I LOVE experimenting in the kitchen, especially when it comes to baking. And especially when it comes to baking wholesome delicious sweet treats. This time I challenged myself to create the yummiest possible brownies with as many hidden vegetables as I could think of. CRAZY? Perhaps. But that’s the way I play in the kitchen 🙂 These vegan gluten-free chocolate chip brownies with hidden vegetables taste so yummy you’d never guess there’s enough veggies inside to make veggie patties. But I’d rather eat chocolate chip brownies, how about you?
Hidden vegetables in brownies
When I created my first sneaky vegetable brownies – eggplant brownies – I wanted to experiment with different textures and flavors, and eventually came up with a recipe for one of the healthiest brownies I had ever made. And they taste amazing, too. So I was on a similar mission with these brownies: to experiment what it is exactly (in addition to the wholesome healthiness) vegetables give to brownies? Here’s my conclusion:
- Eggplants: moisture, texture and unique flavor enhancing dark chocolate tones
- Sweet potatoes: sweetness and soft fudgy consistency
- Cauliflower: fluffiness and moisture
- Avocado (actually a fruit, but in my list it qualifies as a veggie): good fats equals creaminess!
- Beans (definitely not a veggie 🙂 but as I put some beans in the batter too, might as well analyze them here): With beans in the batter you need less flour, and you’re getting a good dose of protein. Beans also contribute to the fudginess and softness.
So how much of these somewhat strange brownie ingredients did I incorporate in the magical brownie batter? Pictured here are the exact amounts: 1/2 cup cooked eggplant, 1/2 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato, 1/2 cup cooked and mashed cauliflower and 1/2 small-medium avocado (about 1/3 cups, loosely packed).
Chocolate and dates
Of course there is chocolate too! That is what binds all the veggies together and covers up their unique veggie flavors 🙂 I recommend using a 70% dark chocolate (vegan), as anything over 70% might require some more sweetener to the batter so it doesn’t become bitter.
As a sweetener I use dates, which together with melted chocolate and mashed veggies would also qualify as a chocolate pudding of sorts. The blended date-chocolate-veggie-bean mixture really has a delicious rich & smooth chocolate flavor, which is almost impossible to believe considering the amount of veggies hiding inside.
We love to eat these wholesome treats with whipped coconut cream and berries. The combination of soft fluffy cream, fresh berries and fudgy chocolate brownie is quite unbeatable – don’t you think?
- Wet ingredients
- ½ medium eggplant (the eggplant I used was about 10,5 oz / 300 g and I used half of it)
- 3,5 oz / 100 g raw cauliflower (~1 cup cut into small pieces)
- 4,2 oz / 120 g raw sweet potato (~1 cup cut into small cubes)
- ½ small avocado (~1/3 cup loosely packed)
- ½ cup cooked butter beans
- 12 pitted dates (~1 cup, I used dates smaller than Medjool dates)
- 3,5 oz / 100 g vegan dark chocolate (recommended: 70%)
- 2 tbsp scoopable (room temperature) coconut oil
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Optional: 1 tbsp strong coffee (enhances the chocolate tones)
- Dry ingredients
- ⅓ cup oat flour
- ⅓ cup white rice flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- + ⅓ cup chocolate chips (chopped dark chocolate)
- Recommended toppings:
- 1 can chilled coconut milk, only the creamy part used (chill overnight in the fridge)
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice to taste)
- ½ tsp Organic Burst baobab powder
- ¼ tsp vanilla bean powder
- ¼ tsp beetroot powder
- Raspberries or other berries
- Preparations: cook the eggplant first. Preheat oven to 390F/200C.
- Prick eggplant with a fork all around and cook it in the oven for ~50 min (turn every 10-15 minutes) until eggplant feels soft. *SEE NOTES* Let eggplant cool for 5 -10 min.
- While the eggplant is in the oven, cook / steam cauliflower pieces and sweet potato cubes. I steamed them both together for about 15 min until soft enough to mash with a fork.
- Lower heat to 375F/190C after cooking the eggplant.
- When the eggplant has cooled, cut it in half and scoop out the soft cooked eggplant. Remove seeds and squeeze out extra liquid with your hands. Half of a medium sized 10,5 oz / 300 g eggplant should give you about ½ cup of cooked eggplant.
- Melt dark chocolate in a water bath. Add coconut oil and mix with a spoon until all melted.
- Baking the brownies: put all wet ingredients in a blender or food processor and start blending until smooth.
- Mix all dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a bowl.
- Combine dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well. Add chocolate chips and fold in gently.
- Line a baking tin (mine was appr. 10 x 7 inch / 25 cm x 18 cm) with parchment paper, and pour batter in the tin.
- Bake brownie for 30 minutes. Test with a tooth pick and bake for another 5 min if tooth pick comes out very wet. If just a few crumbs stick to the tooth pick, take it out of the oven.
- After baking keep the brownies in the baking tin for another 15 minutes before removing.
- If you can resist, keep brownies in the fridge overnight to let the chocolate flavors intensify. Take out of the fridge about 15 min before serving.
- Toppings: Scoop out the creamy part of a coconut milk can. Whip the cream until soft and fluffy. Add seasoning and continue whipping until smooth.
- Serve brownies with whipped coconut cream and fresh raspberries (or other berries)
- Brownies keep well in the fridge for about 5 days (if covered properly).
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