Chocolate Brownies - Almost one of your five a day!

So on me great dairy free baking adventure I have learned lots about substitutions (oh dear, I actually typed substations instead. Glad I spotted it - that would have been odd!).

One thing that I have learned is that substituting for butter can be tricky. Because sometimes it's not just the fat content that is needed to make the recipe work, but also the fact that butter is solid at room temperature. Which means oil is out in these instances, and margarine can be borderline.

Well I have a solution. Admittedly it's not fool proof and would be very odd in lots of situations, but for chocolate brownies it works really well.

Drum roll please... ... ... ... Kidney Beans!

When you blitz them up and bake them, they help keep the dense solidity of the brownies, and don't taste beany. And after a rough calculation, I reckon a slice will then count as half of one of your five a day. Not many chocolate brownies can make that claim!

Kidney Bean Brownies (Makes an 8x13 inch tin)

  • 1 tin kidney beans (in water, not salted water)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup of plain flour
  • 2 tbsp self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used rapeseed)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and base line your baking tin.
Drain, rinse and puree the kidney beans (I blitzed them using a hand blender)
Combine all the ingredients bar the nuts and stir well until mixed. You could do this in a food processor or mixer if you wanted.
Stir in the nuts.
Pour into the prepared tin, and bake for about 25 minutes until just firm to the touch.
Cool in the tin, then cut, serve, allow people to enjoy, then surprise them with the secret ingredient!

We let Mini-M eat some, since despite the sugar, it was a vessel to get some kidney beans and nuts in, as a variety from bananas, tomato soup and spaghetti hoops. She was not a big nut fan - well that's not true. She seemed to get great enjoyment out of very studiously picking all the nuts out, giving them a little experimental chew, then spitting them out. All over the floor.

So we had a little chat about the floor not being the right place to put food you didn't want to eat. All was peaceful and quiet for five minutes and I got on with making tea... then turned round to catch out of the corner of my eye Mini-M taking the rejected cashew nut pieces and posting them down the inside of her vest.

Then we had another little chat - and a nappy and vest change to remove the bits of posted cashew. Now when she doesn't want something, she gifts it to me or Mr E, earnestly saying 'bin!'. Which is an improvement on floor scattering or posting. And she ate some kidney beans.

I'll definitely make these again - they provide a dense, fudgy, sweet brownie hit, with a little bit less of the guilt and none of the dairy, which makes them a winner in my eyes. Mr E enjoyed them too - he's my barometer of 'normalness' when it comes to dairy free food!