Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Squidgy Superfood Brownies

I never thought I would have as much of a struggle to procure ingredients as I did with these brownies. I had a killer recipe waiting in the wings, with flavours I knew were going to be hits. First of all, it was a brownie recipe, which means one thing was present: chocolate - and lots of it. The other ingredients in the formula promised a fudgier-style crumb, which I adore, and lent great earthy notes that balanced the bitterness of the cocoa and the sweetness of the sugar and Truvia. It's a rarity for me to find a recipe using buckwheat flour that isn't completely gluten free, but the dark, nutty tasting flour kept the total gluten level relatively low in these bars, meaning more fudginess!

Squidgy Superfood Brownies

But chocolate and buckwheat aside, the ingredient that sealed the deal (and almost drove me batty trying to procure) was roasted, pureed beets. I had planted rows upon rows of the root veggie (and carrots, but that's another sob story) at the beginning of the year, choosing varieties that were known for remaining sweet and tender even at gargantuan sizes, for the major purpose of baking into delicious treats. However, just like when I went to make the Green Thai Curry Paste, day after day I'd walk out to the garden to find my prized heirlooms half eaten while still underground. Forget 20-pound showstoppers, I'd be happy with enough beet left for a salad!

Squidgy Superfood BrowniesThankfully, the garden gods eventually smiled on me and granted me a small (in number) but large (in size and flavour) crop of my prized beets. After thinking the only thing I'd be able to make with this year's harvest was a small batch of Blueberry Beet Butter, I finally had enough to make my brownies.

I wasn't disappointed either - the cooled brownies were full of chocolatey flavour and were edged with just enough *something special* to appeal to the "I don't eat dessert" crowd. The texture was fudgy, edging on the slightest bit of squidgy in the centre, and they held together when cut so that they could be individually wrapped for lunches. The large amount of beet puree gave the batch a delicate ruddy colour and - bonus point - kept the added fat down to just ¼ cup for the loaf pan-sized batch. Of course, the perfect brownie (beet or otherwise) relies on a delicate manipulation of temperature for success. My secrets are pretty basic, but boy do they work:

1. Do not, under any circumstances, overbake. In most cases a toothpick will come out with damp crumbs for a fudgy batch

2. Placing the pan of baked brownies directly in the freezer from the oven for 30 minutes, then remove it and bring to room temp.

I have no idea why that second trick works - I took biology, not chemistry in college - but it does. I always make sure I've got enough space in my freezer to stick the hot pan (on a baking sheet if I have to layer on top of something) before I pop a batch in the oven!

What's your favourite type of brownie - fudgy, cakey, somewhere in between? Let me know in the comments!

Squidgy Superfood Brownies
Adapted from Vegan Nutritionista
Serves 8
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup sugar
4 packets Truvia
1 ¼ cups pureed beets
1 tbsp vanilla extract
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp beet greens powder (I made my own from pulverized, dehydrated beet greens) or kale powder
⅓ cup flour
¼ cup buckwheat flour
¼ tsp baking powder
pinch salt
3 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 9x5” loaf pan.
  2. In a bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, beets and vanilla.
  3. Whisk in the cocoa powder, greens powder, flours, baking powder and salt.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spread the brownie mixture into the pan. 
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  7. Cool completely before slicing.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 185.2
Total Fat: 8.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 82.5 mg
Total Carbs: 27.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.7 g
Protein: 2.8 g