Sneaking Veggies into Dessert

Gluten free brownies

Strawberry Brownie Sundae

I can’t pretend this post is related to cruising, but people like dessert and there’s a great need for gluten-free recipes good enough anyone can eat them.  I have several others on this blog as well: coconut-lime muffins, chocolate melting cake, rollable pie crust, and pavlova.

fresh beets

When my daughter last came for a visit, she stopped in for lunch with her dad at Forest Ridge School where her uncle, Chef Ron works.  They came home raving about the brownies, so I asked Chef Ron for his recipe.  He said it isn’t really his, it’s pastry chef Stacey’s, but he sent it anyway.

not a medium dice

8oz beets, diced too big

This isn’t your average school food, but an upscale private school with real chefs.  John and Sheri said the lunch there tasted better than most restaurant food. Since a new school year is just starting, now seems like a good time to post this blog.

Beet brownies taste a lot better than they sound. Girls at Forest Ridge who are not on gluten-free diets buy these brownies.

I’ve never actually roasted vegetables before, but I would have eaten these beets fresh from the oven by themselves without the brownies.  In fact, since I have a beet left over I’m going to do just that.

I made two separate batches, one following Chef Stacey’s recipe, and one substituting a non-dairy spread for the butter to make lactose free (no dairy) gluten free brownies.  There seems to be more of a difference in the texture than the taste

double recipe

16oz roasted beets, steaming hot

between the batch with butter and the batch without.  At least that was what I thought.  I used a canola based spread, but any non-dairy spread, vegetable based shortening, or cooking oil would work.

Chef Stacey seems to have substituted beets and applesauce for the water rather than any of the fat from

pureed beets

I love my Black & Decker mini food processor

the original package recipe.  The dough was quite thick.  I would have taken out some of the fat and left in at least some water, but she’s a chef and I’m not.  I will try another batch before I publish this blog though, and go with a bit less fat and some water and see how it turns out.

Even with the addition of beets and applesauce, this is still a dessert, but since people eat dessert anyway, it might as well have some redeeming qualities.  Frosting them with a chocolate nut spread such as Nutella or MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread saves some calories over actual frosting and adds some nutrition as well.  Not to mention tastes good too.  Well I thought so, but John says my brownies don’t pass muster.  He hates beets and said the ones at the school not only had the texture of normal brownies, they did not taste like beets at all, but he thought mine did.

I wasn’t sure what medium diced meant, not being in the habit of dicing things, so

gluten free, lactose free brownies in the pan

baked brownies

perhaps I diced them too large.  Or maybe it is my lack of a kitchen aid mixer, which the recipe specifically calls for.  Now I feel like one of those people on the worst cooks show that try to imitate the wonderful-looking food the chef made and end up with crap.  Except I don’t think they taste like crap.  I’ll have to find more victims, I mean subjects, to test them on.

frosted brownie

frosted with dark chocolate almond nut spread

These are very rich and dense brownies, so making two batches at a time probably was not a good plan since I don’t have a large family to feed them to.  They don’t really need frosting since they are so rich on their own.  They do, however, make great brownie sundaes.  I tried both strawberry and chocolate sauce over vanilla ice cream on them.  I thought the strawberry tasted best because the lightness of it contrasted well with the richness of the brownie.

My niece, Mel, who hates all vegetables, came over to ride horses.  After we got back from the trail, I asked her to try the two types of brownies and see if she could tell the difference between the ones with butter and the ones with the canola spread.  I did tell her they were gluten free, but did not mention the beets.  She commented that they looked a bit reddish, and said they tasted good, but different than normal brownies. Also slightly different from each other.

gluten free brownies

brownies ready to eat

She liked them enough to eat a brownie sundae, choosing the butter brownie with double fudge brownie ice cream and chocolate sauce.  After she finished eating it, I told her about the beets. She still liked them well enough to take some of the brownies made with canola spread home to share with her mother who can’t have gluten or dairy.  She reported back that her mother liked the brownies, so John seems to be the only one not liking them.  I should have tried this before Sheri left so there would be a second person who had tasted the originals to give an opinion on them.  Too late for that now.

I would never have thought of vanilla as something that would have gluten in it.  Both the brownie mix package and the vanilla package mentioned gluten free vanilla though so perhaps some vanilla does have gluten in it.

Chef Stacey’s Beet Brownies

8oz beets, fresh, peeled, and medium diced

gluten free brownie mix

Bob’s gluten free brownie mix

1tsp granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp vegetable/canola oil

1/2 cup applesauce

1 oz vegetable/canola oil

1 package Bob’s Gluten-Free Brownie Mix

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Toss beets with sugar and oil.  Roast at 375F for 20 minutes or until tender.  Take

spice islands gluten free vanilla

gluten free vanilla

out and cool completely.

2. Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare 9″ x 13″ pan with a light coating of nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper.

3. Once beets have completely cooled, process (blender, food processor, hand blender) with applesauce and 1 oz oil.

4. Place brownie mix in a KitchenAid mixer.  Beat in melted butter, egg, vanilla, and beet mixture until combined.

5. Pour into prepared pan.   Bake for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes.  Then flip out of pan and cool completely.

gluten free brownie recipe

chocolate brownie sundae

On the second try I diced the beets much smaller, but still had to add an extra 10 minutes to the roasting time before they seemed soft.  (A couple burned in the extra time, but not most of them.)

I added 1/4 cup water and used 1/4 cup canola oil in the blender with the beets and applesauce.  It did come out much more like a puree than last time.  The dough still seemed quite thick even after adding an additional 1/4 cup water.  I cut the butter down to 1/3 cup.

My mixer still had issues with the thickness of the dough.  Not only do I not have the kitchen aid mixer called for in the original recipe, but I don’t have any normal beaters either.  Mine has a choice of thin wirey beaters or rubber paddles that have just one loop instead of the 2 intersecting loops normal metal beaters have.  It did turn out with a normal brownie dough texture this time though.

John said these tasted like the originals, so his issue with the first batch probably mainly involved the texture.   I thought these tasted good, but lighter and not as rich as the first batch.  I did not frost them as they tasted quite good without it, but for someone inclined to frost their brownies the lighter ones would probably work better.

They did go quite well with the cherry-vanilla ice cream I had in the freezer, topped with half chocolate and half strawberry ice cream sauce.

Chef Ron says the key is definitely having the beets soft enough that they puree without any solid pieces left.  The school has a better blender than most people would, so he said it is OK to steam them first so they roast up softer without burning, or even just steam them.

gluten-free brownie

Hannah enjoys a beet brownie at Forest Ridge school

If you like this recipe, feel free to follow me on networked blogs or twitter, “like” My Cruise Stories facebook page, or get an email subscription so you can find my blog again.  I have some more excellent gluten free recipes in the works for future blogs including a great gluten-free version of the coconut lime muffins and a gluten-free pie crust you can actually roll out like normal ones.  Unlike this recipe which was someone else’s and started with a mix, the others are my own and from scratch.

Copyright My Cruise Stories 2011

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About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
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3 Responses to Sneaking Veggies into Dessert

  1. Who is Chef Stacey?? I thought it was Uncle Ron’s recipe?
    P.S. mmm….beet brownies. I still remember them. Should have used the photo of Hannah eating one at the school with it all over her face. Yeah, even my then 1 year old loved these!

  2. OK Sheri, I added a photo of Hannah eating the brownie.

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