It's that time again. It's Sugar High Friday! This month's edition is hosted by Veggie Venture. The theme for this month is: The Surprise Inside. Participants are asked to create a sweet dish with some sort of surprise inside--either a surprise ingredient, or a hidden surprise treat, or any other reasonable interpretation of the theme.
In honor of the host, I began with a vegan recipe for brownie bites by Erin McKenna of Babycakes NYC. So the first surprise inside of this recipe is what's not in it: eggs, milk, and gluten. Then I destroyed the vegan-ness of it by adding in Vosges red fire chocolate chips, which are made with butter. Which is the second surprise, as these brownie bites have a spicy cinnamon-chile heat lurking in their belly.
As McKenna acknowledges in the article where I found this recipe, it's really hard to make good vegan brownies. The recipe is the product of six months on her part of trial and error, so as far as the main ingredients go, I didn't deviate at all.
However, I am not a vegan so I didn't feel the need to go strictly vegan and to be honest ... for a non-vegan, a vegan brownie is just never going to be as good as a buttery, eggy dessert. And I not only have myself to please, but a husband who doesn't care so much about health when it comes to his desserts, but they do need to taste good. Which is why I decided to add the Vosges chocolate chips instead of the dairy-free chips called for by the recipe. The exotic flavor provided the surprise that allowed me to participate in this Sugar High Friday. The Red Fire chips are made with dark chocolate, Mexican ancho and chipotle chili peppers, and Ceylon cinnamon. I was afraid they might be too spicy for the little brownie bites, but a quick taste before adding them proved that the heat was subtle and instead of burning, provided a warm background to the exotic cinnamon flavor.
The brownie bites turned out great -- soft and moist and fluffy. There is definitely a taste difference from a regular brownie. The applesauce gives it a more vegetable sweetness. We had exmaples both with and without the chips, to compare. I thought they were delicious with or without the chocolate chips, although I thought if they were any bigger, they wouldn't have been as good. J. thought that without the chocolate chips, they were a little disappointing. With the chocolate chips, he thought they were perfect.
RED FIRE BROWNIE BITES
Makes 12 servings
Active: 15 Minutes
Start to finish: 30 Minutes
- Vegetable oil spray
- ½ cup Bob's Red Mill gluten-free, all-purpose baking flour, plus 2 tablespoons
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ½ cup applesauce
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup Vosges Red Fire chocolate chips
Nutritional information per serving:
ONE BROWNIE: 69 cal, 4 gm fat, 0.8 gm sat fat, 10 gm carb, 0.8 gm fiber.