Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld was one of the first books I read when I was beginning to learn more about cooking and nutrition. (The Family Nutrition Book by Dr. William Sears was another one if you’re just getting started.)
I remember looking at her recipe for brownies with spinach and wondering if you truly couldn’t tell there was vegetables in them. This was about a year before I discovered green smoothies and did not yet understand the invisibility powers of spinach when prepared the right way.
I’ve long since returned Deceptively Delicious to the library, but I’ve thought about those spinach brownies more than once. I’ve done Black Bean Brownies after all, I’ve already gone ’round the crazy brownie bend – might as well make the brownie spinach leap too.
The Greener March Challenge is here and I think it’s about time we move beyond salad, green smoothies and sauteed kale. Why aren’t we putting leafy greens into some chocolatey, baked goodness?
(Because that sounds completely ridiculous, maybe?)
The time to try spinach brownies is now! And let me tell you, you’re probably not gonna believe this one until you try it yourself.
You should know up front that there are two secrets to making spinach brownies work.
Serve these cold. (The spinach taste disappears after they’ve cooled completely.)
Make them when no one is around. (Your children might refuse to make these brownies disappear if they see the green puree you’re going to put into the batter.)
I modified the original Deceptively Delicious Brownie recipe slightly and used one whole egg in place of two egg whites. I also exchanged ”trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread” with real butter. Here’s my final take on a greener (but not at all green) brownie.
Secret (Spinach and Carrot) Brownies
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c butter, softened
3 oz bakers or semi-sweet chocolate, melted (about a half cup of chocolate chips)
1 cup of steamed and pureed spinach and carrots
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and chop two large carrots and steam until soft. Steam two handfuls of baby spinach.
Move vegetables to blender and blend until smooth, adding a little water if necessary.
Do you see now why you wait to make these when no one is around?
Cream together butter and sugar, stir in melted chocolate, vegetable puree, vanilla and egg. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt) and add to vegetable batter a little at a time, beating together until smooth.
If your kids or finicky husband/boyfriend/wife/girlfriend/roommate suddenly show up in your kitchen, this is when you start whistling and acting perfectly normal.
Just regular brownie batter everybody! Nothing to see here!
And even though they might taste a little spinach-y when they are still warm, the good news is they do NOT smell like spinach or carrots when they are baking. The brownie smell wafting from your oven will not give your secret away – they smell like regular old no-vegetables-added brownies. Phew.
When they’re completely cool, they’re ready to be cut up and served.
Do you see any spinach? Do you see any carrots?
And you can’t taste spinach or carrots either. Really. Not at all. I could hardly believe it. In fact, these are so good you might be tempted to throw spinach in the air like confetti – although that sort of celebrating might raise some suspicions, so perhaps wait on letting the spinach rain down until you’re alone again.
Oh guuuuuurls! Who wants a brownie?
They hadn’t even had lunch yet when I offered up this treat. That should have been Clue #1 that something was up with these brownies.
Both girls finished their spinach and carrot laced chocolate squares and thoroughly enjoyed them without suspecting a thing. (And believe me, they are quite often suspicious.) They were shocked when I showed them the pictures of what went into them. Zak (who has been clued in on the vegetable smuggling) liked them too.
I cut these brownies into 16 pieces, making them 106 calories per serving. If you cut them into 9 pieces, they clock in at 188 calories each.
More nutritional info here (click to enlarge) based on portion size.
Can you eat these brownies every day in place of eating a salad? NO.
Was this the only green vegetable I ended up eating today? Sadly (but not really that sad) YES.
Spinach in brownies. Try them. You’ll like them. I promise.