Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Staying Sneaky

I'm really having fun finding ways of sneaking the veggies my family "hates" into their diets. Unfortunately for me, the stepfamily doesn't trust anything (except cookies) that I make, since it doesn't either come out of a package or is the result of my mom's handiwork. Mind you, even my mom is suspect when it comes to making something "new" for them, regardless of whether the recipe was something she's just stumbled upon online, something I wrote for her, or something right out of Julia Child's French Cooking. At any rate, nobody in the household (except yours truly) willingly eats dark greens like kale, or pretty much any other "lettuce-like" crucifery, with the notable exception being my mother's cabbage rolls (probably because they're mostly rice and meat). While anything sweet and sinful is not on any of the menu plans around here these days, the tastebuds and appetites of many others around me don't mind picking up the slack regardless of the level of decadence (or guilt!) I impart.

Since I haven't been making my usual Summer pies and had some extra time (and goodies) on my hands, I did want to break out something the sweet teeth could enjoy that was also a little less "heavy" than my winter cakes and cookies. Still being in my "greens" groove (speaking of, have you checked out my giveaway and the Cookin' Greens contest yet?) I was casting around ideas for using the kale puree in something else. Then I came upon the Sneaky Chef recipe for "Brawny Brownies" and I was sold. Given that the original recipe used the slightly sweeter baby spinach and blueberries in it's "ninja" puree, I was curious to see if the tarter Concord grapes and bitter kale would be noticed. I modified the rest of the (half) recipe too - making it 100% vegan (with Earth Balance and pureed tofu), spelt-flour based, and with a jacked-up flavour from both almonds folded into the batter and by swapping half the "fat" ingredient (Missy Chase Lapine, the author, uses melted butter) with organic smooth almond butter.

By the time the brownies were ready to go into the oven, the batter looked and smelled identical to any brownie mix or recipe I'd prepared before, and after they were cooled, chilled and cut not even the finickiest child could have figured out the secret. When my sister gets home from college at Thanksgiving I just might have to try this one out on her - if her tastebuds are fooled, pretty much anyone else's will be too. 

Slightly Sneaky Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Sneaky Chef’s Brawny Brownies
Makes a 9-inch pan, 16 pieces
2 tbsp vegan margarine
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp corn syrup
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
5 oz silken tofu, pureed
1 tbsp vanilla
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pureed berry / kale mixture (recipe follows)
1/4 cup spelt (or whole wheat) flour
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp slivered almonds
  1. Preheat oven 350F. Grease a 9" pan.
  2. Melt margarine, almond butter, corn syrup and chocolate chips together in a large bowl.
  3. Add tofu puree, vanilla, sugar and puree mixture, set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the dry mixture to the chocolate mixture and blend well.
  6. Fold in the almonds
  7. Bake 22 minutes.
  8. Cool in the pan (ideally, chill overnight) before cutting.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 112.7
Total Fat: 6.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 21.7 mg
Total Carbs: 15.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 2.4 g

Pureed Grape - Kale mixture
Makes about 1/4 cup
50 g (1/2 cup) chopped frozen kale, thawed (liquid reserved)
20 g (2-3 tbsp) fresh or frozen grapes
  1. Place kale, it's liquid and grapes into a small blender or food processor.
  2. Puree smooth.
  3. Store leftover puree in a covered container in the fridge.
Amount Per Tablespoon
Calories: 5.7
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 2.0 mg
Total Carbs: 1.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 0.4 g

1 comment :

  1. I sneak stuff into my kids food all the time! I hope one day they'll grow out of their pickiness, especially when they realize what they've been eating all along that they never even knew was there! For now though, it's still my little secret...


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