Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Vegan Brownies

Yeah, you read that right.  Vegan, no animal products found within.  Even I ask myself what am I getting myself into?  It's more an experiment than anything, but lately I've been looking more into the benefits of a plant-based diet and ways to add more variety to my meals.  I'm a big fan of soaking and slow-cooking beans and legumes because it is great at leaching out some of those complex sugars our stomachs don't really care for.  I am never upset by eating beans.  It's easy and takes only 45 minutes to cook, give or take depending on the type of bean. (Quick note: beans from the can still contain these sugars because the beans are pressure cooked and they don't get a chance to leach out.)

These past few years I have been paying attention to articles, cookbooks, documentaries, and other nutritional sources.  I've gotta say that a whole-foods plant-based diet is really the way to stay healthy, not worry about calories, and prevent and reverse diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  I want to be serious about that last one.  Nutritional scientists and doctors are making evidence-based claims that our typical Western diet of processed food and meat consumption is the making us sick.  They cause inflammation and provide too many calories.  This combination leads to obesity, clogged arteries and medical illnesses.  Plants provide the opposite effect to all those issues.  For me, it makes sense to eat more vegetables and less meat because I want to provide the best environment for my body to grow and work efficiently in competition and life.  For those who are obese or have a food-illness like diabetes, they can change their diet and eventually lose the prescriptions and weight. 

Sounds like a great idea, right?  Lose weight, feel better, live longer and pay less in medical bills.  It's a bit hard these days to think smart about food when we're bombarded by media to buy the next "healthy" item to hit the shelves.  For now I recommend watch "Forks Over Knives" and google about food pH effects.  It'll be enlightening.   Ok, I'm done.  Back to brownies.

Tomorrow my class is having a potluck and considering the class is fairly liberal.  I thought I'd make a gluten-free vegan recipe that all could share in.  I would have scoffed at this title two years ago but here I am writing a blog about it.  Below is the recipe I found from this baker and dessert blogger Katie, http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/
Thank you Katie, I hope you don't mind.

A few changes I made to the mix:
1/4 cup shredded coconut----------add to the processor and sprinkle on top before going in the oven.
1 cup of melted chocolate chips---drizzle on top of the poured mixture in the pan.
Agave instead of maple syrup-----it's what I had.
Walnuts-------------------------------use them, I forgot.

No-Flour Black Bean Brownies
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well) (250g after draining)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder- dutch or regular (10g) (add a little extra if desired)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (40g) (See nutrition facts link below for all substitution notes.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave (Honey will work, but not for strict vegans.) (75g)
  • 2 nunaturals stevia packs or 2 tbsp sugar (or omit and increase maple syrup to 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil (40g) (See “nutrition facts” link for all substitution notes.)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips (115-140g) (Not optional. Omit at your own risk.)
  • optional: more chips, for presentation
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.) Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. Makes 9-12 brownies.
The dark melted chocolate was swirled in before the oven.

Came out so moist.  I can't even tell there are beans in it.