Thursday, October 27, 2011
Vegans Are Sneaky Creatures
The best thing about vegan baking (besides the fact that it is vegan, of course) is that it is so innovative. I think even omnivores have to give credit to this. From the flax 'egg' to sneaking beans into our desserts (and therefore making them healthy. Am I right, or am I right?), vegan's are always finding new ways to re-create old favourites that are traditionally made with the use of egg and dairy products.
Vegan food never fails to surprise and amaze me. Whilst browsing the web, I often come across some truly lovely adaptations and inventions alike that only aid to inspire me.
If you didn't know it, I am another one of those chocolate fanatics. I tend to sneak it into everything. Chocolate bars tempt me at natural food stores. I will use any excuse to have it for breakfast, or put it in something "healthy". Black bean brownies totally fit that bill, right? I mean—hello!: beans are healthy. And chocolate is too. Dark chocolate. Yeah!
I have been meaning to make black bean brownies for awhile. It's always in the back of my mind, and I have collected quite a few different recipes—all of which I plan to test out. So first let me tell you what I like in a brownie: I like a little crust or 'skin' on the top; a dense, moist interior; and a rush of good chocolate flavour that will stick it to my frequent chocolate cravings.
I know what people think about vegan baked goodies, and brownies in particular. It is difficult to achieve a perfect brownie, regardless (especially since everyone's preferences are different, if only slightly), but a vegan brownie? You mean no eggs? Good luck! I don't necessarily disagree, but I do think it is possible to create great vegan brownies.
This recipe is one that I adapted slightly from My Little Celebration's adaption. I quite like it. There could have been more of a crust on them, and I may have underbaked them because I forgot when I put them in the oven so... I guessed. Oh well! These are seriously super chocolate-y, fudge-y and moist. You could use regular unsweetened cocoa powder but for some reason I have a bias for the dutch-processed variety. No clue why.
It really is true what they say about black bean brownies: you would never know there are beans in there. So go ahead and have two or three for second breakfast. After all, beans and chocolate are totally good for you. Feel free to add a handful of vegan chocolate chips or chopped nuts. More for your health!
EDIT (28 Oct 2011): If they're too gooey for you, (I don't mind a little gooey-ness but) you can just put them in the fridge for about an hour or so and they will firm up nicely. Still chewy and fudge-y, just not as gooey as they are at room temp.
Super Fudge-y Black Bean Brownies
Adapted from here.
1-1/2 cups cooked black beans
2 flax 'eggs'
3 tbsp. canola oil (or coconut oil, melted—use refined if you don't want the coconut flavour)
Scant 3/4 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
Dash of salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Scant 3/4 cup raw sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 heaping tsp instant coffee powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 8-in. baking dish and set aside.
Prepare flax 'eggs' (2 tbsp flax meal mixed with 6 tbsp warm water) and allow to sit and thicken 3-5 minutes.
In bowl of food processor, combine all ingredients (except add-ins, if using) and puree until smooth.
Pour batter into the prepared dish. Bake for 30 minutes (I think it was about 30 minutes... oops!), or until top is dry and brownie has started to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan before removing and cutting into squares of your desired size.