we got the beet (brownies)

Confession: Reading food blogs was never my original intent. As a food writer, I felt it was important to have a blog. But because my livelihood involves working with recipes–both in the kitchen and in print–my plate was already figuratively (and often literally ;-)) full. I didn’t see the appeal in poring over even more food prose than I was already reading.

Yet growing a blog is easier when there’s connection between writer and reader. And that means going out into that blogosphere and seeing what other folks have to say. In doing this, I’ve found myself repeatedly inspired by the gifted writers and talented cooks who put their culinary finds out there. Case in point: today’s recipe. Foods For the Soul recently ran a series about sneaking veggies into unexpected dishes. Carrot cake oatmeal, pumpkin custard, onion muffins, beet brownies–all intriguing. But a recently acquired can of beets meant that the brownies would get the first shot.

So I did it–I made beet brownies.

beet brownie ingredients reporting in

beet brownie ingredients reporting for duty

beet puree--it's pretty

beet puree is pretty

ready for the pureed beetsx

ready for the pureed beets

ready for mixing

ready, set, mix

It was a pretty enough process–ruby-red beets pureed to jewel-like brilliance. Fudgy melted dark chocolate. Golden and powdery ground oats. But even with all of the goodness, I had my doubts. Though I wanted to like these brownies, I wasn’t sure that FFtS’s claims of their being “dense, moist, rich, and fudgy β€” everything a brownie should be” would play out.

One tablespoon of fat (I used butter, though the recipe asked for margarine or shortening) seemed paltry. Subbing beet and applesauce in for eggs, using ground oats instead of wheat flour–none of it boded well for a sweet treat as all-American as the brownie. While the cocoa powder and melted chocolate were promising, I hedged my bets by chopping up a Mast chocolate bar with dried cranberries–high-end craft chocolate from Brooklyn, NY’s bean-to-bar shop–to stir into the batter.

And…

beet brownies

beet brownies?

Pretty, yes, and also plenty moist, but I wouldn’t call them “brownies.” Chocolate-beet cake seems a better descriptor. I might appreciate these for what they are–a healthier version of a higher-fat baked good–if it weren’t for my biggest objection: these “brownies” tasted like beets. And while tasty roasted and topped with crumbled blue cheese, beets just don’t work (for me) in brownies. I’ve never liked canned beets and just couldn’t get past the astringent tangy aftertaste of these cakes. (Taste is a subjective thing, though, so you might like these. FFtS had high praise!)

While technically this was a fail (the brownies ended up in the trash–yikes), I still count it as success: I tried something new and now know how beets work in brownies. (Not so well.) FFtS’s carrot cake oatmeal still beckons and I’ll continue to seek out food blogs–both old favorites and new discoveries. Its been a fun and delicious community to join.

25 thoughts on “we got the beet (brownies)

    • good one–couldn’t have hurt πŸ™‚ I saved the pretty ones in the photo for a friend who actually liked them. Hard to throw food away!

  1. Well, thanks for being honest! Despite my dislike for beets, I have also been tempted to try a brownie recipe that included beets. Now, I will probably skip it and stick with my greek yogurt substitution!

  2. I have to say, I’m not surprised that the “brownies” didn’t appeal to you – I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of beets and chocolate together!

    On the other hand, these photos are gorgeous! Love the colours. So at least you got some good blogging material out of the experiment πŸ™‚

    • now we know. Had I not had that can of beets looking at me, I doubt I would have tried the recipe. Next time will donate to the food shelf. Good to see you at foodforfun, though I’m still puzzled by how you find time to be everywhere and do everything. Do you sleep? πŸ˜‰

    • I found it interesting that some folks (at least FFtS blogger and the blog where she found the recipe) RAVED about these brownies. They were the best thing ever and tasted “just like” the real thing. And I really really wanted to like them. But each palate is different, I suppose. If you don’t like canned beets, these aren’t the brownies for you. And I just don’t see beet flavor of any kind mixing into brownies well. ?? My take. Please let me know if you make a batch as I’m curious what others would think. Thanks for stopping by, my baker friend:-)

  3. Very intriguing…but bummer they didn’t turn out as well as hoped. Maybe if these were formed into more of a granola bar they would be tasty πŸ™‚ Also, would more chocolate mask the beet flavor? Or maybe half the beets would due…looks like a lot of beautiful red beats! I give you props for trying something new! πŸ˜€ I have been wanting to bake something with avocado but still have yet to do so.

      • Yep, I remember you posting that. Will definitely look at this recipe once I get around to making them…I just made some amazingly yummy GF/DF cookies today. Impressed!

      • Ooh I will have to try these. I also recently found a recipe for avocado fudge that I am interested in.

        What I want to know is this: What were you doing with the can of beets in the first place?!

        • lol–long story: we have neighbors who bring us a box of food every Sunday–leftovers from a community foodshare at their church. It’s lovely and fun as you never know what will be in the box. usually near-expired produce or maybe bakery or diary or eggs. Whole Foods is the original source, so always organic, cage-free, etc. Our neighbors are from Nigeria and we don’t always completely understand what they’re saying (nor they us, I’m sure), but it’s been a lovely way to bond as I’ll sometimes bring them part of whatever I make with what they send over. (not the beet brownies, though) So that, my new friend, while perhaps TMI, was why I had a can of beets πŸ™‚

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    • I thought you might like this one, Sophie, as it seemed up your alley. I really really really wanted to like this, but couldn’t get past the tinny canned beet flavor. Do you have any choc-beet recipes you’d be willing to share? Will check out your blog to see if there’s anything already up. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

      • No but I always use & do it myself at home:I cook fresh beets with the peel on & then peel them & slice them: for better & real beetroot flavours! I must develop my own vegan one’s soon! πŸ™‚ x

  5. I love these. I do have a fetish for Vegetables in cakes, beetroot should be lovely. Nice and moist, yes? I wouldn’t go so far as adding cabbage, unless it was a savoury cake of course.

    Great work

    πŸ™‚

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