brownies To say that I am a brownie fanatic is really an understatement. I don’t think I have EVER seen a brownie recipe that I have not been tempted to make. I am always, and I mean ALWAYS seeking brownie nirvana. The One… the mother load of all brownies. In other words, the perfect brownie– deep, dark and fudgy. My mouth waters as I write these words.

I have baked and tried hundreds of brownie recipes in my lifetime and I am not done yet. Many of my attempts have been quite yummy and within my definition of successful. Some  of those recipes have even been healthy.

A traditional brownie recipe usually calls for the chocolate to be melted and then added to some melted butter or oil. Once the two are happily mixed together other ingredients are added like eggs, sugar, just a wee bit of flour and sometimes even some cocoa powder, and nuts.

Like I stated before, some of the recipes I have made are WONDERFUL, and some are just BAD. BAD, BAD. Like the time I used a sugar substitute instead of granulated sugar in one of my most prized recipes. YIKES, what a disaster! The brownie was baked in a square, so I removed the entire “block” from the pan. It tasted like poison for lack of a better adjective. Another interesting observation, the brownie “block” was as hard as a rock. What a house I could have built if only I had enough of these brownie ” blocks”. I can still taste the acrid after taste on my tongue.

Moving on, I then tried another experiment. Replacing the butter in another of my favorite recipes and adding mashed avocado instead.  It should have worked, right? All I did was replace one fat with another healthier one. These brownies were greenish in hue and tasted like… I wish I could un-taste these brownies. Needless to say, the recipe will never make it into my next cookbook.

In my latest foray into the world of healthier brownies, I tried adding in some pureed black beans with some of the oil and the chocolate. OK, hold the phone — keep reading. It does get better. I am still in shock, but the beany brownies were NOT terrible?brownies2

I couldn’t taste any beans and that is saying a lot. No one who is normal wants to taste beans in a brownie. The trick was pureeing the beans until the texture was  very smooth and silky. This recipe was more than successful, though the texture was a bit cakier than normal. After cutting them up into squares and presenting them in an artistic way on a plate, I gave them to unsuspecting and loved family members. They were not horrified, and instead were intrigued by the taste finishing every morsel. I guess it was my laughing that got them suspicious. They asked me if there was anything weird about these brownies? Not at all, I lied. I don’t think they’ll be willingly eating any more of them, but they each finished one. And sort of enjoyed it.

Now, in my opinion, the true test of a great recipe amounts to… would I WANT, COULD I ever make this recipe again in this lifetime ,voluntarily??? The answer for the brownies with the sugar substitute is a resounding “Nein”. The beany brownies, I think most definitely “You bet”!

So delve into new territory, my baking buddies, and try new recipes and interesting ingredients. You never know when you will be pleasantly surprised… or NOT.

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail