Lightened Up Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

So, one of my goals for the New Year includes keeping my pantry organized.

Lightened Up Chocolate Peanut Butter brownies - with two kinds of chocolate, you'll never miss the butter in these! #recipe #brownies - from

You know it’s bad when even the Tall Boy can’t stand to open the door.

We finally braved the organizing over our Christmas vacation and started by taking everything out…I blame it on the blogging, but I can’t tell you how many bags of baker’s chocolate and baking chips I have.

This isn’t just me, right?

Anyway, I found a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips I’d totally forgotten about, and knew I had to put them to good use right away. Like in these brownies.

I’ve actually had these brownies bookmarked to make since early last summer, and somehow, the year time got away from me.

Lightened Up Chocolate Peanut Butter brownies - with two kinds of chocolate, you'll never miss the butter in these! #recipe #brownies - from

To me, these tasted more like a moist, decadent chocolate cake than they did brownies.  I typically like my brownies to be fudge-like in consistency…but I have to say, these really take the cake.  Er, brownie.

Replacing the butter with applesauce and reduced-fat sour cream lightens up these brownies.  But, with the addition of both cocoa powder and melted bittersweet chocolate, you’ll never miss the butter.

You could certainly add more bittersweet chocolate to the tops of these instead of the peanut butter chips, but I’m never one to turn down a chocolate-peanut butter combination.  Another great thing about this recipe?  It bakes in an 8 x 8 pan, so you’re not tempted to polish off a huge 9 x 13 pan, as I often am.

What’s your favorite way to eat a brownie?

Lightened Up Chocolate Peanut Butter brownies - with two kinds of chocolate, you'll never miss the butter in these! #recipe #brownies - from

Lightened Up Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ to ½ cup peanut butter chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment or foil, leaving an overhang on two sides. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Heat the chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together brown sugar, applesauce, sour cream, melted chocolate, eggs and oil until combined. Add in flour mixture and mix until just moistened. Do not overmix!
  4. Spread batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with peanut butter chips. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moistened crumbs.
  5. Cool completely in pan. Using foil overhang, lift brownies out of pan. Remove foil and cut into squares.
recipe from Martha Stewart


  1. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life

    haha! No it isn’t just you! I have so many bag of chocolate chips and stuff literally piled up in my cupboard too! Love that you lightened up the brownies and added peanut butter chips. Nothing better than chocolate and peanut butter 🙂
    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life recently posted..Trick or Treat TuesdayMy Profile

    • Ashley

      The amount of baking chips I have is embarrassing…and I keep buying more!

  2. Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection

    These look great! I’m a fan of taking recipes and making them lighter by replacing the butter/oil with applesauce, yogurt, bananas, pumpkin, or anything else to make them a smidgen healthier! And the crazy thing is that I can hardly ever tell the difference. I’m sure these are just as good, if not better (because you wont feel as guilty), than the original brownies.
    Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection recently posted..Crock Pot Curry ChickenMy Profile

    • Ashley

      You’re right, Elaine! I couldn’t tell at all that these were lightened up!

    • Ashley

      Thanks, Chandra!

    • Ashley

      Oh my goodness, I can’t imagine what my pantry would look like if I had a relative working at Nestle – that sounds dangerously good!

  3. sally @ sallys baking addiction

    Ashley, we are brownie buddies. I love peanut butter brownies and I have a skinny PB brownie recipe too. Don’t you just love that you can enjoy these feeling slightly less guilty? I love this recipe! They look as indulgent as a calorie-laden version!!
    sally @ sallys baking addiction recently posted..sparkling jumbo blueberry muffins.My Profile

    • Ashley

      I am making a concerted effort this year to lighten up my cooking and baking…my jeans are demanding it! =) These tastes just as good as the full-fat version! I love all of your lightened up stuff, Sally!

    • Ashley

      Mine too. Dorothy!

  4. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    I loooooove extra fudgy brownies, and I especially looooove when they’re lightened up! I’m sadly not joking when I say that none of my jeans fit anymore… thanks to brownies more than likely. Plus, PB chips on top? Can’t go wrong! I’d say this is the perfect food for both squeezing back into my jeans and cleaning out my pantry, which is also psychotic and scary.
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel recently posted..Cinnamon Roll-Stuffed Blondies [Guest Post]My Profile

    • Ashley

      Ohmygosh, I am on a mission to fit back comfortably into my jeans by June! I figure 6 months gives me enough time to lose it and then gain it back, haha!

  5. Baking Serendipity

    A clean pantry definitely needs to be one of my new year’s resolutions. I definitely have chocolate all over mine too! (Sometimes I’m really not sure this is a problem…) Love these brownies, especially because they’re lighter and still fudgey.
    Baking Serendipity recently posted..Quinoa and Hummus Scrambled EggsMy Profile

    • Ashley

      Agreed – lots of chocolate is never really a problem! =)

  6. Krystal Wight Armstrong

    Hi, these look really yummy! Not being a very seasoned baker myself, and just out of curiosity, what would the sour cream be a substitute for, in a more traditional recipe? We don’t usually buy that ingredient, and I’m completely fine with a fuller-fat version.

    Thank you for your time & help!



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