Am I the only one who remembers being a bratty child who hated anything mildly green tinted or bean shaped? I don’t think I’d ever tried half the things I dismissed as “gross” when I was young. The very question of whether or not I might like it meant it was gross, obviously. My mom wouldn’t have asked, otherwise. I knew your secret, Mom! I knew….
Clearly she was trying to poison me.
As I got older, I gradually started to accept green wasn’t a terrible thing and some veggies are actually good. My favorite food, even when I was a kid strangely enough, is artichokes.
Yeah, explain that one. Kids are weird.
I never really jumped onboard the avocado or beans ship though. Spinach I could do. Cucumbers are awesome. I’m still waiting for my broccoli.
Green mush and little spherical pods of more relatively tasteless mush? Ehhh… not so much.
Apparently I’m still doing this food thing wrong.
Now, I’m also a chick. I whole heartedly submit to the stereotype that women love chocolate. If you don’t, no hard feelings, you’re just not human. There is another secret I know now that may have helped my mom cover her thinly veiled villainous attempts to make me eat ‘gross’ stuff if she’d had in her arsenal back then. I’ll let you in on it
Veggies + chocolate= Not bad.
Black beans + chocolate = these brownies and I may needs some time alone together.
Allow me to preface this story with the importance of ensuring first that no one you plan to feed has any food allergies. As part of my quest to put the Foodie Friday cookbook to the test, I first asked around my office if anyone had food allergies or sensitivities. After weeding out a few recipes that might upset fragile diets, I settled on a pair that I thought might go hand in hand in delectable fashion.
Somewhere along the line, I decided it would be fun to not tell my coworkers. Who doesn’t enjoy a little undercover work in the name of good food?
Watch out, World, the avocado has gone incognito.
Both recipes I chose to tackle are made with ingredients easily found in the commissary or, I imagine, any local grocery store. I didn’t check on the economy, but there isn’t exactly anything exotic in them. The recipes are listed below, but I did try some (ungodly ill-conceived) variations, which I’ll discuss in the additional notes after the recipes.
Black Bean Brownies-
1 box brownie mix
1-15oz can black beans (drained)
Drain and rinse beans. Place beans back in can, then fill can with water. Dump can in blender or food processer and puree. In a mixing bowl, mix together dry brownie mix with pureed beans. Pour in pan prepared per back of brownie mix. Be sure the mix is poured in as evenly as possible: because of the thickness of the batter, it will not level out during baking. Bake in oven according to directions on brownie mix. You may need to bake a little longer to cook, so use a toothpick to check whether or not its evenly cooked across the pan.
Chocolate Avocado Frosting
1 perfectly ripe avocado
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup dark chocolate mini chips (Optional)
Peel avocado and remove seed. Chop into a few big pieces. Place avocado, cocoa powder and maple syrup into a food processor. Blend until all ingredients are combined and mixture is smooth (like icing). Remove from food processor and stir in chocolate chips. Yield: 4 servings
Here is the part where I get to laugh at myself to avoid crying. One point I would emphatically make while creating the frosting is to make sure, for the love of everything holy, if you do not wish to violently choke to death on incredibly bitter chocolate goop that will instantly make you regret all your life decisions leading up to that moment, do not get sugar free maple syrup. The chocolate was a lie! I know, I know, you will probably laugh at me like this is obvious. The maple syrup is the sweetener, coco powder is really bitter. I know that. Well, I know that now.
Secondly, the “frosting” is really more of a chocolate dip for pretzels or fruits, as it is decidedly bitterer than your average milk chocolate dessert. Due to the oil in the avocado, it also doesn’t really seem to set the way frosting generally would, but then I didn’t leave it out incredibly long in order to try.
As far as the brownies go, one thing I’d suggest is making sure you thoroughly rinse the beans and the inside of the can, even if you get low sodium beans. I personally wanted to be as sneaky possible for the sake of my vital quest to bring about a healthier office, so I opted to make brownie bites in a mini muffin tin (no one can be suspicious of brownie bites! They are so cute!) They don’t rise, so don’t be afraid to fill the tins up to about the top. One of the recommendations I saw suggested baking for about 12 minutes, but if you fill them to the rim like I did, you’re probably looking a bit closer to 18 minutes. Either way, stick them with a tooth pick to make sure they are cooked all the way through. If you’ve got an oven with uneven heat distribution, you may want to turn the pan around at about the 12-minute mark to make sure they don’t burn on one side while the other tries to catch up.
One batch will probably be a little too much for a 24-count of mini brownie bites, so you are gonna have a bit left over. OH NO! Extra brownie batter! What the heck are you gonna do with that?
Please note, for health reasons and such, Public Affairs does not officially advise the consumption of raw brownie batter, with or without the presence of uncooked eggs as with black bean brownies.
I unofficially may or may not have utilized a spoon.
Also, they are hot, so let them cool a bit before you stick them in your face. Please note that temperatures may vary, but I timed it and about two minutes is usually enough to reach eatable perfection from my oven. You’re welcome.
First, let’s talk about the frosting. Now, I’m not a usually a person who gets chocolate dip and, admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the dip when following the recipe exactly. However, by cutting back on the coco slightly I was able to produce something more suited to my incredibly unrefined pallet. It’s one of those things that you may want to play around a hair with the contents in order to produce something a bit more to your personal preferences.
The reviews I got in the office were mixed to favorable. The biggest complaints I got were actually the things I purchased for dipping, but in that regard it’s hard to make everyone happy. I stuck with fruit and pretzels personally, though some people did dip the brownies themselves and liked it.
Speaking of those brownies.
I’ve made them before and I can’t go back. I do like to pick a recipe that has some chocolate chips/chunks in it just in case you get a bit of bean here and there that isn’t fully blended, but even then I’ve yet to find one myself or hear anyone complain if they have.
While Tea Rechtz was unfortunately gone and unable to provide a review (he did sneak off with some brownies though first, I would note) one of my coworkers did step up and offer her thoughts.
“I thought they were awesome. I like the richness/density and moisture in the brownies” said Master Sgt. Kenya Shiloh, our temporary resident taste-tester extraordinaire (Public affairs would like to clarify that taste-tester extraordinaire is not a recognized public affairs profession and possibly falls somewhere closer to poison-test Guinee pig. Guess they didn’t trust my brownie bites after all.) “I love the idea of hiding a protein/vegetable in something so tasty. I would definitely make these for a get together or office function and secretly feed them to my kids!”
So there you have it, two brand new recipes of mass chocolaty distraction to add to your arsenal of healthy goodness.
Next time, in the quest to figure out, not only can I make it, but can I eat it, we’ll be covering the contents of the Foodie Friday cook book a recipe at a time. I’ll provide locations to get ingredients, difficulty rating, pretty, pretty pictures, and, of course, taste test reviews by my coworkers here at PA.
I’m thinking something cheesy.
If you liked this recipe and want more right now, you can check out our previous posts or contact the Health and Wellness Center for the full cookbook!