1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup canola or peanut oil
3 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, or finely ground instant coffee (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 large eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1. Line the bottom of a 6½-by-8½-inch or similar size toaster oven pan with unbleached parchment paper. Toaster ovens waste less energy than conventional ovens, but you can make this recipe in either. (For a regular oven, use an 8-by-8-inch pan.)
2. Stir together the sugar, oil, applesauce, and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2½ minutes, or until the mixture rapidly bubbles, stirring once midway through. (Mixture will be very hot!) Stir in the chocolate, cocoa, espresso powder (if using), and cayenne until the chocolate is melted.
3. Whisk the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. Vigorously whisk the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the flour until just combined.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan in the toaster oven, turn heat to 400°, and bake until the brownies are springy to the touch,about 18 minutes. (If baking in a conventional oven, check for springiness sooner.) Cool the brownies completely in the pan on a rack.
Active Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes