[It's okay. You can have more than one.]
After many gruelling trials (So many brownies! So much chocolate! All that taste-testing! Ah, the sacrifices I make in the name of food blogging), I’ve finally developed a recipe for fudgy, dense and delectable brownies that are grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, stevia-sweetened and ACD-friendly. Decadence never tasted so sweet!
For the recipe, a review of the NuNaturals stevia I used, and a giveaway, click here!
Update, April 28: The winners have been announced! Check this post.
First of all: Wow. I am truly bowled over by the enthusiastic response to the giveaway, and thrilled that so many of you would like my cookbook! Thanks, all, for your entries and your comments. I have been slow in responding to comments, but have read them all and will respond to any questions later today. (Oh, and the contest continues until May 15th, so if you haven’t entered yet, you still can!)
I did want to clarify one point about the recipes, though: while there ARE some gluten-free recipes in it (about 25%), the book does not include gluten free recipes exclusively. Spelt does contain some gluten–though about 30% less than wheat–and it is often suitable for people with gluten sensitivity such as myself. Most of my recipes employ spelt, barley, or oat flours (much like any of the desserts on this blog). I thought it important to mention this, in case some of you are expecting a gluten-free cookbook (that will have to be next time!)
[My typical dinner these days: raw collard rolls with bean spread; fresh tomato; green beans. No wonder there are no new recipes!]
I’m afraid I don’t have a new recipe for you all today, as much as I’d intended to post one a few days ago. After a whirlwind high school reunion last weekend in Niagara Falls, I came home to discover that the charming candida in my system was being its opportunistic self and took advantage of my slightly altered diet and shift in regular routine while away from home. Ever since I got back, I’ve been feeling sapped of energy and spending more hours in bed than Sleeping Beauty (no prince for me, though. . . unless you count Chaser licking my ear as a magical “kiss”).
(“But Mum, I have to keep licking your ear! All beauty aside, how else am I supposed to let you know it’s time for a walk?”)
My (conventional) doctor has now prescribed an oral anti-fungal medication for me, something about which I’m not at all pleased (even though it does confirm candida as a culprit), but which, it seems, is entirely necessary since virtually none of the other methods I’ve tried have worked. On the ACD site where I found my current diet, they do caution that a candida problem can never be entirely eradicated with diet alone; so I’m okay with the pills. I will see my naturopathic doctor next week, so perhaps he’ll have a new idea.
In the meantime, I am determined to continue with the regime, and have faith that it will take effect eventually, bringing about a healthy change–as it did the last time I followed this diet (for a duration of two years!! Let’s hope it doesn’t take that long this time round). The only bright spot so far is that the weight-loss lull has finally been shattered: as of this morning, I’ve lost 17 pounds (7.7 kilos) since I began the diet on March 9th (just about 8 weeks). My weight hasn’t been this low since 2003. Yowza!
[Butterscotch blondies with chocolate chips and dried cherries]
I did bake some goodies from Sweet Freedom for the gang at the reunion, though (still can’t resist baking something for any gathering!). There were about 60 of us. And while I’m still in regular contact with my own (female) friends from that era, such as Sterlin (who flew in from England to room with me!), the Geminis, Phil, Babe, and so on, I haven’t seen any of the guys since grade eleven (the highest year of high school in Montreal). And when I did finally see them–Quel Surprise!
[Miniature orange-cranberry scones]
There were a few blank stares as I first spied some of the men, but once they introduced themselves, it was easy to spot the sixteen year-old in the forty-something faces and there were hugs all around. Within minutes, we all assumed our old, familiar camaraderie and went on to enjoy a raucous weekend with tours of the Falls, karaoke (I didn’t sing, but Sterlin and I did hop on stage as backup “dancers” for a pair who sang “Addicted to Love”), and a goodbye brunch complete with awards for everything from “Guy you’re most surprised is a parent” to “Person who brought the most photos of family” (that was Sterlin).
[Easiest Almond Cookies--grain free and gluten free]
Am I glad I went? Absolutely. I reconnected with a couple of people with whom I’d been very close in high school, and with whom I’m sure I’ll be in touch once again. And it was terrific to hear, “You haven’t changed a bit! I’d recognize you anywhere!” repeatedly, despite my own sense that I’d changed dramatically in the past 30 or so years. There’s already chatter on Facebook about the next reunion!
[Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies]
For the next little while, my posts may be a bit less regular or more infrequent than usual, as I feel I need to concentrate a bit more diligently on regaining my physical health and equilibrium. I will still be cooking, though, and will post recipes whenever I have them! And I’ll continue to read all your blogs and comment whenever I can.
As always, I am deeply grateful for all of you out there who read this blog and continue to provide support and comments. Because of all of you, these health issues have been made to seem manageable. Now it’s time to really kick that candida’s butt once and for all!
Last Year at this Time: Vanilla versus Vanilla (cupcakes and muffins)
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Well, the results are in and we have our winners of the Ritter Sport and Sweet Freedom goodie pack contest!
Here’s how I selected them: First, I went to Random.org and asked for 6 random numbers between 1 and 120. Then I went through the numbers in the order they appeared in the random list. The first entry from Toronto won the baked goods; after that, everyone else (whether from Toronto or not) won a Peppermint Ritter Sport.
I’ve copied and pasted the list here. I’m afraid I don’t know how to capture the screen exactly as it looks on the Random. org page (can anyone help me with that?), but I promise that this is the actual list that appeared when I hit the “Get Numbers” button. And if anyone can tell me how to copy the content from the original page onto my blog (for the next contest), I’d be much obliged!
(“Yes, we can vouch four our Mum because we were in the room while she was on the computer. . . well, okay, maybe we were actually wrestling on the floor at the time, but we trust our Mum. She always gives us treats when she says she will.”)
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2009-01-31 14:04:51 UTC
In other words, the winners are:
19: Shelby–Ritter Sport #1
26: VEGAN LISA–YOU WIN THE TREATS!!
28: Michelle–Ritter Sport #2
29: Animal-Friendly–Ritter Sport #3
35: Ellie–Ritter Sport #4
108: Joanne (Apple Crumbles)–Ritter Sport #5
Congratulations to all the winners! I’ll be contacting you via email. And if you happen to read this before you hear from me, please email me at dietdessertdogs AT gmail DOT com to get in touch!
This was really a fun contest for me. I loved reading all the entries, and your enthusiasm was contagious! Thanks, everyone, for entering.
And as I mentioned before, there will be one contest each month until the cookbook is published, so you can always enter again later for another chance to win!
Have a great weekend (and to my American friends, enjoy the Superbowl–but honestly, does anyone really enjoy the Superbowl??).
I’m planning a “real” post on Polenta Appetizers for later today, but for now just wanted to remind everyone that this is the LAST DAY to enter my chocolate and baked goods giveaway contest!
I’ve been blown away by the number of entries and am thrilled that so many people will have a chance to win–thanks so much for entering! But if you haven’t entered yet, now’s the time (or score a second entry by linking to the contest on your own blog).
You can check all the details here.
I’m looking forward to baking up a storm for y’all!
“Mum, it’s not fair that relatives can’t enter the contest. Well, I guess there’s also the fact that we can’t eat chocolate or sugar. But how about a dog treat contest? I bet that cute Henry would enter. . . just a thought.”
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
* (Originally Number One, but I was waylaid by Tuesday’s astounding news!)
Before I get to the ”Big Announcement” originally scheduled for yesterday, I just want to say THANK YOU once again to every reader of this blog, to those of you who voted for me in the Food Blog Awards (and if you haven’t yet–please do!), and especially for your amazing, uplifting, supportive and heartfelt comments. I’m still in a bit of shock, frankly, even being on the same list as those others, but one thing is certain: DDD wins hands down for best readers of the five finalists. So hugs to you all, and thank you. (And if you’re here from the voting page, you might like to read this first to see some sample blog entries. )
Now, back to blogging.
Really, you guys are so great that I think YOU deserve an award. And so, time for ME to offer a couple of prizes to YOU!
