Monday, December 12, 2011

Fresh Mint Chocolate Brownies

I am in a baking mood.  This has never happened to me before.  But I'm going with it.

Last night, thoughts of mint-chocolate brownies danced in my head.  I'd never had a mint-chocolate brownie before.  But it had to be possible.  And it had to be good.

I couldn't think of a reason not to try it.

And I knew I could make it plant-based.

The mint part speaks for itself; mint is a plant!  I knew I could find local mint from Shenandoah Growers in Harrisonburg, Virginia at Whole Foods.

I long ago learned that it's possible to substitute a can of low-sodium black beans (drained and rinsed) for the egg and oil in a boxed brownie mix preparation.  So, I figured it would work if making brownies from scratch, too.

I had just picked up a jar of local honey from Mr. B's Apiaries (Odenton, Maryland) at the Anne Arundel County farmers' market, so I knew I could use that instead of refined sugar to sweeten the brownies.

Whole-wheat flour would, of course, stand in for white.

Let's see: Mint, black beans, honey, and whole-wheat flour.  Nothing bad there.

I ended up adapting a vegan recipe from Emily Webber.  [Because of the honey, my version is not strictly vegan.]


1 (15 ounce) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain and rinse the beans.

Add the beans, honey, water, vanilla extract, and mint extract to a blender. Blend until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine chopped mint, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, flour. Add wet ingredients and mix well.

Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray and fill with brownie batter.

[The awesome thing about not using eggs is that you can feel free to lick the spatula...]

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

You should be forewarned that these brownies are NOT SWEET.  Whatever small amount of sweetness they do have comes entirely from the mint.  The honey serves only to offset the natural bitterness of the cocoa, but does not actually add sweetness in its own right.

To my taste, these are great.  But I've been eating foods that are low in sugar for a long time.  If you're accustomed to really sweet brownies, these may not be for you.  On the other hand, if you often find that desserts are too sweet, these may be just the thing you need (er, want...).


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