I have experienced my share of dessert disappointments. Growing up with my health nut of a mother, I remember getting sugar-free whole wheat apple pies instead of birthday cakes. One year she iced the bottom of a plate to say “Happy Birthday Kristen” and placed it on the pie yet wouldn’t let me lick the icing.
But now as an adult I am free to eat as many birthday cakes as I like – and while I have adopted the ideals of clean eating I grew up with, I refuse to choke down some of the icky “substitutes” I used to have to. Now, anyone who knows me I am a picky eater – I do not consume dairy products or red meat and I hard-core avoid gluten and sugar. So as I have been on a baking kick, I thought I would do a few posts about delicious but healthy desserts. But while you may think I that on my diet that my recipes involve faux-eating, spooning mouthfuls of air into my gob (an emperors new clothes for food) — you will see that my recipes are both healthy and decadent. This weekend I brought these brownies to a dinner party and my friends demanded I post this recipe first thing this week! They are divine – AND dairy-free, flour-free and sugar free! I think its success is two fold: one – the flavour of cocoa blankets everything, and two – black beans make this cakelet creamy (which most dairy-free desserts lack). I made some changes to the original recipe which I found in Clean Eating Magazine – you know you’re picky when you modify modified desserts.
2 oz dark chocolate (70% or higher cocoa – and sugar-free. I used the Baker’s brand – all the fancy Whole foods one had cane juice in them. The original recipe had 1 oz – I doubled it for more fudginess)
1 egg white
2 tbsp canola oil + whatever you need to lightly grease the pan. The orig recipe called for olive oil, but I have ruined enough desserts with this oil. Its too olivey. Coconut oil would also be excellent – its the best oil to cook with and lower cholesterol.
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce ( you can easily make yours from scratch – I didn’t. You have to preplan to do this, but if you make it for breakfast – bake these that night)
1/2 Agave nectar (the orig recipe called for honey, but in Ayurveda cooked honey is toxic. Maple syrup is another option — I wonder how molasses would work)
1/4-1/2 Chopped Walnuts (optional – but delicious)
1 1/2 cups of soft cooked black beans rinsed and drained (if you are like me and try not to use canned goods, you can make a black bean dinner than pull some out for this recipe. Again, you have to be uber organized)
1. Melt the dark chocolate on a low heat. I added a few tablespoons of water to help the pot from staining.
2. Add this to a food processor with all the other ingredients and blend. Pour this into a lightly greased cake pan. I used the only cake pan I own which is a 10 inch round. I don’t think it matters – just check the brownies to make sure they don’t burn or get too hard.
3. Cook at 350 Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes. Its ready when the edges begin to pull away from the sides. I also pressed the top with the spoon and made sure it didn’t leave an imprint.
4. (optional) – melt some more dark chocolate and add a dollop of agave – and ice the top. I was trying to sell this brownie to Ben so I brought out all the marketing tricks. My brushed on icing defintely gave some value-add.
Store them in the fridge (making them fudge texture). I put some in the freezer and they were hard as a rock but were fine when I put them back in the fridge to thaw them out. I cook intuitively and sometimes my experimentation ruins a good thing.