Saved by the Brownie: Mario Lopez on a Diet

It’s time to go back to school. Not for me exactly, but for the untold masses. And while these back-to-schoolers are shopping for new clothes, personalizing new school supplies, and contemplating their Halloween costumes, I will be reliving an era via old Saved by the Bell episodes. Zac, Screech and Lisa virtually defined my childhood, while A.C. Slater (best athlete AND trained dancer thank-you-very-much) provided umpteen hours of inspiration and maybe a little perspiration.

Thankfully, Mario Lopez, the actor portraying A.C. Slater, has graced us with a dietary book, Extra Lean Family: Get Lean and Achieve Your Family’s Best Health Ever. Now, we can all find our inner A.C.

I’m not usually big on diet books. I work at a bakery, remember? But this is a diet book with brownies. DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIES! And just look at Mario’s smile on the cover. It’s beaming. His brownie recipe is all about the applesauce (lowers the fat while still retaining the moisture) and agave (sugar substitute meaning honey water in Spanish). These brownies are quite moist and quite good and the chocolate chips provide a real chocolate punch, but I differ with Mario on serving suggestions. He recommends bite size cuts. No thanks, I’ll do just fine with a proper square.

Although there are few desserts in “Extra Lean Family” (and I mean few) , I recommend giving this specific diet book a walk on the treadmill. Maybe, we can all emulate the dietary likeliness of A.C. Slater except with bigger brownies.

Dark Chocolate Brownie RECIPE ADAPTED from “Extra Lean Family: Get Lean and Achieve Your Family’s Best Health Ever”


1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup mini. choc chips


Spray a 9×9 square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl and set aside. Melt butter in medium saucepan. Transfer hot butter to a large glass bowl and whisk in agave, applesauce, sugar, canola oil, and vanilla. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean from center. Cool for at least 20 min before cutting into squares and serving.