I find it fascinating how certain ideas make the rounds in the world of food, blogging or otherwise. I’ve mentioned before about how it galls me that Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld has an over-hyped, over-acclaimed, skyrocketed-to-bestseller-status cookbook in print, all because she thought to add some vegetable purees to existing recipes (Oh. And because she’s Jerry. Seinfeld’s. Wife. Right.). No matter that others–writers, or, naturally, vegan chefs–have been doing this sort of thing for years (and even my little baking company has been selling carob muffins with hidden spinach in them since 2004–so there!).
[Note to readers: Please permit me this puerile rant. It's January 28th, it's been snowing and way below 0 degrees C for weeks over here, and there is no end to winter in sight. I am grumpy. I hate ice and snow. I have been consuming highly insalutary amounts of chocolate. But I assure you, this is just a rant. It will pass and I will be better tomorrow.]
Well, when I was asked a while ago by VegFamily magazine to come up with a trio of chocolate desserts for Valentine’s Day, I decided to jump on this veggies-in-sweets bandwagon. Maybe MJS has dumped some veggies into regular recipes, all full of eggs, refined flours and white sugar. But has anyone seen vegan versions, and without wheat or refined sweeteners? Gotcha! And so I had my angle.
I had been working for some time on a brownie recipe made with pureed white (navy) beans, and decided to include this in the VegFamily piece by stretching the original concept somewhat. Then, the other morning, I took a peek at Celine’s fabulous blog and–voila!–there is a recipe for Black Bean Brownies, based on a still-earlier version from Activist Mommy. See what I mean? It’s that 100th monkey effect (or, in this case, 100th black bean effect. And that’s not just a lot of hot air, either. Unless you eat too many, of course.).
Next up, I wanted to do something really decadent, and also really romantic. One of the most romantic desserts of all time is the Molten Chocolate Cake, so I was determined to re-create a healthier, vegetable-rich, vegan version.
First of all, regular molten chocolate cakes rely on lots of eggs, and the batter is only partially baked to ensure a soft, oozing, chocolatey centre. I solved this problem by including two mixtures: one for the cake, and one for the centre, then combining before baking. The result was a rich, gooey, warm and definitely decadent treat. Oh, and just for fun, it has hidden zucchini and spinach in it! I’m happy to say that the result was enthusiastically “HH Approved.” He’s even asked for them again, on the real Valentine’s Day.
The last item was a very fudgy, very peanut-buttery, chocolate-peanut butter cookie. These were an immediate hit with Gemini I’s kids as well as my colleagues at the college. And because they’re all used to my weirdo creations already, nobody batted an eye when I told them the cookies incorporated eggplant puree in the batter.
I’ll be posting all three recipes on this blog after the article is published. If you’d like to check out the recipes before then, head on over to VegFamily once their February edition is up on the site.