Don’t you love it when the universe is secretly plotting against you? As a new mom I am learning to right and left jab that universe out of my way, one mishap at a time.
So my bake-off attempt was (ugh) successful, it just came with a lot of… potholes? So the pure fact that no one was scarred physically (I can’t speak about emotionally) makes me pretty darn happy.
The purpose behind this bake-off was two-fold, firstI was dying of curiosity over these two recipes and second, our mountain trip was a week away and all I wanted to do was bring some healthy baked goods for our drive out.
So what was the universe trying to tell me? I think it was something like, “don’t mess with THE BROWNIE”. And the story goes.
I’m a morning person and for me there’s nothing better than waking up refreshed and before everyone else, especially on a weekend. I thought the universe was cheering me on, “make your (healthy and vegan) brownies. You go girl”. Little did I know what came next was definitely the universe speaking to me but not to make brownies.
I started with the quietest recipe, the Vegan Brownie. No electric mixers needed, just a microwave/stove.
(Since it’s a vegan recipe, a flax egg was needed, and because it needs 5 minutes to set, it’s the first thing I did. Flax Egg: 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp flax = 1 egg. Let sit for 5 minutes.)
As cute as she is, having a little ankle biter at your feet will distract you no matter how many times you read the recipe. The use of a “quiet” recipe failed me and the ankle biter had risen.
This recipe also used muffin tins instead of a 9×9 baking pan. I couldn’t cut a straight line to save my life so brownies already individually portioned was perfect! It also gave me the perfect opportunity to use my Ikea silicone cups (I fell in love with the colours) and they work amazing and easy to clean and great for presentation.
While trying to manage the debacle at my feet I poured the mixture into the cups and popped those babies into the oven, totally feeling like a super-mom. Having not baked “vegan” before I didn’t succumb to the questioning in my head about the mixture…
(Mmmm, doesn’t that look yummy)
…then I looked over and saw my flax egg staring back at me. *&#@! It’s the binder!
So you now know what this means, don’t you? And to add insult to injury, the ankle biter was getting hungry. Double *&#@! (I may have started to resent chef for still sleeping).
Strapped C into her chair and outta the oven they came. And like always, she didn’t skip a beat.
I don’t know how good it was for the brownie but her little tummy came first. What does the recipe say again?
One by one I began dumping each individual liner back into a bowl, added the flax egg, whisked and back into the cups. I’m not gonna lie, it didn’t look good.
The upside to all of this? The suggested prep time is 5 minutes. Hahahahahahahaha. Let’s just say, by the time they were out of the oven (for the second time) C was back in her crib for her morning nap.
As for the cook time, 22-26 minutes, 22 was not enough and, you got it, 26 was too much. Literally, the extra 4 minutes took them from looking far from done to overdone. Reading the recipe for like the 15th time I see this, “be careful not to overcook or they will get crumbly”. That’s exactly how mine looked. Crumbly.
For my first vegan baking experience I give the recipe a thumbs up. Although overcooked and crumbly when warm, when chilled they stay together and have chewy fudge like consistency, and taste delicious.
Up next, the Healthy Brownie. This time (almost) everything went smoothly. In the batter taste test (it’s a rule, not an option in our house) something was different, unexpected, and good. I couldn’t quite figure it out and at that time, cared less. Can you blame me?
Also, by this time Chef was up (I swear he hibernates and not sleeps) and I enlisted his help. This is not something I did willingly but knew there wasn’t any other way; I was inviting him into my ring with no referee.
This time however, I had strict instructions for him. His job (and only job) was to drink his coffee and “read only” the instructions out loud to me. No other input unless I ask.
For a long time now I have been hearing about black bean brownies and while (still) grossed out by the thought, I had to try them for myself.
My recommendation for any recipe like this is to make sure it is well blended and all bean (ugh) chunks are smoothed out, otherwise you will have them in your brownie. The good news is you don’t taste them the bad news is you immediately remember there are beans in your brownie.
(Although this recipe uses a 9×9 pan you could easily put them into individual liners, as well)
The woes of the early morning had now passed and I was having coffee (sans baby) with hubs with the only thing to do was listen for the timer. Ding!
I can barely say this without laughing myself but when I opened the oven door they looked exactly the way they did when they went in. Can I have a drink now, please?
Apparently I turned the oven off (I might have given up for a split second after the first batch). Laying my head over the island laughing and crying a little I thought, damn you universe!
As for that mysterious ingredient the recipe didn’t call for – mint. I bought mint chocolate chips. Not plain. It could be worse, oh wait, it was.
The funniest bit about all of this, the universe waited around a whole week to really tell me who’s boss. Twenty-five minutes into our trip we realized we left them in the fridge.
(I now know how you feel, Kanye)
This recipe also bode well, and I would make it again. The texture is much lighter and not chewy. I would not hesitate to make both for a party which would accommodate both sides of the spectrum.
As for final results, both Chef and I preferred the Vegan Brownie.
And finally, in all of this we found out how long they can last for, and both recipes can withstand a good three weeks between freezer and fridge. Although they still tasted fine we were leary at the four week mark and binned them.
- 1, 15 oz can of Black Beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
- 3 tbsp, melted Butter
- ½ cup, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 3, large Eggs
- 1 tsp, Vanilla Extract
- ½ cup, Cocoa Powder
- ¾ cup, White Sugar
- ¼ tsp, Salt
- ½ cup cup, chopped Walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a food processor/blender, add Black Beans, Butter, and ¼ cup Chocolate Chips. Process until combined.
- Add Eggs, Vanilla, Cocoa Powder, Sugar, and Salt.
- Continue to process, scraping down the sides if necessary, until the mixture is smooth in texture.
- Add ¼ cup Walnuts, and stir with a spoon to combine.
- Grease a 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray, and line bottom with parchment paper.
- Transfer batter into pan, and top with remaining Chocolate Chips and Walnuts.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from pan.
- Cut into squares, and enjoy!
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) non-dairy butter (such as Earth Balance)
- 3/4 cup natural cane or granulated sugar
- 2 large flax eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- (Optional add-ins:) 1/3 cup walnuts, hazelnuts or chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 7-8 standard-sized muffin tins with cooking spray. Alternatively, fit each with a paper liner.
- Prepare flax eggs in a small bowl and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Place butter in a large mixing bowl and melt in the microwave. Then stir in the flax egg, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine. Lastly, add the flour, then fold in any mix-ins – chocolate chips or walnuts would be excellent here.
- Scoop batter evenly into 7-8 muffin tins until 3/4 full and bake on the middle rack for 22-26 minutes, or until the brownies start to pull away from the sides and they spring back slightly to the touch. Be careful not to overcook or they will get crumbly. Remove from oven and let rest in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a plate or cooling rack.
- Store in an airtight container to keep fresh for a couple days. Freeze for long-term storage.