My son and his friend drifted upstairs from the family room where they had been playing video games.
“It smells so good in here. What’re you making?”
I told him there were brownies baking (which he probably guessed anyway) and that they were welcome to have some in a bit after they had cooled.
About an hour passed and the two of them were sitting at the counter, eating their brownies, elbow-to-elbow. The murmuring went something like this:
“I’m pretty sure they’re chocolate.”
“Maybe they’re red velvet.”
“They have red bits in them.”
“I don’t know, but they’re good.”
Finally, my son spoke up. “What are the red bits in the brownies?”
I told him they were beets.
“WHAT?!” They pushed their plates away.
“Why did you have to ruin perfectly good brownies with vegetables!” he asked.
I’m not sure if there’s a lesson is to this story. As parents of young children, we were always trying to sneak in vegetables, but once they reach a certain age and become wise to your shenanigans, it’s more difficult to get away with it!
I first got wind of these brownies while I was working as a packer at a farm last summer. I overheard the farm owner and her daughter, Casey, talking about how delicious they were (and how good they were selling at their farm stand). When Casey sent the recipe out in her weekly email which features recipes using produce from the current week’s CSA bounty, I was more than a little intrigued. These brownies have a more of a mocha-like flavor to them (even though they contain no coffee) and while I still pledge allegiance to these brownies from my youth, I definitely recommend this healthy alternative!
Casey’s chocolate and beet brownies (adapted barely)
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup cooked beets, pureed
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup packed brown sugar or sucanat
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup ground flax meal
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan (or spray with non-stick cooking spray. I use this one)
Melt the unsweetened chocolate and butter in a small pan or double boiler over low heat. Remove from heat when smooth and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar and vanilla extract and mix to incorporate. Mix in beets, chocolate mixture, and applesauce.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and spices.
Add dry ingredients to the chocolate/beet mixture until incorporated.
Fold in almonds, flax meal, and chocolate chips.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.