So, if you bake someone brownies with the dark chocolate bar that same someone gave you for Christmas, is that technically re-gifting? Because if so, I'm definitely guilty on this one. Although, "re-gifting" sounds so cheap. I much prefer "sharing the wealth."
But not counting the über dark German chocolate bar I received in my stocking which remains properly unpronounceable to me, these brownies have a more important incognito ingredient that slyly baked its way in. And thus I ask you another question: Is it considered completely underhanded if you make dessert for your family and don't let them in on the fact that there's actually legumes in them?
I would say you'll never guess the secret ingredient but it's in the title of this post and pictured in the slideshow, so I'll suppose I'll insult your intelligence some other day. And by the way, speaking of slideshows -- what says you about the new layouts and formatting? Comment! I've enabled you, given you agency on this site, given you a voice! Talk to me, talk to me, talk to me, baby. See the addition of the new comment area down below? Get a Disqus name if ya don't already got one, people. Gmail and the like works too -- and if you don't have one of those by now, that should definitely concern you more than Disqus. And let me be the first to welcome you to 2-0-1-3. Big things with the site's new face lift. Ironically, she looks older and more mature, but ain't she pretty?
I digress, but yes, you guessed it. Its beans. Really cool beans. Aduki, to be exact. While it seems an entirely absurd, even approaching disgusting, proposition to most westerners to incorporate something so savory as a bean into dessert, it's neither a novel idea or as preposterous as it sounds. Asian cuisine tapped into it centuries ago and had been sweet on their beans ever since with sweets like Dorayaki. Red bean pancakes, anyone? Anyone? Yes, please and may I have another. Well, those red beans are, in fact, simply sweetened aduki beans. So, stick that in your pancake and eat it.
Really, it all makes sense. When combined with sweeteners and say, a bar of decadently dark chocolate and a cup of sugar, who's to even know there's a bean in the batter? The flavor is essentially a blank canvas and the moisture levels and proteins bind while keeping things moist. Plus, the introduction of yet another cool bean, namely espresso, renders the aduki beans a footnote in the batter while your still reap the health benefits of their detoxifying, fibrous, B-vitamin-clad existence.
And so when life gives you aduki beans, (that is, when Whole Foods puts them on sale and you buy instead of black beans) make some brownies. Make some really fudgy brownies and add extra chocolate chunks to compensate for all the non-vegan ingredients you're leaving in the fridge. Dark chocolate also happens to be good for your heart, brain, is full of antioxidants and originally comes from a bean. I might be exploiting the theme a bit too much on that one -- But cool beans, right?
Toot, toot, yum, yum,
Aduki Bean Brownies
These are also literally the easiest brownies you'll ever make. Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and line a baking dish. The hardest part is waiting for them to cook. Black beans could surely be subbed for aduki. Also, if you're looking to make them totally vegan, egg replacers could stand in and so could chia eggs ( 1 T. chia seed + 3 T. water or 1 T. ground flax + 3 T. water); however, I haven't tested it so I'm not sure how it would affect the texture. But by all means, give it a go!
2 C. cooked Azuki beans (about 1 can), drained + rinsed
3 eggs, beaten
3 T. walnut oil ( canola or your mild flavored oil of choice)
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. unseetened cocoa powder
1 t. vanilla extract
2 t. finely ground espresso powder / coffee beans
pinch of salt
3/4 C. good dark chocolate, coursely chopped into 1cm squares
Line a 9x9 pan with parchment or oil. Preheat the oven to 350F. Meanwhile, drain the azuki beans and rinse through a strainer. Make sure they all excess liquid has run off and place into a food processor. Pulse the beans into a smooth puree. Add the remaining ingredients except the chocolate. Pulse until completely combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool for ten minutes. Cut, serve and enjoy.