Blushing Brownies–Hack the Recipe to Add Secret Nutrition

Beet Brownies,
Image: L. Weldon

Subversive ingredient use is fun, especially when you don’t reveal that the recipe has been hacked until after your family is gobbling up the results. This brownie recipe gets a nutrition boost from garden fresh beets and thick applesauce.

Brownie Ingredients

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

1/2  cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or variations)*

3/4  cup unsweetened applesauce

4 eggs

1 cup chopped, cooked and drained beets

1  1/14 cup flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder

dash salt

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1/4 cup ground flaxseed or 1/3 cup wheat germ

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 baking pan.

Put baking chocolate and butter in a large glass bowl. Start heating them on low power in microwave, 30 seconds at a time. Stir frequently to avoid scorching chocolate and heat only until melted. Mix in the sugar, vanilla and applesauce. Set aside.

Put eggs and beets in blender, combine until pureed. Pour beet slurry into the bowl of chocolate batter. Stir these bright pink and brown ingredients together slowly in order to enjoy the aesthetic appeal.

Add flour, baking powder, salt and flaxseed (or wheat germ). Mix well. Scrape into baking pan and spread until even. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until firm but not overcooked. Toothpick inserted to test doneness should have moist crumbles sticking to it.

Cool before slathering with frosting.

*To vary the recipe, replace vanilla extract with mint extract. Or keep the vanilla extract and add dashes of cinnamon and allspice. Or add a quarter cup of chopped nuts, dried cherries, dried cranberries, or cocoa nibs.

Chocolate Frosting Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

1 1/12 cups confectioners’ sugar

2-3 tablespoons milk, soy milk or almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter and chocolate on low in microwave. Stir in remaining ingredients, adding more sugar or milk as necessary to make smooth thick frosting. Spread over cooled brownies. Top with nuts or sprinkles if desired.

Laura is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning. She lives on a small farm notable only for its lovestruck goose.