Wednesday, September 12, 2018

UPDATED MOIST & DELICIOUS LOW-GLYCEMIC, LOW-FAT, VEGAN BROWNIES

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As you may be aware from reading this blog in the last few months, I am refining my vegan low-glycemic way of eating because of a diagnosis of pre-diabetes (and it's working!).  I've lost some weight, and I'm learning to use some different ingredients and to cook a bit differently from what I was used to, but it's really not been that difficult.  You can read about my research here and see some of my new low-glycemic recipes, discoveries and cooking adventures in my blogs from March 2018 to the present.

The one thing that we haven't been eating very often is dessert, sadly. (My husband is being very patient!)  I have devised a delicious low-sugar apple/rhubarb crumble, and some yummy no-sugar corn muffins, but we've mostly been enjoying the lovely fruits available this summer, and the occasional Chocolate "Nice Cream. (It's made with frozen ripe bananas and no added sweetener-- I'll post my version soon, as well as my newest version of Peruvian Lucuma Ice Cream, made with lucuma powder, which is used as a natural sweetener by some raw foodists, so you don't need to add much sweetener.). But, as  the weather was changing a bit, I thought I'd work on making some LG and low-fat  brownies. (You might have noticed that I love chocolate!)

In my first version, I use a combination of oat, millet and soghum flours (all low-glycemic) and smooth unsweetened applesauce instead of fat and a small amount of agave nectar for the sweetener (you could use maple syrup instead). They weren't bad, but the millet and sorghum flours made the brownies slightly crumbly in the finished product, even though the flours felt very fine to me when raw.  So, I tried  the same recipe again with only oat flour.  The brownies were better, but I still felt that they weren't moist enough. 

The 3rd time I made brownies, I used 2/3rds oat flour and 1/3 bean flour, AND I added 1/4 cup of yellow split pea puree, which I keep in the freezer, frozen in ice cube trays [2 tablespoons per cube] and then popped into freezer bags. This puree is a great as a fat replacer in baking and I thought it might add just that little bit more moisture that I needed. It turned out really well and this is the recipe I'm sharing below.


UPDATE: But, re-reading my post on baking with yellow split pea puree, I noted that I had been adding 1 T. water to the 2 thawed-out cubes of puree for a moist texture in muffins.  So, I did just that today (Sept. 22, 2018) when I made a fourth batch, and the brownies were perfect this time. One more change I made was using 6 tablespoons of agave nectar instead of 1/3 cup (which is 5 1/2 tablespoons). We brought the brownies over to some friends today and they loved them! So I have updated the recipe below and I hope you enjoy it!PS: See about baking with yellow split pea puree, + a yummy fat-free muffin recipe at this link.

Anyway, enough chatter!  If you try these, let me know what you think.  I may try using a date puree for the sweetener next time and, if it works, I'll post it.



Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S MOIST & DELICIOUS LOW-GLYCEMIC, LOW-FAT, VEGAN BROWNIES (soy-free and gluten-free if you use GF oats; NO added oil)                 
        Servings: 12 bars   
RECIPE UPDATED SEPT. 22, 2018 (See highlighted paragraph above.)


DRY MIX:
1/2 cup oat flour  (I simply blend rolled oats in a dry blender until fine and fluffy.)
(NOTE: stir the oat flour a bit before measuring.)
1/4 cup chickpea flour or white bean flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
WET MIX:
1 cup smooth unsweetened applesauce
6 tablespoons agave nectar (you can use maple syrup instead, if you prefer)
1/4 cup yellow split pea puree (see Tip below for how to make and store)
1 tablespoon water (to mix with split pea puree)
1 tsp vanilla extract
EXTRAS: (Optional)
1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate chips (can be minis)
1/2 to 1 cup walnut halves or pecans, roughly chopped

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (NOTE: When I use my little counter-top Cuisinart Air Fryer Oven, 325 degrees F works best.)

Oil an 8-inch square baking pan (I use a Pyrex pan). Line with baking parchment, if you wish.

In a medium bowl, mix together the Dry Mix ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix together the Wet Mix ingredients.

Pour the Wet Mix into the Dry Mix and combine briefly but thoroughly. If you are using the chocolate chips and/or nuts, stir them into the batter.

Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Check with a toothpick at 18 minutes. If the toothpick is a bit gooey, bake a few minutes more. A toothpick should come out just about clean, but not really dry.

Cool the pan on a rack. When it has cooled completely, cut into 12 squares. Store in a covered container at room temperature-- they are even better the next day!

