So Good, You Just Might Lose Your Marbles!

Brownies are good. Cheesecake is good. Ultimately, they are a marriage of near perfect indulgence when combined. Neither of them, however, particularly scream “have another, and another, and another… and you won’t regret it.” Unless of course, you are doing things Bottomless Stomach style.

Marble Brownies

Believe it or not, marble brownies, cheesecake brownies, swirl brownies – whatever you want to call them – actually can be both satisfying and healthfully light. As with all my recipes, it just takes a bit of trial, error, and experimentation. If you love chocolate brownies topped with creamy goodness (and lots of it), however, these types of challenges are well worth it!

Many recipes for marble brownies include cream cheese for the “cheesecake” layer, but it tends to be difficult to find a low-calorie alternative without the addition of undesirable ingredients. It is therefore not the ideal ingredient for high-volume desserts. Enter skyr

IMG_0606 copySkyr, also known as Icelandic yogurt, is extremely thick when compared to the traditional yogurt many of us are familiar with. Being even significantly heftier than Greek yogurt, this stuff is so thick that you can turn the container upside down without it going anywhere. Due to the straining process, it is also very low in calories and high in protein, especially if using a nonfat variety. On its own, it has a flavor similar to any other type of yogurt, yet the texture is much more comparable to a soft cheese. I have experimented with several different cream cheese alternatives for this recipe, and skyr has by far produced the most cheesecake-like results overall.

The tangy, creamy qualities of the skyr filling compliment the fudgy brownie layer quite well. A blend of dutch-process and natural cocoa powders create a full-bodied, yet balanced chocolate experience. These brownie bars are rich and indulgent while being light and wholesome at the same time. They provide lots of protein from the skyr, beans, and egg whites, making them a satisfying dessert. Best of all, at under 500 calories for the entire batch, you can eat the whole thing without remorse!

Marble Brownies

The process of making these bars is extensive but well worth it if you have the time. If you wish to amplify your hard work with a lovely presentation, try slicing them into eight triangles instead of the typical square-shaped brownies. They are insanely good, and you would be crazy not to try them if you are looking for a better-for-you version of this type of dessert!


Marble Brownies
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8 brownies

Equipment: 7-8 inch square pan; nonstick foil; cooking spray; small food processor or immersion blender; electric mixer

Brownie Layer Ingredients:
1/4 cup (75 grams) granular erythritol
2 tablespoons (14 grams) coconut flour
4 tablespoons (20 grams) dutch-process cocoa powder
2 tablespoons (10 grams) natural cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons (10 grams) ground flaxseed
1 1/2 tablespoons (9 grams) acacia fiber
1 tablespoon (5 grams) pysllium husks
1/8 teaspoon glucomannan powder
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup (75 grams) cooked beans (see notes)
1/4 cup egg whites
2 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
40 drops unflavored liquid stevia

Cheesecake Layer Ingredients:
Scant 1/2 cup (100 grams) granular erythritol
2 tablespoons (14 grams) coconut flour
1/8 teaspoon glucomannan powder
8 ounces (225 grams) nonfat skyr (see notes)
1/4 c egg whites
10 drops unflavored liquid stevia
10 drops vanilla flavored liquid stevia (see notes)
10 drops lemon flavored liquid stevia (see notes)

Prepare the pan by lining with nonstick foil and coating with cooking spray; set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°.

For the cheesecake layer, combine the erythritol, coconut flour and glucomannan powder in a small bowl and whisk together. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the skyr, egg whites, and flavored stevias. Add the dry ingredients to the wet; mix with an electric mixer on low speed until combined.

Microwave mixture at approximately 10-20 percent power for 3-5 minute increments, alternately stirring in between. Continue process until the mixture is fairly thick and custard-like, approximately 15-20 minutes total (see notes); set aside to cool.

For the Brownie layer, combine the erythritol, coconut flour, both cocoa powders, flaxseed, acacia, psyllium, glucomannan, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl; whisk together and set aside.

In a food processor (or separate bowl if using an immersion blender), combine the beans, egg whites, almond milk, vanilla extract, and stevia; blend thoroughly. Add the blended wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined.

To assemble, spread the brownie batter along the bottom of prepared pan; continue by creating 3 evenly spaced wells with the back of a spoon that extend edge-to-edge, one down the middle and one on either side. Do not form the wells by scooping the batter out, but rather by pushing it aside. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the wells to create stripes (step 1). Run a knife or wooden skewer diagonally through the pan to produce a marble effect (step 2).

IMG_0611IMG_0621Bake until the edges of the cheesecake layer are just starting to turn golden brown, but center still jiggles slightly when the pan is tapped (approximately 45-50 minutes). Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Once the pan is completely cooled, remove and slice if desired.


  • Small red beans were used for this recipe, but any other mild-flavored beans such as pinto or great northern can be substituted. If using canned beans, look for no added salt or drain and rinse thoroughly. You can also cook your own beans to avoid excess sodium.
  • Approximately 1/4 teaspoons each vanilla and lemon extracts can be used in place of the flavored stevias.
  • For thickening the cheesecake mixture in the microwave, the trick is to use very low power and stir frequently to avoid the eggs from cooking too quickly. The recipe was tested with a 1,000 watt microwave, and actual cooking times will vary.
  • If you cannot locate skyr, nonfat Greek yogurt can be substituted, though microwave cooking time for thickening will need to be increased.

Nutrition Facts:
Per entire batch – 465 calories (66 from fat); 7g total fat; (4g saturated fat); 0g cholesterol; 673g sodium; 79g total carbohydrate (55g dietary fiber, 10g sugar, 24g net carbs); 51g protein; Bonus: Calcium (35% daily value); Iron (56% dv)

Nutritional information provided by 



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