It was only brought to my attention yesterday that putting in spinach and carrots in brownies to make them healthy was actually a really popular thing to do. Well, I’ve officially tried my hand and making them, and given my end product a bit of a chew! So… what do I think of them?
I was talking to my friend yesterday and somehow she ended up telling me about how much she loves brownies with spinach in them. I frowned at her because the idea of putting spinach into my brownies sounded quite absurd. Googling ‘spinach brownies’ made me realise 3 things:
- Such brownies have received wide applause and big reception.
- Many mums and partners have made these brownies as a way to get their partners and kids to eat vegetables…deceptively.
- Carrots are also part of the mix.
Everyone in my family eats their vegetables- my brother included (although he does get rather overwhelmed when he believes mum has placed too much greenery on his plate). In fact, I rather like eating my vegetables. How does everyone go about cooking their vegetables? Because I’ve never really understood why so many people seem to be so adverse to eating their vegetables. Do you merely steam your vegetables? Or do you get a little more fancy so then there is more flavour?
Anyway, back to the brownies. All the recipes online seemed to link back to Jessica Seinfeld’s recipe and so I followed that one too. As a helpful pointer, the recipe calls for 1/4 cups of both spinach and carrot purée and I found that 3 tightly packed cups of baby spinach ended up giving me the 1/4 cup of spinach puréed called for, and 2 medium sized carrots was sufficient to give me 1/4 cup of carrot purée.
Before puréeing, I first steamed the vegetables by filling a medium sized saucepan with water (you don’t need too much). I placed my prepared carrots into a small dish before placing said dish onto a steamer rack stand (that I had placed in my water filled saucepan). After that, I turned on the stove and let the carrots steam for 10-12 minutes on high heat. The same thing for the spinach, only that 30-40 seconds in hot heat is plenty of steaming for these greens.
Everything else in making these brownies is simple and straight forward. I ended up getting 16 brownies, rather than the 12 the recipe states, just because I cut my pieces up smaller.
Now. What did I think about the taste then? Well, most people declare that they can’t taste the carrot or the spinach in the brownie. My batch of brownies didn’t show signs of flecks of spinach (although there were a few bits of carrot I didn’t properly purée). I reckon most people wouldn’t know spinach and carrot were in there unless they saw you put it in or you expressly told them. And that is exactly what happened with mum and dad. Dad is really enjoying the brownies, saying they they’re not too sweet (although he prefers brownies to be more cake-like as opposed to the almost bouncy, fudgy consistency of these brownies) but mum who saw me make the brownies says she definitely prefers the more traditional brownies, and I could tell that she was purposely trying to find the taste of carrot and spinach in there. Also, me mum has a sweet tooth and I know these brownies are substantially less sweeter than any brownies I’ve made in the past.
Nevertheless, I definitely think this is a great and healthy alternative to consuming a treat with lots of butter and sugar- try it out for yourself! : ) If you’ve got any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email!
Brownies (with Carrot and Spinach)
Recipe from: ‘Deceptively Delicious‘ by Jessica Seinfeld
- Nonstick cooking spray, or baking paper
- 85 grams/3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup carrot puree (approximately 2 medium sized carrots)
- 1/2 cup spinach puree (approximately 3 tightly packed cups of baby spinach)
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup oat flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
To make vegetable purées:
Peel, trim the ends and cut into 3-inch chunks. The thinner your chunks, the easier steaming the carrots will be.
Steam for 10 to 12 minutes on high heat.
In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes, with a few teaspoons of water if needed for a smooth texture.
No prep needed for baby spinach. For mature spinach, fold leaves in half lengthwise with the stem outside, then strip the stem off the leaf.
Steam for 30 to 40 seconds, or cook in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of water for about 90 seconds, or just until wilted.
In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
- Purée carrots and spinach.
- Preheat the oven to 176°C/350°F. Coat an 8″ x 8″ baking pan with cooking spray or line with baking paper.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or over a very low flame. Alternatively, melt in microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes on medium.
- In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, vegetable purées, sugar, cocoa powder, butter and vanilla and whisk until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Whisk in egg whites. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars.