Posts Tagged 'coffee'

Black Bean Brownies

cimg2612-1

I promised you all a “fun – and very interesting – chocolate treat” on Valentine’s Day.  So it’s about time I deliver on that promise, don’t you think?!

I’ve been eyeing this recipe for nearly a year.  Every since I bought Baking With Agave Nectar and flipped through its pages “ooh-ing” and “ohh-ing” at all the yummiest sounding goodies.  There were a lot of those.  But one recipe in particular stood out for its novelty.  I was intrigued.  Being the curious cat that I am, I knew I had to give it a go. 

That’s how this Valentine’s Day became Black Bean Brownie Day.  Yep, you heard me.  Black bean.  Brownie.  Romantic, no?

cimg2604-1

Here’s the recipe.  Besides halving it and using non-hydrogenated shortening instead of butter, I followed everything to a tee.  I may be an experimenter, but baking with black beans was a totally new experience for me.  Figured it would be best to go with the creator’s vision for this one!

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening

1 cup cooked black beans

1/2 cup walnuts

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons instant coffee

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 325*F.  Spray a 12×8-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside. Melt unsweetened chocolate and non-hydrogenated shortening in a bowl in the microwave for about 2 minutes on high. Stir with spoon to melt chocolate completely. Place black beans, 1/4 cup walnuts, vanilla extract and a couple spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.  In a large bowl, mix together remaining 1/4 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, instant coffee and salt. Add bean/chocolate mixture to coffee/chocolate mixture and stir until well blended.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add agave nectar and beat well. Add egg mixture to chocolate mixture, reserving about 1/4 cup, and mix well. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Beat remaining 1/4 cup egg mixture with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Drizzle over brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull egg mixture through batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan before cutting into squares.

cimg2610-1

Fuuuuudgy!

So here’s my two cents on these brownies…

They’ve definitely got the chocolate-y fudge factor going on – a brownie requirement in my book.  And you can’t beat the stellar ingredient list.  You’d never guess beans are a key player!   And no flour?!  No way!

But there are a couple things I’d change next time around.  I wouldn’t do the whole egg and agave swirl.  I can only imagine this is for looks and the marbled visual effect faded away after a day. So just adding all the egg and agave into the batter at once seems fine with me.  I’d cut out some instant coffee because that flavor stood out too much for me.  I’m not a coffee fan, remember?  And I’d un-halve the recipe, but use the same size pan.  I say the thicker the better!

Overall though, cool recipe.  Good times.

What’s the most unusual ingredient you’ve used in a baked good?

cimg2606-2

Espresso Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

cimg2184_2

Mmmmm…the aroma, the flavor of coffee.  Cozy warmth on a cold morning.  The end of a long and delicious meal.  The perfect pairing for a freshly baked doughnut, still hot from the oven.

Ok…I have a confession to make.  I actually don’t drink coffee.  I’m one of those people who love the smell, but not the taste – it’s too bitter for me.  But I’m always intrigued by the coffee-chocolate combo and wanted to give it a whirl in cookie form.

cimg2180_2

Before baking my Espresso Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies, I found a recipe that looked like a reliable base.  To make it Sweet + Natural, I subbed whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose and turbinado sugar for white and brown.  To make it Espresso Almond, I added some ground coffee and chopped almonds to the mix.  Oh, and because I don’t drink coffee, I don’t have it tucked away in my pantry and didn’t want to buy a whole container if it wasn’t going to be used.  So I snuck some home from the office.  Shhhhh.

Here’s how the recipe ended up:

2/3 cup turbinado sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoon ground coffee

2/3 cup grain sweetened chocolate chips

1/3 cup chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and oil.  Beat in egg.  Add vanilla and blend.  Add dry ingredients in order, mixing after each.  Dough will be sticky, so refrigerate for 30 minutes or so to make it easier to work with.  Roll heaping tablespoons into balls, flatten to 1/3 of an inch, and place on cookie sheet.  Bake for about 8 minutes.  Let stand two minutes and remove to cool.  Makes 16 cookies.

cimg2165_2

See the little coffee specks!  How cute.  The dough was totally brown before going into the oven, so I thought the cookies would be too.  But they morphed in there and came out cookie colored and flecked.  Magical.

cimg2189_2

These Espresso Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies are really yummy!  Even as a non-coffee lover, I really enjoyed the depth of flavor the ground coffee brought to the table.  It seemed to make the chocolate taste even richer.  And they were perfectly soft on the inside with a slightly crispy edge – just the way I like my cookies! – and stayed that way for days.  The only thing I may change up in the future is trying a more finely ground unrefined sugar.  Turbinado is what I had on hand, but since its sugar crystals are larger than regular sugar crystals, they added a bit of texture to the cookies.  Not bad at all, but I’m curious how it would turn out with another type.  Any suggestions?

What’s your favorite flavor to make mingle with coffee?

cimg2193_2


Contact

ashley.sweetandnatural@gmail.com

Follow me on Twitter!


Quantcast