Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tricky Treats

A Tricky Treat…

My Halloween surprise came as the culmination of an odd combination. Usually I spend Samhain (Sa-wane) evening quietly honoring the people and companion critters in my life who have died. Given the visions of Dutch process cocoa clamoring in my waking and sleeping mind, for days leading up to all Hollow’s, apparently this year my offering would be brownies; dense, dark to the brink of black, moist brownies.

Receiving an email with the latest issue “Living Without” magazine recipe for gluten free brownies and a pending visit from a dieting girlfriend instigated these cocoa visions. We usually talk until 2am over a baked good and tea or wine. The recipe yields a mild, cake-textured brownie that is more similar to a German chocolate cake than my definition of brownie. Nice, and good enough to share but not a brownie.

Said girlfriend took that batch home. Another took a second batch, the product of melding my decades-old standard brownie recipe and the ‘Living Without” concept. So mine are inspired by “Living Without” they are a completely different recipe with double the cocoa, vanilla, brown sugar, and no flour at all.

Making the third batch my Treat.

Being Halloween there must be a Trick to go with the Treat.

Black beans replace most of the fat, all of the flour and reduce the sugar by half. Yielding brownies that are low-fat, anti-oxidant rich, high in fiber, dare I say even, healthy? And still a true, rich, moist, decadent brownie.

The key to these brownies is the black beans need to be hot when pureeing them with the cocoa, so does the small amount of olive oil. The heat releases the cocoa flavonoids allowing it to blend better with the other ingredients prior to baking. The steam wafting up from the food processor will make it all clear…

Also because of the beans this recipe is most easily measured in volume. Two cups of cooked beans actually weighs 10.125 oz, which is a 15oz can of beans drained, plus a third of another can.

Black Bean Brownies

2 cups hot, cooked black (turtle) beans, drained

5 tbsp olive oil, warm as well

1 cup Penzey’s Dutch cocoa, or other high-grade Dutch cocoa

4 tsp vanilla

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp kosher sea salt

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking powder

3 eggs

¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a 6x8 baking pan with parchment. Don’t have a 6x8 pan? Double the recipe and bake in a 9x13.

Place the beans, cocoa, oil, and vanilla in food processor. Blend to a paste.

Add in sugar, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum. Pulse until blended. Scrape down the bowl, especially the bottom edge – cocoa will try to cling there and not incorporate.

Pulse in eggs until barely blended, the dough with be very glossy and stiff. Spatula into pan. Sprinkle with semi-sweet chips.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Cool for ten minutes, devour at will.

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