Monday, April 25, 2016

Brownie Epic Fail

Experimentation can be rewarding. Unless the experiment fails.

I tried three new brownies this Pesach. Why? Well, The Ultimate Pesach Sponge Cake is divine, but composed of simple sugars. Since it contains little of substance, one can easily consume an entire cake without any sensation of satiety. 

The sort of cake where I could have better "healthy" success would be a brownie. Chocolate shields a multitude of questionable filling ingredients. But it would also have to freeze well. All of our baked yummies go in the freezer, and we like 'em cold upon consumption. Waiting to defrost is not an option. It has to be cut-able in the frozen state. 

After seven sponge cakes were churned out and popped into cold storage, I began to dabble. 

1. Avocado Brownie

2. 5 Ingredient Paleo Chocolate Cake; and

3. Flourless Chestnut Brownies.

After all three were safely frozen, I began to sample. 

Brownie #1 froze the best of all contenders. But there was a slight avocado flavor lingering in the depths. The kinfauna (and their parents) would revolt. Could have been sweeter, too

Brownie #2 had two problems. Firstly, while it calls for a bake time of an hour, and I took it out early, it tasted distinctly overdone. It probably doesn't need more than a half hour. Secondly, chances are due to the high water content of the date paste, it was difficult to cut frozen. 

However, it performed wonderfully at room temp. I plan on playing with the methodology soon.

Brownie #3 called for 1/4 cup of honey, and I used date paste instead. I don't know if it was because of that, but it froze rock hard. A buzzsaw was needed. Also, it obviously wasn't sweet enough.

After flinging my hands skyward, I considered: Why couldn't I simply slightly modify the hailegeh year-round brownie recipe? I had wanted to try replacing the flour with oat bran so my gluten-intolerant nephew could enjoy it, but my sister nay-sayed it, claiming it wouldn't work. Well, to heck with it: I would replace the flour with ground chestnuts. 
Whole Wheat Brownies
Vered's Whole Wheat Brownies
It worked. 

I beat together the eggs, sugar, and three tablespoons of vanilla sugar (since vanilla extract isn't Pesach available). In a separate bowl, I thoroughly whisked together the cocoa and ground chestnuts for a few minutes, since I didn't want to make a mess sifting it together (which would be the best way). After mixing the oil into the eggs, I then carefully poured the cocoa and chestnuts into to the egg mixture with the beaters going on the slowest setting. As soon as combined, I turned the machine off. 

The batter was the prettiest I had dealt with so far. Probably ground nuts would work as well. Maybe it doesn't even need a half cup of anything to replace. (In my research on date paste as an alternative to sugar, it is usually substituted one for one. So the Paleo cake is almost identical to the "good" brownie, since it relies on a copious cup of cocoa to compensate for no flour.)  

I took out the brownie too early—so it doesn't photograph well—but it tastes fabulous while being cut-able. There's no getting around the hefty amount of sugar, I guess. Will experiment (dun-dun-dun!) with less. 


Altie said...

Sounds yum. We don't use cocoa powder on Pesach because we try to stay away from most processed foods. But I decided to attempt a Pesach cake/cookies and it came out pretty good. I made almond meal in the food processor, whipped 2 eggs, added sugar water (we boil it before Pesach), oil, lemon juice, dash of wine, a mashed banana and some avocado. Folded in the almond meal and baked it at 325 for like 40 minutes. Came out tasting like banana bread, really good. My mom said we should make it like that all year round. It's fun to experiment.

Princess Lea said...

Sounds delish! Almond meal is now the delight of the non-brockers, and while available in store, it's simple to make at home.

There are so many delicious Pesach recipes I plan to make all year round, but then I don't. Before I know it, it's Pesach again, and I'm all excited for the stuff I haven't made for a year. Lame.