Monday, August 30, 2010

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky: Purple Haze Brownies

(N.b., before you get all upset (or excited, depending on what sort of cook you are): they're not that kind of brownie.)

It was the last weekend of summer here ... that is, the last weekend before my students arrive back at work, before Ian transitions to day care for a week and then back to his regular classroom.  I'm sorry to see summer go this year.  Usually I look forward to the first day of school, but in some ways, the start of this year feels too similar, too much like what's gone before it, and I will miss the extra days here and there that I've been able to spend at home.  I also feel like the future is a little hazy this year, and I'm starting the school year with a strange mixture of resignation, apprehension, and anticipation for what's to come.  Nonetheless, we milked the weekend for all it was worth, visiting our CSA farm with bikes this time so that we could take the Lawrence Hopewell Trail through the Mercer Educational Gardens and to two geocaches, playing in the water at a neighbor's birthday party, visiting the llamas and tractors at our county 4H fair and stuffing ourselves full of food you're never supposed to eat (like pulled pork and milkshakes) after we rode the ferris wheel and roller coaster, and hosting my high school English teachers for lunch.  Trying to kiss the sky, I guess, one last time.

We got yet another installment of beets this past week from the CSA.  I decided that I was sick of roasting and eating them (much as beets and goat cheese and spinach make a lovely salad), and that it wasn't fair of me to expect our guests to eat them, either, and that I was going to turn them into dessert.  I'd made Elana's Purple Velvet Torte last year with some success (and may post about that later this week since there are yet more beets in my refrigerator from this week's share), but wanted something a little lighter.  I found this recipe on La Tartine Gourmand, and, having almost exactly 7 oz. beets, knew it was destiny.

You have to sort of channel carrot cake (but fudgy, not cakey) when you eat these--don't expect brownies in the traditional sense of the word.  And if you're looking to hide vegetables, this probably isn't the way to do it; the beets are pretty obvious.  Were I to try these again, I'd probably cook the beets and puree them to get a smoother consistency, taking care that the additional liquid doesn't spoil the fudginess of the brownie.

I hope that you'll give these a shot if you have some extra beets in your refrigerator (or if you want your brownies to pack a little bit of an additional nutritional punch).  Savor every moment; they slip away too fast.
Purple Haze Brownies

3.5 oz (90 g) dark chocolate (I used a 70% cocoa dark chocolate)
3.5 oz (100 g) flour
3.5 oz (100 g) almond flour (I used 150 and 50g. respectively, white and almond flour, because that's what I had; it was fine)
3 oz (90 g) sugar
3 oz (90 g) butter (soft)
4 eggs
7 oz (200 g) shredded raw red beets
1 t. vanilla extract
Confectioner sugar and cocoa for decoration

Start by peeling and shredding the beets. Set aside, and preheat the oven to 350.

Melt 3 oz. of the chocolate in a double boiler (or a microwave, at half power, for a minute at a time, stirring after each minute to see if you're melted enough yet ... you'll know when the chocolate is smooth and shiny).  You'll be chopping the extra .5 oz. to toss into the batter later; set aside.

Cream together (using a food processor, I use my Kitchen Aid Stand) the butter with sugar, and add eggs.  Mix until lighter, then add the chocolate, flour, almond powder, the beets and the vanilla extract, and mix well.  Add chopped chocolate and mix well again.

Grease an 8x8" cake pan, and placed greased parchment paper at the bottom.  Pour the preparation in it and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.   Your brownies are cooked once the blade of a knife comes out dry after you insert the blade in the cake.  I dusted mine with powdered sugar; that's not necessary, but it does make them just a tad sweeter.
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  1. my god these sound and look amazing. cannot WAIT to give these a go this weekend!

  2. Wow, these brownies look great...and I love the idea of beet in it...

  3. What a great way to kiss the summer goodbye for another year! Happy start of another school year to you!

  4. Wonderful! I too will use up some of the ever present CSA beets! I stumbled on your blog from one of the infertility blogs I read and can't wait to see what you make next!

  5. Sounds yummy! We're still in the warming-roasted-beetroot type weather, but brownies have no season!

    Big working party in my back garden this weekend to expand, improve, and beautify everything and get in lots of veggie patches and fruits, etc. But me being me I'm thinking of what I should cook for everyone; I think the rocket tart you posted a while ago will certainly be something I make. I also think I'll be creative and invent a gluten-free moroccan inspired cake. I just want to find some cood quality dried rose petals as I think that would be festive. :-) ((HUGS))

  6. @Sarah ... you may want to wait for the chocolate cake. ;)
    @tasivfer ... rose petal cake sounds fabulous! I'm imagining cardamom and pistachios, too ... you'll have to tell me what you end up doing once you decide. :)
    @twelvegrapes ... did they work? I'm always curious to hear from people who wind up trying to reproduce these experiments!

  7. Man oh man living close to you would be dangerous AND AWESOME!


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