TIP- To make and store yellow split pea puree:
Mix 2 cups of dried split yellow peas [they don't have to be soaked first] with 4 cups of water in your Instant Pot or other pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. (PS: Or, you can simmer them in a pot, covered, for 30 minutes on your stovetop.) Let the pressure come down before opening the pot. The resulting soft mush just needed a few stirs to "puree", and the yield was 5 cups.

I refrigerated the puree for a day or so.  When I removed it from the refrigerator, it had hardened considerably! I pressed some of the the puree into ice cube trays, which made cubes of 2 tablespoons puree, and some in 1/4 cup portions in silicone cupcake liners also in a silicone ice cube tray that made 1/4-cup cubes. Then I  froze them.  Later, I popped out the frozen portions, bagged them up in zipper-lock storage bags and placed them back into the freezer for future use.) Add 1 Tablespoon water to each 1/4-cup portion of split pea puree before adding to a baking recipe for brownies, muffins, etc..

NUTRITION FACTS:
WITHOUT chocolate chips or nuts:
Nutrition (per bar): 64 calories, 6 calories from fat, less than 1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 134.1mg sodium, 139.2mg potassium, 14.9g carbohydrates, 1.8g fiber, 7.1g sugar, 1.8g protein, 2.1 points.

WITH semisweet chocolate chips, but NO nuts:
Nutrition (per bar): 98 calories, 23 calories from fat, 2.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 134.9mg sodium, 139.2mg potassium, 19.4g carbohydrates, 2.3g fiber, 7.1g sugar, 2.1g protein, 3.2 points.

WITH 1/2 cup nuts, but NO chocolate chips:
Nutrition (per bar): 96 calories, 33 calories from fat, 4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 134.2mg sodium, 160.7mg potassium, 15.6g carbohydrates, 2.2g fiber, 7.2g sugar, 2.6g protein, 3.1 points.

WITH both chocolate chips AND 1/2 cup nuts:
Nutrition (per bar): 130 calories, 49 calories from fat, 6.1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 135mg sodium, 160.7mg potassium, 20g carbohydrates, 2.6g fiber, 7.2g sugar, 2.9g protein, 4.1 points.

WITH semisweet chocolate chips AND 1 cup nuts:
Nutrition (per bar): 195 calories, 94 calories from fat, 10.9g total fat, less than 1mg cholesterol, 141.6mg sodium, 198.7mg potassium, 20.1g carbohydrates, 3.5g fiber, 6.5g sugar, 5.3g protein, 5.6 points.


Enjoy!!




Saturday, September 8, 2018

PEANUT BUTTER/TOFU "CREME CHEEZE" SPREAD-- EASY, CREAMY, DELICIOUS, PROTEIN-RICH, LOW-FAT

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QUICKIE POST!



This is an old recipe of mine that I have just resurrected, and I'm loving it!  Super quick and easy to make, and great on toast (with some low-sugar jam) for breakfast or in a PB&J sandwich, or on apple slices and/or celery sticks for a quick snack.

I'm really enjoying using tofu these days, BTW.  The whole soy scare thing is so unfortunate and is the result of misinformation distributed by groups such as the anti-vegetarian Weston A. Price Foundation, and then blindly re-distributed by people and groups who don't do their homework. (See my research here: http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.com/p/are-you-concerned-about-safety-ofsoy.html ) There are many types of tofu easily available these days (have you tried smoked tofu?); you can purchase organic tofu; it's inexpensive and full of protein, but low in fat; it's versatile as an ingredient; it can take on all sorts of flavors and seasonings and be used in recipes from cuisines.  


BRYANNA'S PEANUT BUTTER/TOFU "CREME CHEEZE" SPREAD
Yield: 2 cups/ Servings: 16
 Each serving= 2 T. 
This spread contains a similar amount of protein, 1/3 of the fat and 1/2 of the calories of an equal amount of peanut butter.

Ingredients
12.3 ounces extra-firm silken tofu
(OR press 1 lb. of medium-firm tofu down to 12.3 ounces-- see below)
1/2 cup unsalted peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
4 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. agave nectar, maple syrup or organic sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Scoop into a 2-cup container with a lid.  Refrigerate. Easy as that!

How to press tofu: Sandwich your 1 lb. block of tofu between clean, absorbent dish towels (or several folded paper towels, if you must). Place a flat surface on top, such as a small cutting board or baking sheet, and weigh it down-- 28-ounce tomato cans or books work well.  15 to 30 minutes of pressing is usually sufficient.  Weigh the tofu on a small food scale to make sure that it is now about 12 ounces, or slightly more.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 2 T. serving): 82 calories, 49 calories from fat, 5.8g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 75.9mg sodium, 121.8mg potassium, 3g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, 1.3g sugar, 5.9g protein, 2.4 points.

Enjoy!