YES, IT’S CONTEST TIME AT DDD!
In honor of Tuesday’s historically transformative event (Obama’s, not mine), I’ve decided to present my own little contribution to US-Canada relations.
Some of you may have heard (though I doubt it) that CBC Radio compiled a list of the 49 top songs north of the 49th parallel (ie, by Canadian artists) to bestow upon President Obama as a gift for his inauguration. (Honestly, do they think he cares? I have a feeling the guy’s got other things on his mind at the moment). I must admit, though, I was surprised to see how many iconic American songs were actually written by Canadians.
Well, in honour of the new Mr. and Mrs. President, I’ve decided to offer my own little cross-border gift. It’s my way of saying, “hey, neighbor!” to those of you south of the world’s longest undefended border (and those of you within the Canadian border, too, if you happen to win the contest). Actually, I’m giving away six prizes!
***** THAT’S RIGHT: SIX (6) PRIZES TO BE WON!******
(There! Are we all in a contest-induced frenzy yet? No? Okay, you can go vote instead!) And then, consider this:
*** THERE ARE SIX
SIX ! ! ! ! ! !
Un deux trois quatre cinq six
6 6 6 6 6 6
–PRIZES TO BE WON! ***
Here’s what you can win:
I) FOR THOSE OF YOU IN CANADA AND THE CONTINENTAL U.S. :
(And I am really, REALLY sorry that I can’t send beyond that undefended border; but the Canadian postal system is pretty wacky and not all that efficient, and it would take far too long to get to you–not to mention it would cost me three months’ salary).
You may have read on Mihl’s blog a while back that the Ritter Sport people (who make a few very fine vegan chocolates) have, in their infinite wisdom, altered their peppermint formula so that it’s no longer vegan.
Well, darned if there isn’t at least one advantage to living up here in the snowy north: since our stock doesn’t sell as fast as it does in the States (what with only 1/10 the population), those minty bars are all over the place on our grocery store shelves! I double-checked the ingredients to be sure these were the “old” forumla, and then grabbed a whole stack of bars.
And I can’t wait to send them along to FIVE (5) lucky readers! To win one, just follow the contest rules, at the end of this post.
I got this idea from Amey, who held the first contest a while back–and of which I was one of the lucky recipients. So I can vouch that these bars are fabulous–dark, with a rich chocolate coating and smooth, creamy, sweet, pepperminty filling. Mmmm. Thanks again, Amey! Hope you win one this time.
II) FOR THOSE OF YOU IN THE TORONTO AREA:
(Again, how I wish I could extend the boundaries of this one, but you’ll see why I can’t in a moment).
[Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies]
As many of you know, I’ve just completed the manuscript for my upcoming cookbook, Sweet Freedom. (According to my publisher, it should be available mid-April; I’m hoping that’s a firm date!).
[Butterscotch Blondies with Chocolate Chips and Dried Cherries]
The recipes are all free of wheat, eggs, dairy and refined sweeteners–in other words, all are vegan, kosher-friendly, lactose free and casein free; and many are gluten free.
And here’s your chance to experience the delectable taste of goodies made with these whole, healthy ingredients first hand!
[Lemon-Blueberry Scones; or variation of Orange Pistachio]
To help you become familiar with the types of desserts in the book, I’m giving away a prize pack of homebaked (by yours truly) goodies from recipes in the book.
[Raw Fig and Cherry Bars]
I’ll bake up any five types of cookie, bar, muffin or biscuit from those pictured on this page (and those listed at the bottom). As the winner, you get to choose which five you’d like! Then, I’ll deliver them to you, within the general Toronto area (Lake Ontario to the south; Highway 427 to the west; Highway 9 to the north; Highway 48 to the east).
[Fruity Cereal Chews]
If you live within those boundaries–or if you’re willing to meet me at an agreed-upon location within them–you’re eligible to win the prize pack!
[GF Coconut Macaroons on the left; GF Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies on the right]
Because these are freshly baked and hand-delivered, I’m afraid I can’t send them through the mail. (I did try, once, to send my goodies to the States and they were stale, broken and really unappetizing by the time they arrived, so I’ve ruled that out this time).
[Seed Jumble Cookies]
I actually have no idea how many of you live in the Toronto area (I’m woefully deficient in techy skills so don’t know those stats). But think of it this way: if there are only three of you, your chances of winning just increased exponentially!
[Ultra Fudgy Brownies]
OKAY, SO HERE ARE THE CONTEST RULES:
[Triple- C Cookies (Cashew, Carob, Cardamom)]
To win either of the prizes, all you need to do is leave a comment at the bottom of this post, any time between now and January 30th. (Oh, and vote for me on the Food Blog Awards, or your entry is disqualified).
But you did look rather pale there for a second.
[Chocolate Chip Cookies]
To be eligible for the Sweet Freedom package, please indicate your five choices in your comment so I know you’re entering for that prize (and you’re still eligible for the chocolate bars, too!)
You can also receive an additional entry, just by mentioning the contest on your own blog (with a link back to this post). Be sure to let me know you’ve mentioned it, though, either through a trackback or through your comment here.
[Cinnamon Coffee Toffee Bars]
Remember, the contest will be open until midnight on January 30th. Once a winner is selected, I’ll get in touch and we can determine the delivery date together (some time mid-February. . . a Valentine’s Day treat, perhaps?)
[Carrot Raisin Oatmeal Cookies]
And the recipes for every one of the treats pictured here will be in the book.
Here are a few other choices for the prize package:
GF Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pear and Ginger Mini Loaves or Muffins
Pumpkinseed Shortbread Cookies
Hazelnut Mocha Cookies
I’d love to bake for you! So go ahead and leave those comments, and let me know which goodies you’d like in your gift pack! (And don’t forget, if you have a blog, you can enter again by mentioning the contest and linking to this page on your own blog).
And if you’re not in the Toronto area, don’t worry–I’ll be holding one Sweet Freedom-related contest every month, right up until the book comes out.
Oh, and I promise to post an actual recipe next time.
Last Year at this Time: Mini Sweet Potato and Chocolate Chip Muffins
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Odd. . . my Google Reader seemed to be filling up at an alarming rate, sort of like the rising waterline in The Poseidon Adventure. Then I remembered: Not only is October the official World Vegetarian Month, it’s also the Vegan MOFO (Month of Food)! This is the 31-day period in which vegan food bloggers worldwide pledge to blog at least 20 days of the month about, well, vegan food. And blog they have!
Given my vida loca schedule these days (and The Girls do make me put my clothes on and go walking in the rain), as well as the imminent festival of the harvest here in Canada, I accepted that I simply couldn’t commit to that esteemed blog event, for fear of ending up committed myself as a result. Instead, I thought I’d bring to you some highlights of recipes I’ve tried and enjoyed from other vegan and vegetarian bloggers in the past while.
Every now and again, I scroll through my photos and realize there are dozens of dishes I’ve cooked and photographed, but never blogged about. It may be that they were less than stellar in their final form, or that my woeful skill as a photographer resulted in a photo that, ahem, didn’t quite do the dish justice. More often than not, however, it’s just that I ran out of time and went on to blog about something else–and then, weeks (or, in some cases, months) later, I stumble upon the photos and rack my brains to remember what the heck it was. And so, here’s but a brief sampling of some of the things we’ve been sampling here in the DDD household.
Happy Vegan MoFo, everyone!
Caramelized Tofu (101 Cookbooks)
As Heidi mentions in her post about this, this deceptively simple dish is incredibly addictive. I made it once to try it out, then repeated the venture three days in a row. Stupendous. (And this is one of those aforementioned cases in which the photographer is not up to par with the quality of the recipe!).
Crumb-Topped Brownies, sans topping (My Sweet Vegan):
Hannah’s Crumb-Topped Brownies are everything you’ve heard they are, and more. As I mentioned a while back, I recently found myself with some soy yogurt in the house, so I finally had the means to try these out. They were superb–soft, gooey, and with a moist, almost custard-like texture that literally melted in the mouth. Even without the white sugar or flour, these were fabulous, and irresistibly decadent.
