Sunday, July 8, 2007

Dense, Fudgy Vegan Brownies

Picture dense, chocolatey, delicately spiced, fat-free confections. Is this what immediately springs to mind?
Didn't think so.

However, pure, canned pumpkin is the secret ingredient in my brownies. I love this recipe, and have been making it for over a year. The batter itself is pretty tasty, and is sugar-free and chock-full of fibre. I have one every night as a bedtime snack, heated at 375 F for 20 minutes then spread with sweetened and vanilla-flavoured cream cheese. A large can of pumpkin from Stokeley's will make 3 batches of brownies in 8x8 inch square pans, and I often make all 3 batches at once. One pan I'll put in the fridge, and the other two I'll wrap in tin foil and freeze for later. Definitely a time-saver if you eat them every day like me!

Dense, Fudgy Vegan Brownies (my own recipe)
1 cup unsweetened packed pumpkin
1/2 cup Splenda Granular (or sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla (or any flavouring of your choice)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, cayenne, or ginger (optional, my favourite is cloves)
Boiling water (or hot coffee)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly spray an 8 x 8 baking pan.
  2. Mix pumpkin, Splenda, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  3. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spice (if using) together.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the pumpkin mixture.
  5. Mix until just combined, adding boiling water as required.
  6. Spread in prepared pan and bake 28min, until center is firm.**
  7. Cool completely in the fridge before slicing and eating.

**If you're like me and make 3 batches at once, increase the baking time to 33 minutes.

Scott Kessman from Associated Content had this to say about pumpkin:

"First and foremost, the main healthful qualities of pumpkin nutrition are the large amounts of antioxidants and beta-carotene present within the pumpkin. Antioxidants, as most of us know by know due to increased awareness of the importance of healthy living, help strengthen our immune system. Beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A and helps reduce the risk of cancer and other dangerous diseases. Pumpkins by themselves are also very low in fat and calories, and high in potassium. They also possess a fair amount of Vitamin C and other nutrients, such as Niacin, Vitamin E, Calcium and Iron."
I figured that with all that good stuff inside, I'd submit this for Sweetnick's ARF / 5-A-Day roundup!