VeganMoFo Day 27: Black Bean Brownies and an Ice Cream Intervention

Today, the internet giveth and the internet taketh away.

Our local mall is small. It’s really more of a mall-in-training. It hopes to one day grow up and be a destination type mall. For now, it’s cute, like a little boy dressed up in his father’s suit. That cute kid just wouldn’t do for today, however. Needing a full-sized mall’s craziness, I decided we’d do double-duty with our destination mall outing and find a vegan restaurant we could visit as well.

A couple of months ago, I spent a few minutes hooting and hollering after learning that the Veggie Grill planned to open a location in San Jose. I’d eaten at the Veggie Grill in Los Angeles when I visited my brother and his family. The energetic atmosphere and yummy, filling food made me long all the more for something like that near my house. San Jose is a pretty significant trek for us, but not nearly as significant as Los Angeles. Having a Veggie Grill in San Jose is going to be great. I mean, if we can’t have our own Disneyland in NorCal, at least we get to have our own Veggie Grill!

I verified on yelp.com that there was a review for the new location. Hours listing the Veggie Grill in San Jose as open appeared to confirm that the Veggie Grill was open and waiting for me to step up and place my order. We set off early this morning in search of all sorts of mall-wares and a Veggie Grill treat.

Big Sigh.

Sadly, when we got to the Veggie Grill location at lunchtime, we discovered a blank storefront. It’s not open yet! Super disappointing! After staring longingly at the opaque windows of the soon-to-be Veggie Grill, we completed our errands with growling stomachs and some minor pouting. Lesson learned. You really can’t believe everything you read on the internet. Lousy lesson, isn’t it?

Dinner at home was unstructured and tasted like disappointment instead of an All American Stack and Steamin’ Kale. As the evening wore on, it became clear that we needed an intervention. After a little thought, I knew just the thing. It would either be a raving success or a disturbing failure, but I hoped it would get our minds off our long-lost Sweetheart Fries.

A few months ago, I attended a Sacramento Forks Over Knives meetup where they served Black Bean Brownies. An internet search this evening revealed that these are not the unheard of treat that I’d suspected, but they were something I’d never heard of at the time. We were given a copy of the recipe, but because I didn’t have some of the ingredients and I wanted a slight texture change, I altered the recipe slightly to what you see here.

Black Bean Brownies

  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp instant coffee granules
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • 1/3 heaping cup vegan chocolate chips, plus additional chopped chocolate chips for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

After draining and rinsing, put the beans in a food processor and process until mostly smooth. You’ll be processing this mix several more times, so don’t panic if every bean isn’t mashed completely.

The original recipe calls for only 1 cup of beans. A 15 oz can holds more than that, and I wasn’t sure what I’d do with the extra. I decided to use the whole can because I didn’t want to waste them. This undoubtedly affected the flavor. If you want a sweeter brownie, you may want to reduce the black bean content back to the original 1 cup.

After processing the beans, add the banana and process again until smooth.

Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the rice flour and the chocolate chips. Process until smooth. Add the rice flour and process until blended. Add the chocolate chips and process for only a moment longer.

Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch square pan. Bake 22-25 minutes. this recipe makes very dense brownies. In order to prevent them from being dry, I determined doneness as resistance when I inserted a toothpick into the brownies. Store your brownies in the refrigerator if they don’t disappear immediately — which they might.

To go along with these, I also made Strawberry Ice Cream from Cathe Olson’s Lick It! http://www.amazon.com/Creamy-Dreamy-Vegan-Creams-Mouth/dp/1570672377/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351401066&sr=8-1&keywords=lick+it

The strawberry ice cream is a simple and quick ice cream recipe. I haven’t gotten the ice cream to firm up the way I want using her recipes yet, but they taste so good that I keep trying to get it right. The ice cream was my safeguard in case those brownies turned out to be beanies, or something worse. With strawberry ice cream in the plan, I knew we’d go to bed happy no matter what.

You know what? I was right!

The strawberry ice cream was wonderfully sweet and fruity. It’s my favorite recipe from Lick It! so far. I still have to work on getting my ice cream firmer, but chilling the ingredients tonight before putting them in the ice cream maker helped.

The brownies will probably always surprise me by not tasting like beans. They are rich, moist, and dangerously chocolately, but also not too sweet. This made them partner perfectly with that sweet strawberry ice cream. Dessert tonight made me forget all my worries and surrender to strawberry and chocolate bliss.

Veggie Grill, I forgive you for not being open. Just know that the next time I’m in San Jose, you owe me a dinner date. I’ll be the one both dining in and taking out!

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