Curried Tofu Scramble (Moosewood New Classics):
My favorite scrambled tofu recipe. With just a touch of curry paste, a hit of jalapeno, the requisite turmeric–this dish provides a spicy, juicy, eggy and convenient scramble. I could eat this every day (and I do, for about 3 days after I make it, since the HH will no longer indulge with me).
Broccoli and Rice Salad (Jean Lemlin’s Quick, Simple and Main Course Vegetarian Pleasures):
Got broccoli? Got rice? With the addition of a tangy dressing and chopped almonds, Lemlin elevates the basic rice and veggies to a step beyond the quotidien. And gluten-free!
Nori Condiment-Baked Potatoes (Nourish Me):
As Lucy mentioned in her original post about this condiment, it may be just a tad too pungent for some tastes on its own; but these taste buds thoroughly enjoyed it roasted with russett potatoes. Yes, it does sound quirky, and yes, it does resemble the habitat of plankton, but it is, nevertheless, uniquely appealing!
Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (Destiny’s Vegan Kitchen):
Rich. Chewy. Chocolatey. Totally indulgent. All that, even though I made my usual substitutions of Sucanat for sugar, spelt for regular flour, coconut oil for margarine, etc. The HH almost scalded his tongue eating four of these babies straight out of the oven. What are you waiting for? Go bake some, pronto!
And coming up. . . .got any coconut of your own?
I deliberately ended this list with these coconut cookies as a segue into my next post, which will introduce a new Lucky Comestible series–on coconut! I’d love to include any recipes you may have made featuring this ingredient as well. While I’m not quite ready for my own blog event, I will happily provide links to your posts at the end of each Lucky Comestible recipe in the series.
So feel free to send along those URLs for your coconut-based recipes (and I’m already planning to feature at least 2 of your recipes in the batch. . . but you’ll have to wait to see which ones!).
“Oh, Mum, talk about MoFo! You’re so cruel to keep us all waiting. . .especially when you’re cooking all those yummy coconut dishes just a few feet away. . . *sigh*. . . “
“Chaser, don’t you use such language! And don’t worry, when she’s done, we’ll get to polish off the extra coconut milk.”
When I was organizing my photos this weekend, I came across a fair number that I’ve never used in blog posts. Not sure why; maybe it’s that my (relatively new) blog-related compulsion to photograph virtually every dish I cook, bake, or eat has produced a backlog. It also struck me that I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers to provide inspiration, unique recipes, or novel combinations of ingredients that often direct me in my cooking and baking exploits. And what better way to acknowledge their inspiration than to showcase some of these photos–and their recipes–here?
Since I began my ”Total Health” kick just over a week ago, I’ve steered clear of most sweets, including my greatest desire, chocolate. I have to admit that the restriction feels a tad less torturous this time than during the WOCA, when I would have hopped on the nearest streetcar named “Chocolate” and happily gone wherever it took me. Well, as it turns out, most of my photos depict desserts–how perfect for a sultry Sunday evening! So here are some of the lost treasures that have been baked in the DDD household over the past few months:
These chocolate-cranberry biscotti, adapted from a recipe in Patricia Greenberg’s Whole Soy Cookbook, were my first attempt at these crisp coffee-dunkers. I wish I’d read Romina’s post about her own version before I made these, as I definitely baked them too long. While visually appealing, they were probably more useful as paperweights or doorstops than cookies. After a long soak in a hot tub cup of tea or coffee, though, they were just fine.
Next up were Vegan Magic Cookie Bars from Susan’s blog. When I was a kid, we called these ”Hello Dollies” in our house (Why “Dolly?” No idea.). Susan warns that these are definitely not fat-free. Having said that, they were gooey, rich, and deliciously decadent. I had to give the rest away or I would have consumed them all.
These speckled darlings are Lemon-Zucchini Poppyseed Muffins adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Laura Matthias’s Extraveganza. With a tender, ethereal lightness, these muffins seemed almost too fragile for this world. Didn’t stop us from eating them, of course.
