Friday, 26 November 2010

Secret Ingredient Blondies

Spiderman and I definitely have a sweet tooth, but over the years as we started eliminating ready made processed baked goods and started baking our own vegan ones with wholemeal flour and lower sugar we discovered that commercially made stuff is just too tooth achingly sweet--not to mention that they were most likely sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup or artificial sweeteners. We like our stuff sweet--but not too sweet. When I saw this recipe on No Meat Athlete’s blog  I knew we had to try it. You can see by the photo that we couldn’t wait and had to try it before we photographed it.

Rich, decadent, wholemeal blondies that were not overly sweet and fat free aside from the nuts--a dream come true. Plus they are full of fibre and protein from the secret ingredient that replaces the fat and makes these babies moist and tender. What’s the secret ingredient? Guess. Come on, guess. You’ll never get it in a bajillion years. Give up? OK, lean in close because I’m about to whisper it to you. It’s a tin of white beans.  Seriously. And you’d never know it. All you know is they are dense and moist and chewy and yum.

I cut back the sugar even more that their recipe suggested--from 1 cup down to ½ cup and it was plenty fine as it also had dates in it which are sweet as well. Their recipe called for ¼ cup of rum to give it a butterscotch feel. I didn’t have any rum just laying about because my Pirate friends nicked it  before sailing away somewhere (OK--that’s a lie. I just wanted to say Yo Ho Ho and Bottle of Rum in a Pirate-y voice.) so I subbed ¼ cup maple syrup which also gives it a buttery, sweet flavour. Another reason to reduce the sugar. And when I say maple syrup I mean the good stuff that comes from a tree in Vermont and not that Aunt Jemima rubbish that you put on pancakes, ya dig? They used macadamia nuts but I used walnuts as that was what I had and they were delish. The recipe just said white beans so I chose haricot beans --the kind cowboy beans (baked beans) are made from--because they are a bean high in calcium. Here is a link to the original recipe--if you want to make it their way, but my way was really good too. 

Vegan White Bean Blondies

1 ½ cups wholemeal flour--I used wholemeal spelt
1 ½ tsp salt--I used lo-salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup Demerara sugar
1 15oz tin white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup dates--I did ¾ medjool and ¼ deglat noor
¼ cup maple syrup
1 TB apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F

Sift flour, salt, baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and set aside.

In your food processor whiz the beans with the dates and maple syrup. Add the water and vinegar and blitz until it forms a smooth puree.

Fold the bean mixture into the dry ingredients. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

Grease a 9 x13 (my pan was 9 x 12 and they came out fine) and spread the batter evenly into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes turning the pan around half way through to ensure even cooking. A knife through the centre shouls come out clean. Mine took 28 minutes to get nice and brown on the edges and golden on top.

This is the hard bit: let cool then slice into squares. Ours made 15 squares. We ate 2 while still slightly warm because we were greedy guts and couldn’t wait, as you saw in the photo.

Make them for your friends but don’t tell them the secret ingredient until after they have raved about them.

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