A number of months ago, my Mom gave to me a copy of Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cookbook, which offers recipes that sneak vegetables into unsuspecting children by, say, adding carrot puree to tacos. One of the recipes that captured my attention immediately is her recipe for brownies– an 8×8 pan with a full cup of spinach and carrots. With the promise that the recipe fooled her children, my attention was piqued. Nevertheless, starting brownies with this felt like a minor sacrilege:
You see, it was about a year ago that I began my search for a favorite brownie recipe. I believe I’ve baked at least one and often two batches of brownies every month since, trying and tweaking. And recently I landed upon a recipe that I believe is the best. Yes, it’s extra work. Yes, it involves whipping eggs. It likely dirties four bowls. But it is my idea of perfection. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this past year, it’s that making brownies starts with melting butter. It does not start with steaming spinach. But I had faith in my new pal Ms. Seinfeld, so I cooked my spinach and carrots and pureed them.
At this point in the process, I’m keeping an open mind.
And at this point, my mind closed. Do you see the ratio of vegetables to chocolate? Stirring these ingredients together made my stomach turn. Spinach and chocolate. Spinach and chocolate! Dear God, what have I done? But at this point I’ve already gone to the trouble of steaming and pureeing two different vegetables and I’ve melted chocolate, so I carried on, stomach in throat. As a side note, this recipe is pretty short on butter; in fact, it calls for using some kind of low fat spread, and I believe the vegetables exist to increase the moisture content. Given that I have a one-year-old at the first percentile (or less) for weight, we believe in butter around here. So I added some. Because that could only improve upon the situation.
Here, the completed batter. You’ll notice some green flecks. Otherwise, it doesn’t look too bad. I felt more hopeful, but I did not taste the batter.
Again, the green. Look away please.
The recipe warns that these brownies should only be enjoyed cool. Apparently they still taste like spinach when warm. While cooking, the house had the enjoyable aroma of chocolate… and butter… and, well, spinach. I could smell it. Really. And when I tasted a corner of the warm brownies– because you have to taste a corner!– the spinach flavor was there. Eck.
But upon cooling?
They gobbled them up. Ally had two. And really, though they weren’t great brownies, they were passable, and if the girls like chef-boy-ar-dee then surely this excuse for a brownie could also work. But the next day their interest waned, and we threw away about half the batch after they stopped eating them. I don’t blame them.
Because there were green flecks.