These gorgeous, golden beauties are Sweet Potato and Cranberry Scones, a test recipe for Anne-Kristin at Swell Vegan. I adored these–juicy with tart cranberries, a base that’s satisfying, lightly spiced and not too sweet, with the expected heft you’d get from a conventional biscuit. The HH and I thoroughly enjoyed these for breakfast (oh, and a few snacks).
Another recipe courtesy of a fellow blogger: this Raw Carrot Cake and Cashew Cheeze Frosting hails from Lindsay over at Day to Day Vegan. I’d been wanting to try this cake ever since Valentine’s Day, when we both participated in the Vegetable Love contest! My version came out a bit softer than Lindsay’s, so I just popped it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before unmolding and frosting. Raw, with a mysterious magnetism. . . This was yummy!
Finally, here’s a photo of the Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies from Ellen Abraham’s amazing cookbook, Simple Treats. These are, quite simply, one of the best brownies I’ve ever baked or eaten. See those chocolate chips gleaming in the sunlight? These are so good, I have to show them again. From another angle:
Everyone I’ve ever served these to has flipped over them. Aren’t they just stellar?? In fact, they might make you want to rush from the apartment, down the fire escape to the sidewalk below, and bellow at the top of your lungs, “STELLA-R! HEY, STELLA-RRRRRRR!!!!!!”
(Well, you just knew that’s where I was going with this one, didn’t you?).
Thanks to all my baking muses! Now, back to reading more blogs for new ideas. . .
Years ago, when I taught a course called “Feeding Body and Soul,” students were asked to contribute a recipe that had been handed down in their family as a way to illustrate the power of food through the generations. One young woman (who, in her words, had been “raised by hippies”) gave me a recipe for Navy Bean Muffins, made from the usual ingredients but using pureed navy beans instead of flour. I thought this twist was just groovy, man, and resolved to some day make them myself.
Well, that day hasn’t yet arrived, but I did think of beans as the perfect addition to my GF brownies, about which I posted last Monday. This recipe for Gluten-Free Brownies is one of three for chocolate treats with hidden healthy ingredients, just up today on VegFamily magazine. To see the other two as well, check out the entire article.
The hidden gem in these rich, chocolately squares is pureed beans. Now, before you go running to the hills, consider that many gluten-free recipes contain bean flours (such as chickpea, gram, soybean, etc.), so this recipe just takes the concept a step back, to the unprocessed, whole beans before they’re dried and pulverized. And beans add a great boost of protein to any recipe, along with both soluble and insoluble fiber, and a host of minerals.
Initially, I thought that pureeing the beans in a food processor would be sufficient, but found the final product a bit grainy that way. But cooking the beans really well, then pureeing in a blender, did seem to do the trick.
Because of the added loveliness of the legumes, I’m going to submit this recipe to My Legume Love Affair, hosted by The Well-Seasoned Cook.
Oh, and Sally, this one’s for you!
Gluten-Free Chocolate-Walnut Brownies
These brownies are everything they should be: fudgy, moist, and very chocolatey. The beans are not detectable in the final product, but their health-enhancing qualities will be!
NOTES: I used chia rather than flax in this recipe. In general, chia tends to retain moisture a bit more than flax, so the recipe may be a tad dryer if you use flax. I also wouldn’t substitute other beans for the white beans, as they may cause the brownie to taste gritty. [Edited, September 20: Since posting this recipe, I've heard from a few people who had different results when they changed some of the ingredients in the recipe. I've found with other baking that subtituting flax for chia requires a 3-to-1 ratio (3 times as much flax as chia), and the results are a bit different. I also can't vouch for using different flours--I think the sorghum is fairly essential here, as it's a soft flour that absorbs quite a bit of moisture.]
