Monday, September 3, 2012

Very Red Velvet Brownies

So, do you have your Labour Day dinner plans all set out? BBQs? Picnics? Sports events? Avoiding the whole shindig all together because oh-my-goodness-school-starts-tomorrow-and-I'm-still-working-on-yesterday? As far as I can tell around here, especially given our lack of air conditioning situation right now, we'll probably be sweating it out over grilled something on the back patio. Regardless of what you're doing, it's a great day to enjoy just being off of work for a Monday and spending time with your family. And you know food (ideally with minimum work) is going to be involved!

Dessert is often left to the local ice cream shops, grocery store bakery departments or eschewed all together for Summer "do's", especially when it's still hot and sticky outdoors and everyone's avoiding the stove like the plague. But those options aren't necessarily great for the September-though-Fall waistline either, if you (like so many of us) have been indulging in one too many ice cream sundaes, lemon squares or cocktails over the season. I can't call something a meal without a little something sweet, though, and you do need something a little decadent to enjoy with your fresh fruit salad (especially when there are kids around). So I suggest something classic, bittersweet and well loved all over - brownies! Specifically, red velvet brownies.


But wait, didn't I just say all that stuff about healthiness and speed and ease? Well, yes. But these are all those things - and you can even bake them in a toaster or convection oven so you're not boiling up the whole house! These brownies are not only gluten free, refined sugar free and nut free, but they're vegan, packed with nutrients and under 120 calories a piece! I was inspired by a recipe from a transplanted fellow Canadian - Kris of Munchin with Munchkin - and changed it up to use leftover cooked adzuki beans, roasted beets, raspberries and fruit laced chocolate chips as well as cutting the sugar down with stevia and lessening the "grainy" texture of using all flax-meal as a flour. The result was fudgy, slightly fruity and while my mom loved them (mostly because she loves chocolate anything, and fruity chocolate even more), even the "butch", doughnut and pizza guys at my stepbrothers' mechanic shop proclaimed them delectable! I didn't tell them what was in the mix though (and I suggest that unless the kids eating these - and they will - are used to "healthy ingredients", you do the same), but the empty tray spoke for itself!

So they're healthy, we know that. But what about easy? And avoiding the kitchen? And enjoying outside while the living's still good? Well, I have an answer for that too - the food processor. No need to pre-whisk dry and wet, just puree the beans, beets and berries, throw in the cocoa, stevia and sugar, then follow it up with the remaining ingredients. Voila: one (dishwasher-safe) thing to clean, no muss no fuss!

I'm sending these incredibly yummy squares to Ricki's Wellness Weekend this week. Be sure to stp by, say hi and check out the other goodies!

Very Red Velvet Brownies
Makes 12
1 cup cooked adzuki beans
½ cup pureed roasted beets
1/4 cup pureed raspberries
½ cup Dutch process cocoa powder
6 packets vanilla flavoured stevia (equal to 1/4 cup vanilla sugar)
½ cup coconut sugar (or dark brown sugar)
1/4 cup glutinous rice flour (aka sweet rice flour)
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup cherry or raspberry flavoured chocolate chips (or semisweet chocolate chips)
½ tsp coarse sugar, for topping (optional)
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (extra, for topping)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 9" pan with parchment or greased foil.
  2. In a food processor, puree the beans, beets and raspberries until smooth.
  3. Add the cocoa, stevia (or vanilla sugar) and coconut sugar and puree smooth again.
  4. Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and flaxseed and mix smooth.
  5. Add the chocolate chips and pulse in.
  6. Spread in the pan and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining half of the chocolate chips and return to the oven (if you want a "ganache-y" top like the photo, wait two minutes after returning them to the oven, then spread evenly overtop and place back in the oven).
  9. Turn off the oven and leave the brownies inside for 30 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 116.8
Total Fat: 4.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.4 mg
Sodium: 12.0 mg
Total Carbs: 20.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
Protein: 2.6 g