Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fudgy Black Sesame Brownies

Do you hold any stock in "good luck" symbols, especially around the New Year? I never actively think about it, buy in reality I do have a fair amount of "lucky" things in my daily life, from dream catchers, keys, evil eyes and trees of life to my diet rich in grains, greens and legumes. With all the amulets kicking around here, I really should expect to win the lottery soon - or at the very least, have a sudden windfall in my classroom situation. That said, I'm very much of the school of thought that we ultimately make our own fortunes, but a little help now and then doesn't hurt, does it?

These brownies, like the other "lucky" things for me, were not planned to be amulets of good fortune. They were planned to be rich in flavour, fudgy and refined sugar free! However, since it is New Year's Eve, I dug a little bit into the ingredients and method and found three little nuggets of information which hint at the possibility of a bite of these fudgy squares of goodness becoming a bona-fide talisman for 2016! Here's what I found:

First, baking (and sharing) baked goods is seen as an insurance policy that a household will always be warm, filled with friends and always has food. It's a Scottish custom to follow a tradition called "first footing" during Hogmanay (New Year's) in which the first person to enter a home (and what they carry) after the new year determines what kind of year the residents will have.

Second, the beans and grains in the brownies themselves. This is a well-known tradition worldwide, and for good reason - their appearance resembles coins, and the foods plump up as they cook - foretelling financial gains for those who eat them, I couldn't find any indication if purees like my black-eyed-pea based Brilliant Bean Dip, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip or hummus count... I hope so!

Sesame seeds are lucky again, due to their shape and plentiful nature. Seeds are also inherent symbols of fertility and immortality as they contain all the life-giving elements for a plant. Even more, the fact that sesame oil is a non-drying variety indicates that the lucky virtues it bestows on those who anoint with it or consume it won't "dry up".

Fudgy Black Sesame Brownies
Cool, huh? But really, these brownies are all about the flavour, which it has in spades! These get a ton of nutty (yet nut-free) flavour from black sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil - two of my favourite pairings with cocoa. For the dense, fudgy texture, I turned to one of my new favourite legumes - Tongues of Fire beans - which I pureed a la Nutella Stuffed Black Bean and Banana Cookies and Very Red Velvet Brownies. To sweeten things up a tad, I gave the batter a kiss of coconut sugar, agave and stevia, and used stevia sweetened chocolate chips in the mixture too. To keep the rich brownie-like texture going, I followed my tried-and-true baking method of putting the hot pan in the freezer for 30 minutes before taking to room temperature and cutting, which always works like a dream. Mom and I snuck a taste before tucking the bars into the freezer for tonight and they earned two BIG thumbs up!

Given that these bars are gluten - free , refined sugar - free and vegan, everyone can partake in good luck (or at the very least, good food) this New Years! Here's to a killer 2016 - we've earned it!

Fudgy Black Sesame Brownies
Makes one 8" pan, 16 pieces
1 ½ cups cooked Tongues of Fire, adzuki or black beans, rinsed and drained well if canned
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup quinoa flakes
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup light agave nectar
¼ tsp liquid stevia
2 tbsp coconut palm or raw sugar
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp vanilla
½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp black sesame seeds (you can use toasted white sesame if you can’t find black)
⅓ cup miniature dark chocolate chips (use stevia-sweetened for 100% RSF)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray an 8" baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine the beans, cocoa powder, quinoa flakes, salt, agave, stevia, sugar, oils, vanilla and baking powder. Process until smooth.
  3. Pulse in the sesame seeds and chocolate chips.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325F and bake another 10-12 minutes, until dry on top and set.
  5. Remove from oven and immediately place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from the freezer and let stand at least 30-40 minutes at room temperature before cutting.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 122.1
Total Fat: 5.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 2.4 mg
Total Carbs: 16.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
Protein: 2.3 g

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