I could quite happily eat a whole batch of cookies in one sitting. Any baked good for that matter, I love them all equally. But if there is a way that I can eat a whole batch of cookies and gain some kind of nutritional benefit from it, then I am all in for it. Sign me up! So when I came across the concept of healthy baking, I was eager to delve head first into this new world.
Initially I was suspicious; no way can healthy baking be a really thing, what would be the point in that? I thought it had to be a trap. Whenever I think of baking, I imagine an endless stream of chocolate chips being poured into a bowl filled with flour, sugar, eggs and butter. That feeling you get when you eat your warm, freshly-baked cookie and feel so satisfied, so accomplished that you’ve made this delicious thing out of just a few ingredients, this is what makes me love baking. And of course, the look on people’s faces when you mention you’ve brought a freshly-made cake to an event, that always makes you feel good (and all of a sudden very popular!).
But the idea of healthy baking filled my mind with images of me grimacing whilst trying to swallow down some kind of mash of green vegetables, fashioned into a shape that vaguely resembled a cupcake.
So when I came across food blogs like Chocolate Covered Katie and Cookie and Kate (both are so cool, you should definitely check them out) that had recipes incorporating vegetables and beans into their baked goods, I was slightly suspicious but nonetheless intrigued. I decided to follow a recipe for Black Bean Brownies from Chocolate Covered Katie, I thought this would be a great first step into the whole healthy baking thing- I didn’t know if I was quite ready to dive straight into the vegetable/cake combination yet! Small steps, guys.
This recipe was so easy to follow and fast, which was a bonus- it only took about 15 minutes to get everything together and in the oven. This was great for me, because I think time goes twice as slowly when you’re waiting for brownies to cook. But I waited patiently, I had to give this healthy baking thing my whole effort, I couldn’t let my impatient side win this one!
They looked good, they smelled good, these were all great signs. Most importantly though, they tasted good, like reaallyyy good. Now, full credit to this recipe, these brownies have a whole tin of black beans in them, but hand on heart, you honestly can’t taste them. They just taste like delicious, fudgy brownies. I mean they still have some sugar in, but nowhere near as much as I would usually put in. The only suggestion I would have for this recipe is would be to use a smaller tin than suggested because mine came out slightly flatter than I thought, however I am officially a convert.
In addition to getting a batch of freshly baked brownies, you also get the added bonuses of a) feeling very virtuous when you eat them, and b) in theory you could eat the whole batch and probably still feel pretty good.
Now, of course there are days when you just really need a massive slice of chocolate cake, I totally understand that, but spurred on by this unexpected success, I am ready to see what other healthy baking recipes are out there to try.
So if you have any suggestions for healthy baking recipes or even any zero waste recipes (another area that also fascinates me) that you want me to road test for you, let me know!
I hope you’re having a lovely weekend!