I used to read a lot of food blogs. I occasionally cooked from them, but by and large it was just food porn. I could spend hours on them, but I recently realised that something had to give. Because realistically I’m never going to make triple-stack salted caramel pretzel cookies, marshmallow-peanut butter-bacon sandwiches (for real, I ain’t kidding) and macaroni cheese so saucy it makes Scarlett Johansson look like Boris Johnson. I was wasting precious hours of unemployment, otherwise gainfully spent watching Judge Judy (god I wish I had her steeliness), living vicariously through other people’s tummies.
Even worse were the health-food blogs. Yes, Deliciously Ella, I admit you have deliciously nice hair and now a book deal to your name, but never will I ever be persuaded to make a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, fun-free cheesecake made from ingredients that have to tendency to resemble an alien’s placenta. She isn’t the only one. The Internet is flooded with people who come up with concoctions like these, swearing that that these ‘healthy treats’ (purrleaze) taste just like the real thing. But it seems quite clear to me that if you think this grainy, grey bullshit is going to taste like this, you evidently have not eaten cheesecake since Gillian McKeith first graced our television screen with her poo parties and Gwyneth Paltrow went all GOOP on us.
What these “healthy” blogs do manage to do, however, is to fill every single one of their readers with guilt, shame, feelings of inadequacy, desperation, etc etc. Why is my kitchen so small and dark, we more lowly cooks cry. Why are my photos so shit? Where are my beautiful blonde children with chocolate (sorry. Raw cacao) adorably smeared on their rosebud lips and freshly laundered Breton tops (sorry mum ;))? Where is my rugged, ideally Scandinavian husband who chops down wood and then bakes me a loaf of bread? (He’s sensitive, natch.)
OH THAT’S RIGHT. He’s not here because I’m from Somerset not Stockholm, where the greater-spotted Ten-Ton Tony is about as good as it gets. My kitchen is small and dark because I haven’t got round to changing the light bulb for three months and my photos are shit because I’m actually quite shit at taking photos.
And in a way I’m kinda glad. Partly because I’m a sucker for a Daim bar, but also because, and I’ve said it before, nobody likes a Gwyneth (click here to see why).
Or so I thought, until I got this recipe sent to me by a friend who promised that, while these ‘brownies’ don’t actually taste like brownies (how could they? They’re made of frickin beans), they are totally delicious. I made them the other day as an experiment, and now I must eat my hat on the old health-food hating. Boy was she right. They’ve got no flour in, so they’re gluten-free, but I would eat these coeliac or no coeliac. I used Green & Blacks cocoa powder not raw cacao, which is just absurdly expensive. I think it works just as well. I can’t believe they’re positively good for you because in no world is it possible that eating a brownie is healthier than not eating one, but it must be the lesser of two evils.
Once again, apologies for no pictures. I took some but they were shit.
Black Bean Brownies
- 1x400g tin black beans, well rinsed and drained
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted (or substitute other oil of choice if you aren’t a squillionaire. Olive oil has a strong taste so be wary.)
- 90g raw cacao powder if you are a squillionaire, high quality cocoa if not.
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 70 ml maple syrup
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- A couple of handfuls of chopped hazelnuts, pecans or chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse and drain your beans then grease a baking tray, or better still a cupcake tray with 12 holes
- Add remaining ingredients (except nuts) and puree for about a few minutes or until smooth
- If the batter looks too thick, add a small splash of water pulse again. Beware – it should not be anywhere near runny.
- Evenly distribute the batter into the cupcake tray and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger.
- Sprinkle with nuts/choc chips.
- Bake for 20-26 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides. Keep a close eye on them.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be super fudgy, so be take care.