Sweet Endings --> desserts aren't all created equal



Yesterday I could not get brownies out of my mind. I had to have them. The last brownie I ate was the real deal. An over-the-top fudge brownie covered in ice cream and whipped cream. When I eat such things, my body goes into shock. My digestion slows to a halt, my sugar levels spike and my head reels. If that isn't enough, hours later I will inevitably sweat through my sleep which rapidly becomes riddled with nightmares. But hey, wholitt doesn't enjoy a good brownie, right? Heh.

Well, this new blog and mission of mine has me truly motivated to reinvent such forbidden fruit. I want to make them better, stronger, and dare I say, quasi-healthy? As much as I have committed to this plan, I don't want to be one of  those vegetarians who makes bland food substitutes and goes on and on about how its just like the real thing when in fact, it more closely resembles exactly what it is. 'Mmmm, this rawnola is just like quaker' springs to mind...

To clarify my mission -- I intend to make and post exclusively delicious food on this site. We may have different palettes, so, I apologize if I fail anyone -- but an open mind will be required from us both.

So, back to the brownies. My first challenge and success.

I searched for healthy recipes for brownies for some time. My boyfriend LOVES them. He is also very health conscious and used to make his own vegan brownies for years so I made sure to enlist his help.

I have heard very good things about black bean brownies. I love Asian desserts that frequently include red beans so I was open to experimenting with them. I merged and modified ideas from a few recipes I found online, and added in a few things I knew might help the cause as a former professional baker. 

The version we created wasn't vegan because it involved one egg, but you could substitute an egg replacer powder or be brave and just leave it out altogether for a slightly different brownie. I used an egg for two reasons:
1) Eggs help baked goods set. I was worried the brownies wouldn't harden without at least one because they contained no flour or butter.
2) Whipped egg whites are great to fold into a batter for a fluffy, souffle-like texture, which is what these brownies achieved.

The brownies contain no flour, no refined sugar, no butter, and only one egg. They are full of protein and vitamins and minerals. Their frosting is fully vegan and delicious.

Flour-less Black Bean Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

1/3 of a ripe avocado
1 frozen banana
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/2 tsp organic ground Cinnamon
1 tsp organic honey
1/4 cup Ghirardelli 100% cocoa
1/2 tsp sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a small bowl until very smooth with a hand blender. TASTE! ADJUST ALL INGREDIENTS TO YOUR TASTE! Refrigerate until brownies are ready to eat.

Part I:
2 frozen bananas
1 1/2 tsp organic ground cinnamon
1/3-1/2 cup Ghirardelli 100% cocoa
1 can organic black beans, (rinsed and drained)
1/3 cup organic maple syrup (or more if you want sweeter brownies)
1 tbsp organic vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt (or to your taste)
1 heaping tsp organic baking powder

Part II:
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil

Part III:
1/4 cup organic quick cooking oats
1/4 cup organic dark chocolate chips (dairy free if you want)
1/3 cup reduced fat organic shredded unsweetened coconut

Part IV:
1 egg white, whipped

Part V:
1 handful organic dark chocolate chips
1 handful reduced fat organic shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a medium sized bowl, blend all ingredients from "Part I" with a hand blender until very smooth. Black beans can be hard to get really smooth because they are small and evade the blade easily. Be sure to spend a few minutes blending. Taste. Adjust any ingredients to your taste.

Blend in ingredients from "Part II".

Stir in ingredients from "Part III" until well incorporated.

Whip the egg white until very frothy or until you achieve soft peaks. Fold in egg white into the cocoa mixture delicately.

Empty mixture into a square non-stick cake pan. Smooth out to the edges with a spoon. Top with ingredients from "Part V". Bake for roughly 30 minutes.

Eat brownies hot out of the oven with frosting spooned on top. We had these a la mode (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream).











Chocolate craving? We've got you covered...

So the holidays have come and its time for celebration, decadence, and lest anyone forget...dessert.  Dessert and I have had a torrid relationship for the past couple of years. As much as I love to bake, I have a hard time processing sugar in my system, particularly the white stuff. I haven't baked with white sugar as a sweetener for many years but have thrown in the gluten-free complex lately and have been drastically reducing my dairy consumption. I also have a mild soy allergy which puts most vegan desserts off limits for me as well. But a few genius recipes have crossed my path and I have opened my pallet to them willingly in recent months. Most of these are fairly healthy desserts like fruit crumbles but at Christmas, these are less than desireable for most folks who've come for the over-the-top variety of fare.

I had been preached to repeatedly about the wonders of vegan chocolate-avocado mousse but remained skeptical until this Hannukah when I undertook to prepare it for a large crowd. It took a lot of tweaking to mute the avocado flavor and bolster the chocolate without the result tasting overwhelmingly bitter. I hope to revise it with coconut milk which will totally change the flavor and texture. I have a strong suspicion that a little coffee would enhance this recipe greatly (as it is a great ingredient that amplifies chocolate flavor in any dessert).

The mousse has a remarkable rich texture thanks to the avocado but if the undertone avocado flavor is bothersome to you, I thoroughly recommend refrigerating it for a day before serving as the cool temperature changes and dulls the avocado flavor in a noticeable way.

Here is what I ended up with after much tweaking:



4 avocadoes (ripe)
4 frozen bananas
2 tbsp real vanilla extract
2 tsp cinammon (or more if you like)
1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp organic honey
1/2 cup (or more if you want it more chocolatey) unsweetened cocoa powder (I used 100% cocoa from Ghirardelli)

Modifications to try:

I would add in 1/4 cup of brewed strong coffee or 2 tbsp instant espresso powder
You could also add 1/2 cup of coconut milk to this if you want a coconutty flavor but you may need to adjust the sweetness and saltiness to your taste.


Blitz all ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl with a hand blender until very smooth. Taste and adjust saltiness, sweetness and cocoa-ness to your personal preference. Refrigerate for a day. Serve chilled in small cups or bowls.

Why this dessert is amazing:

It does become quite interesting and delicious. Some people are put-off by any remnants of avocado flavor but I enjoyed it. What impressed me most is that I didn't feel sick after eating this -- unlike virtually every other dessert that crosses my lips these days.

This dessert is:

Gluten-free. Vegan. Raw (if you use raw honey). Flourless. Full of good fats. Full of dietary fibre.