Friday, October 19, 2007

Vegan Chocolate Banana Brownies for HotM 8

Hmmm. . .

Bake something sweet but not fat . . .

Something satisfyingly gooey but good for you . . .

Something heart healthy, with no eggs or butter.

This is what Ilva and Joanna are asking for in this month's HotM theme: Baking.
Heart of the Matter, Ilva's and Joanna's brainchild, is the blog devoted to the development of heart healthy recipes from food bloggers around the world. I love this monthly event because it makes me think and it gets me into a healthier cooking frame of mind.

This recipe was truly an experiment. The only guideline I had was from my daughter-in-law, Amy, who told me that 1 banana may be substituted for 1 egg in most baked vegan recipes. Well, not using eggs and butter is one of the parameters of this event, so I went with the bananas. Then I thought of chocolate - one of the world's highest anti-oxidant foods. Now there's a theme - chocolate and bananas. What's not to like?

According to the web site World's Healthiest Foods, "bananas are one of our best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since the average banana contains a whopping 467 mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium, a banana a day may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis."

Chocolate, the darker the better, is not only packed with anti-oxidants that help fight free radicals, it has been proven to lower blood pressure in a number of studies.

Because I was heading in a vegan kind of direction with the ingredients I'd settled on, I decided to use
agave instead of honey for the liquid needed here. This turned out to be a very sweet idea. Walnuts add fiber and the benefits of linolenic acids.

So, here we go - brownies with very low fat, no eggs, no cholesterol, plus they're vegan!

Vegan Chocolate Banana Brownies
Christine's Original Recipe
1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces very dark, bitter sweet chocolate
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
4-6 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped toasted nuts, I used walnuts

Spray an 8"x 8" or 9"x 7" pan with a Pam-like spray.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center of the oven.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan.
In a medium bowl, mash the bananas then add the agave syrup, vanilla and melted chocolate and stir well.
Stir the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture, followed by the chopped nuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly to the edges and bake in the oven for about 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out crumb free. If using the 8-inch square pan, you may have to bake them several minutes longer.
The sides of the brownie batter may pull away from the edge of the pan when done; be sure that the edges don't burn.
Remove from the oven and allow the brownies to cool in the pan on a rack.
Cut into 1-inch squares and serve with afternoon tea.

Cook's Notes:
Although these were good right out of the pan, they are better the day after baking for some strange reason.
If I were to make these again I might substitute whole wheat flour for one half of the flour measurement.

Be sure to check out the HotM roundup at the end of this month. Want to join in the fun? Send your post link to Joanna at joannacary AT ukonline DOT co DOT uk before October 23rd.

Copyright © 2005-2007, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


Kalyn said...

Sounds yummy. And I'm wondering how it would work if you used all white whole wheat flour and no white flour at all. Very healthy for a dessert recipe, good job!

Christine said...

I think you're right about the white whole wheat flour, Kalyn. I was flying by the seat of my pants with the recipe and knew that regular flour wouldn't be bad. Now that I've made it once, I would experiment with healthier flours. Be my guest! :)

katiez said...

I sit in awe! I never could have come up with such a wonderful recipe - they look properly gooeey...
Well done!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You've got me gobsmacked! That is brilliant Christine. I'm going to try it with 1/4 c white whole wheat! Even if I copy you, I'll be proud of myself if I could make brownies for my vegan son and he liked them!!

Christine said...

Katie, You come up with so many wonderful recipes - it is I who am in awe!

Tanna, Love that word - gobsmacked! I have a vegan son also and delight in making things I think he would like.

Simona said...

It sounds like a great recipe. I am sorry I missed HotM this month.

Christine said...

Yeah, Simona, but you were having such a great time in Italy!! :)

Mansi Desai said...

wow, this does sound like a great recipe! and I bet bananas and chocolate go great together! and doesn't look like you had to compromise on the texture either!:)

Christine said...

Mansi, Think banana splits. The texture was nicely gooey-crumbly the first day, then they began to compress the day after to a more cake-like consistency.

WhiteRoseChild said...

These are just exactly what I was looking for, in taste AND relative healthiness! A nice balance between a "cakey" and an "ooey-gooey" brownie. I used whole wheat pastry flour and half the amount of mixed nuts.

Christine said...

Dear White Rose, I'm glad my recipe was just what you were looking for. I also would use whole wheat pastry flour if I were to make these again. Thank you for letting me know your success.