mentions vanilla but it’s not in the ingredients list.

    • evabakes
      December 27, 2023 / 8:27 am

      Sorry about that, Kay. I added the vanilla into the ingredients list.

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