Happy Endings

In honor of Chocolate Week -- which is celebrated during the second week of March -- I'm offering a delightfully chocolately brownie recipe with a whimsical theme. Spider Brownies are named for the web that graces the creamy chocolate frosting on these treats. If you're feeling inspired by the theme, you can even give your own spider a home in the center of the web. Maybe a chocolate version or you could borrow little Jonny's plastic one -- if he will let you! Our version makes due with three chocolate coffee sticks.

A good helping of cocoa makes this brownie recipe particularly rich-tasting. Topping the entire batch with a creamy chocolate frosting and a spindly white web makes it not only decadent, but also great fun. Under normal circumstances, I'd suggest a tall glass of milk or dark coffee to accompany this dessert. However, in honor of Chocolate Week, I think chocolate milk, hot chocolate or a steaming mocha should do just fine!

Spider Brownies

  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 T. cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Skim milk
  • 1 tube (0.68 oz.) white glossy decorating gel

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, olive oil, yogurt and egg whites. Beat on medium speed of a mixer until well mixed. In another small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg white mixture and mix on medium speed until just blended. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and cocoa. Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk. Stir in milk 1 teaspoon at a time until the frosting has a creamy consistency. Frost the top of the cooled brownies with the frosting.

To make the web design, using the glossy decorating gel, make 4 concentric circles on the top of the frosted brownies. Carefully pull a toothpick from the center to the outside of the cake, dragging the gel slightly into the chocolate frosting. Repeat this process at regular intervals to create a web pattern. If desired, add your choice of a "spider" at the center of the web. Enjoy!

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time