Thursday, March 24, 2011

I have a confession...

I have a confession.

Ever since my first experience making brownies with beans, I haven't been able to take them off my brain. 

Ever since then, I have plowed through our stash of black beans (again and again) in order to perfect them.

These multiple attempts for perfection have gone (mostly) undocumented by the camera's eye.

My family might turn into a bunch of bean brownies from their immense consumption of all the "failures." In fact, they may already have.

And here's the worst part, I still haven't achieved the perfect bean filled brownie!
I'll have you know, there's a lot of painstaking science that goes into creating a recipe and I absolutely LOVE it. (food science nerd alert)

Any who, I decided I should finally share with y'all some of my attempts.
This one was good, but it wasn't chocolaty enough and leaned too much on the immense amount of chocolate chips added for it's fudginess and overall flavor.
The next night I topped it with ice cream. Certainly NOT a bad idea.
I tried it again, this time adding more cocoa, less flour, some coffee powder,different mixing methods, etc.
Oh and made it S'more style.
Half the batter on the bottom, graham cracker layer, chocolate layer, marshmallows, other half of batter.
Delicious, and this "s'more" idea can be made with ANY batter, by the way.
Still no where near perfect. The brownie itself still wasn't up there.
Also I couldn't taste the graham cracker (weird?) and note to self: use milk chocolate not bittersweet chocolate chips for the full s'more effect.

I then made a version trying to convert a normal recipe into a bean brownie (leaving out eggs and fats/any liquid ingredients).
Uh fudgy disaster.
They had the same (super dense and fudge-like) consistency as the first bean brownies I made, but I wanted a cakier brownie. I thought since I used more flour it wouldn't be just like one hunk of bean fudge but, alas, it was.
They definitely had more chocolate flavor, which is what I wanted, but the mouth feel was all wrong!
I used half the batter to make some more s'more (hah!) brownies, except this time I put the graham crackers on the bottom, put all the batter on top, added milk chocolate chips, and then the layer of marshmallows.
No picture but that version turned out much better!

And finally, my latest experiment. I realized the other (unpictured) brownies didn't rise because I got rid of the eggs! The eggs are used as the leavening agent in brownies; I realized I would have to add a different leavening agent into the batter to give it the same effect the eggs would.
Through different debates on the amount of acidity in all my ingredients, ratio of flour and cocoa powder, how much and what kind of sugar, along with additional flavor-improving ingredients I finally came up with a recipe to try out that I was confident would get me that much closer to my goal.
The added leavening agents was a major improvement in the texture I was striving for! I split the batter into two and topped half of it with marshmallows and a peanut butter/milk chocolate/brown rice cereal mixture.
So how did this batch turn out?
Intense chocolate flavor? Check
Correct texture? Check
Appropriate sweetness? Check
Crunchy/glossy top? No
Overall flavor? Not quite there.
It's still a work in progress, but I'm almost there. The flavor is a little one-noted, so I think I may add something like cayenne. I also might decrease the flour, add a few more chocolate chips (and perhaps a variety like milk, dark, and semi-sweet), work on my order of mixing the ingredients together, etc.
These were SO good though! I can't wait to finally share with y'all the recipe once it's perfected.
These are rich and moist while being a little cakey at the same time. They definitely don't taste like airy "healthy" brownies, these are dense.

And if you're wondering about this peanut butter/chocolate/ rice combo I got going on-
I used this recipe (just for it's topping, not the brownie base) from Brown Eyed Baker. I've made her whole recipe before, and it's definitely a winner! This time, I accidentally cooked the marshmallows a little too long, but that just made em all toast and melt into the brownie a bit, which is alright by me!

I promise, I will share my well-tested black bean brownies AS SOON as I perfect them! (And trust me, they'll be worth the wait :P)
Not only have I been making brownies left and right, I also wanted to try out a recipe I saw on Oh She Glows a while ago. Her no bake crispies with chocolate fudge looked beyond delicious and I was attracted by the fact that Angela mentioned they were "not too sweet".
Since I didn't have any natural peanut butter laying around (I had Skippy Natural, but I have a feeling that's not what she meant) I blended up a cup of fresh roasted peanuts and ended up with the perfect amount to make the recipe! (I made a half batch)
I also made half the amount of "fudge" topping and it ended up being perfect amount (it made a little less than half a cup and she recommended using 3/4-1 cup for a full batch)
I'm surprised how closely mine resemble hers! They could be identical twins, I swear :D
Served on a holiday plate, of course.
I kept to the recipe except for using non vegan chocolate chips. These were deliciously chocolaty, crunchy, and smooth, and that fudge topping was the perfect touch! However, they do need to be kept refrigerated because they tend to get pretty sticky (or at least mine did).
My brother tried them out-
First bite, thinking..thinking...
and in for another!
I think he liked 'em :D

Mine turned out a little chewy from the brown rice cereal I used. I got it in bulk from Sprouts (a big bag costs like 80 cents) but I think I need to buy a brand name brown rice cereal that is packages in boxes so they stay fresh and keep their crispness because these ones never seem to stay super crispy and end up being a little gummy.

Obviously, the gummy rice didn't stop be from gobbling this (too) small batch right up!
Chocolate lovers NEED to check this recipe out!

When it comes to sweets do you prefer things with chocolate or with different flavors?
For me, it pretty much HAS to contain chocolate...I need to fulfill my chocolate cravings!

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