Brownies cannot be healthy

Brownies cannot be healthy

I really wanted it to be true.

Let me back up a bit: A while ago I was reading an article in Runner’s World by Scott Jurek, world famous ultra-marathoner of Born to Run fame. The gist of the article is that he has become vegan and it has revolutionized his running and athleticism. It’s an interesting article and the purpose of it was to plug for his new book Eat and Run, which is an interesting read as well.

In the article (and book) he has a recipe for Chocolate Adzuki Bars. (It’s towards the bottom of the page in the article linked above.) In his book he introduces these “brownies” like so:

If you’re going to eat a moist, dense dessert on the run, this one is ideal. Made from the most digestible of beans [that’s the adzuki part], along with banana, rice flour, and vanilla, these lightly sweetened bars taste even better than their ingredients suggest. Plus, they are an excellent source of carbohydrates and protein.

This was intriguing to me. I really love brownies, but like most people feel sick and disgusting when I eat half a pan of them. For me it’s the rich chocolate that makes it, super sweet brownies aren’t my thing, so reading that these were lightly sweetened didn’t scare me off. I began to think, what if I could have it all? Brownies that would satisfy my chocolate craving and that I could still feel smug about eating.


So, I raided the bulk bins at Whole Foods to get all the strange ingredients required. I made rice milk from scratch and cooked the adzuki beans. Audrey actually made the bars as a surprise for me earlier this week when I got home from work.

It was too good to be true. Those chocolate bars tasted exactly like their ingredients suggest: like bananas, mashed beans, and cocoa powder. We tried to pawn them off on the kids. Ellen liked them pretty well (she doesn’t know any better) and Cooper took a bite or two and then started eating the chocolate chips off the top. After sitting on top of the microwave for a few days they ended up in the garbage.

Ever since then, I have been craving real brownies. So naturally I turned to our favorite brownie-obsessed food blogger to crank out some of her favorites. (A version of these brownies with a white chocolate-mint ganache has earned Audrey a reputation among the women at church.) As the author of that blog states:

There are no bad from-scratch brownies, unless you’re adding pureed carrots or flax seed and if you are, seriously, shame on you. Also: why? Why would you ruin a brownie like that? I demand an answer!

Point taken, Deb. I’m going to go eat brownies now.



Note: In Scott Jurek’s defense, not all his recipes are terrible. His salsa verde is outstanding. We also tried a bulgar chili recipe that is similar to his that was also very good. Oh yeah, and his suggestion of putting nutritional yeast (a.k.a. “hippie dust”, the vegan way to get a cheesy flavor without cheese) on popcorn blew my socks off it was so good. We now buy nutritional yeast just to put on popcorn.

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