Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Holy bean, Batman!

I rarely cook or bake these days. In one of my recent posts, I mentioned that I used to be a cook and then a dessert chef at a local Italian restaurant. I went through a period where I was creating healthy versions of everything from muffins to truffles at home too. Sometimes the desserts I made were a little too healthy for people. The alternative versions of chocolate chip cookies and brownies I baked were surprisingly good, even though my brother often compared them to rocks. One year, I decided to pull a prank on him on his birthday. I'm not a big prankster. When I go for one, though, I go all out, so I made him a cake. How many people can see where this is going? Yes, it was healthy, very healthy. The thing must have weighed eight pounds. It was dense and filled with whole grains, apples, maybe a grated vegetable to two and a tiny amount of maple syrup. In the past, I had always made a normal dessert for the occasion, so the disappointment was visible when my brother eyed the round brick that I brought to the table. Trying to make the best of it, he kept his mouth shut when, as he tried to cut it, the knife got stuck, though I could detect a slight smile at the corner of his mouth itching to become a full laugh. Before he worked a slice out of the block of hearty cake, I pulled out the real dessert I had made earlier: a beautiful pastry cream tart with a flaky crust and poached peaches on top. I have never seen anyone express more relief! Oddly enough, the fake cake tasted pretty good. It was more like a nutrient infused muffin, but it wasn't bad at all. The tart was fantastic.

When I go to any of the many health food stores in town and grab something from the prepared food section, I always ask myself why I don't bother to cook and bake more. Then I remember how tiring cooking can be, especially when it's done on sore feet. It's something that I would like to do, though. A few weeks ago, I saw that Chocolate for Breakfast had posted a recipe for brownies made with black beans. It sounds crazy, but I was intrigued. I always like the idea of sneaking healthy ingredients into yummy tasting foods. In fact, about a week ago, I experimented with a chocolate smoothie recipe that contained avocado, spinach and bananas. Yuck, right? Actually, it was totally yummy. So I tweaked the brownie recipe and gave it a shot. For most people, they might be on the overly healthy side, but I liked them. They taste sort of like a cross between brownies and a flowerless chocolate cake, only they are not as decadent.

In this recipe, I used half carob and half cocoa, because my heart valve leak is affected by too much caffeine and taurine. I also used less honey and added some stevia.

Black bean brownies, OMG!
  • Beans, black, 1.5 cup (about 1 can drained) 
  • Coconut Oil, 1/4-1/3 cup 
  • Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened 1/4+ cup 
  • Baking chocolate, 1 square (1 oz) melted
  • egg white, fresh, 2 large or 3 small 
  • Egg, fresh, 1 large 
  • Vanilla Extract, 1 tsp 
  • Almonds, 1/3 cup, whole 
  • Semisweet chocolate, 1/3-1/2 cup large chips 
  • Honey, 1/3 cup or other sweetener
  • pinch salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an eight-inch backing dish.

Chop almonds in a blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients except for the chocolate chips and blend until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and pour into pan. Bake about 35 minutes until done.

Serves 12
(In my case, it serves 6. ha!)

1 comment:

  1. These were gooooooood, and I'm not even a brownie lover. And you can take that any way you want.