Saturday, August 24, 2013

Real Black Bean Brownies

Ever since I heard about them I really wanted black bean brownies to work. The idea that something so rich and delicious could potentially be better for you is always appealing, but brownies!? really?

I've had different versions that have completely covered the spectrum. Some were chalky, powdery, hard, etc. Some were amazing. My sister has made some at my Mommom's house (who cannot have wheat) that were dense and gooey and so chocolaty that my grandfather never knew they were anything other than boxed. (We never told him). And my Aunt recently shared some with homemade almond flour, coconut oil, chocolate chips, and a bunch of other stuff that I can't remember. The almond flour gave them a great texture and depth of flavor that I will have to try sometime.

But when I asked both of them how they made them it was "Oh, a shake of this..." "A scoop of that." "You know, about this much..."

So I had to make my own. I've combined ideas. "Coconut oil is hard to keep smooth" said my sister. So I liquefied it and then stirred the sugar in to keep it from clumping. And "It seems to help mashing the beans with the cocoa, because otherwise you get bean chunks" was my Aunt's tip. So, taking all of that under advisement. Here's my version.

Real Black Bean Brownies (Tyson asked "Are those REAL brownies, or black bean...?" How dare he...)

1/2 can of black beans, drained
3/4 cup of dark cocoa
1/2 cup of coconut oil, warmed until liquid
2 eggs, or 3 for more cakey brownies, whisked together.
3/4 cup to 1 cup of sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
chocolate chips as desired (reasonably)

preheat oven to 350 and butter a 9x9 pan.

in a bowl, mash mash mash the black beans with cocoa using a pastry blender until it forms very small uniform clumps and you can't see any more of the whiteness inside the beans. take no prisoners! it will seem very dry and crumbly, but don't worry. stir in your baking powder and salt.

mix your sugar into the coconut oil. stir in your eggs and mix well. stir in vanilla.

mix the wet and dry together. pour into your prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. turn the oven down to 300 and bake another 15 minutes. check on them. if the middle still jiggles a little let them go another couple of minutes.

let them cool on a rack for a few minutes. if you used three eggs they may be puffy, but will settle down a little.

Serve with milk, whipped cream, frosting, ice cream, strawberries, raspberries, etc...

ps. this recipe does use regular white sugar, so they are not exactly "healthy". but I thought you should know that white sugar is much easier for your body to process safely when eaten without white flour. so high five to that!

Cannellini Bean and Leek Soup with Bacon and Sage

Has this summer completely skewed your perception of time? It has mine. It feels like I've had to go through this mental exercise of figuring out what day it is every morning when I'm waking up. Yesterday I actually had to ask Tyson. Thankfully he was still in bed, who knows how long it wold have taken me...
Anyways, this week when I made up the menu on Thursday I already had dinner planned for that night, but thinking it was Friday I didn't have a dinner plan until Saturday. This soup was what I came up with to fill in my (mental) gap. It was very flavorful. The beans have such a nice earthy flavor, but the sage and chives really kept it bright. You could even skip the potato if you wanted something a little less hearty and more summery.

Cannellini Bean and Leek Soup with Bacon and Sage

2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 leeks, white parts sliced thin
2 pieces of bacon
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 large russet potato, peeled, and diced smallish
3 1/2 or 4 cups of water
splash of white wine
4 sage leaves
chives, or garlic chives, to add color and zing (optional)

Slice bacon and place in a large heavy pan. Cook over med-low heat. When fat has rendered, add leaks and stir. another 5 minutes or so or until leeks are soft. Be careful that it doesn't burn and add a splash of wine if it starts to.

Add the tomatoes and their juice, simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the beans and potatoes and just barely cover with water. Season with some salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and simmer gently until potatoes are soft. Snip your sage leaves into the soup and let simmer a couple of minutes more.

Snip your chives into each bowl after serving so that their color stays bright.