2 cups well cooked, drained white beans or navy beans
1/2 cup chocolate or vanilla soymilk (you could probably use almond milk as well)
2 Tbsp. tahini (sesame paste)
1/3 cup sunflower or other light-tasting oil
1 Tbsp. finely ground chia seeds or 3 Tbsp. finely ground flax seeds
2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. tamari soy sauce (this brings out the chocolate flavor–trust me)
1 cup Sucanat or UNrefined evaporated cane juice
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped, if desired (or use chocolate chips if you leave the brownie unfrosted)
Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly spray a 9 x 9 square pan with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper.
In a blender (a food processor is not suitable for this recipe), blend the beans and soymilk until you have a perfectly smooth puree. Add the tahini, oil, chia, vanilla, tamari, and Sucanat, and blend again. Set aside for a few minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Blend the liquid mixture again and check to see that the Sucanat has all dissolved (if it hasn’t, continue to blend until it dissolves).
Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir to combine. Gently stir in the walnuts, if using. Turn the mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 45-55 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through, until a tester inserted in the center comes out barely clean (a few moist crumbs may stick to it). Cool in pan and frost if desired. Cut into squares. Makes 9 large or 16 smaller squares.
Variation: You can also bake the batter in well-oiled mini muffin pans for “two-bite” brownies. The minis bake about 20 or 25 minutes.
[An updated and slightly revised version of this recipe is featured in my cookbook, Sweet Freedom. To find out more, check the "Sweet Freedom" button at right, or visit the cookbook blog.]
I find it fascinating how certain ideas make the rounds in the world of food, blogging or otherwise. I’ve mentioned before about how it galls me that Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld has an over-hyped, over-acclaimed, skyrocketed-to-bestseller-status cookbook in print, all because she thought to add some vegetable purees to existing recipes (Oh. And because she’s Jerry. Seinfeld’s. Wife. Right.). No matter that others–writers, or, naturally, vegan chefs–have been doing this sort of thing for years (and even my little baking company has been selling carob muffins with hidden spinach in them since 2004–so there!).
[Note to readers: Please permit me this puerile rant. It's January 28th, it's been snowing and way below 0 degrees C for weeks over here, and there is no end to winter in sight. I am grumpy. I hate ice and snow. I have been consuming highly insalutary amounts of chocolate. But I assure you, this is just a rant. It will pass and I will be better tomorrow.]
Well, when I was asked a while ago by VegFamily magazine to come up with a trio of chocolate desserts for Valentine’s Day, I decided to jump on this veggies-in-sweets bandwagon. Maybe MJS has dumped some veggies into regular recipes, all full of eggs, refined flours and white sugar. But has anyone seen vegan versions, and without wheat or refined sweeteners? Gotcha! And so I had my angle.
I had been working for some time on a brownie recipe
made with pureed white (navy) beans, and decided to include this in the VegFamily piece by stretching the original concept somewhat. Then, the other morning, I took a peek at Celine’s fabulous blog and–voila!–there is a recipe for Black Bean Brownies, based on a still-earlier version from Activist Mommy. See what I mean? It’s that 100th monkey effect (or, in this case, 100th black bean effect. And that’s not just a lot of hot air, either. Unless you eat too many, of course.).
Next up, I wanted to do something really decadent, and also really romantic. One of the most romantic desserts of all time is the Molten Chocolate Cake, so I was determined to re-create a healthier, vegetable-rich, vegan version.
First of all, regular molten chocolate cakes rely on lots of eggs, and the batter is only partially baked to ensure a soft, oozing, chocolatey centre. I solved this problem by including two mixtures: one for the cake, and one for the centre, then combining before baking. The result was a rich, gooey, warm and definitely decadent treat. Oh, and just for fun, it has hidden zucchini and spinach in it! I’m happy to say that the result was enthusiastically “HH Approved.” He’s even asked for them again, on the real Valentine’s Day.
The last item was a very fudgy, very peanut-buttery, chocolate-peanut butter cookie. These were an immediate hit with Gemini I’s kids as well as my colleagues at the college. And because they’re all used to my weirdo creations already, nobody batted an eye when I told them the cookies incorporated eggplant puree in the batter.
I’ll be posting all three recipes on this blog after the article is published. If you’d like to check out the recipes before then, head on over to VegFamily once their February edition is up on the site.