“What’s this green thing doing in my brownie?”

Deceptively Delicious cooking

Sometimes the last thing I read before I go to bed are cookbooks. If my dreams aren’t filled with nightmares about work, they are filled with cooking. Usually experimental cooking gone horribly wrong. The past few nights, I’ve been studying Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. I was thinking that I could possibly try something right away and blog about it. I was wrong.

I read the book almost cover to cover. It’s not the type of cookbook you can buy and start using that same day. There’s a lot of prep work involved. Among the list of suggested equipment near the front of the book are recommendations on how to prep veggies prior to cooking. By prepping the veggies, it means steaming the veggies and pureeing them. Included in the book is a puree how-to for each veggie.

The recipe I chose to try out first were brownies with a cup each of pureed spinach and carrots. Mrs. Seinfeld suggests cooking the spinach for 90 seconds with a teaspoon of water in a skillet until wilted prior to pureeing. The carrots required steaming for 10 to 12 minutes then pureed for 2 minutes with a few teaspoons of water until smooth. Easy enough. A bag of baby carrots equaled three cups of puree while a bag of baby spinach only made a cup.

Brownie ingredients

Other ingredients for the brownies included melted bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, trans-fat-free margarine spread, vanilla extract, egg whites, flour, baking powder and salt. Aside from the purees, I thought that the inclusion of trans-fat free margarine was odd. But I guess she doesn’t want any chubby kids. You know how that childhood obsesity thing has been crammed down our throats lately.

After all has been combined, it was the consistency of brownie batter and was well, brown. Not a thick rich brown that I’m accustomed to but brown nonetheless. But even more telling was that no one volunteered to lick to bowl, especially since the smell of cooked spinach still lingered.

Jessica Seinfeld's recipe for brownies

Suggested serving of the brownies is to let them cool completely. According to the recipe, it’s not until they’re completely cool that the spinach flavor totally disappears. Admittedly, I didn’t test that theory. I threw the entire pan into the refrigerator to completely kill any spinach taste.

Paul's reaction to the brownies

What’s the jury’s take on this? After all the grueling prep work, I would make this again. Maybe even bring it to work if I was daring. There was a definite brownie taste, although I spied some carrot remnants that even a sprinkling of powdered sugar could not conceal. The texture was dense and flatter than I prefer. That could also be a result of using a baking pan a size too big. As for my unwilling taste-tester, he prefers the real thing sans the nutritious health benefits. Sometimes a brownie just has to be a brownie.

NEXT UP: something to do with the two 1-cup bags of pureed carrots in my freezer.

18 thoughts on ““What’s this green thing doing in my brownie?”

Add yours

  1. This raised more than my eyebrows! Never in a million years would I have thought to combine veges into brownies! Love the Paul quote btw! So funny!

  2. Wow, that's some post. Paul's 'toon and comment made ma LAUGH! So hard. Really. Anyway, A lot of work… and for what? i appreciate your time in doing this for sure. i've tried to sneak some other stuff into brownies (had a friend do the canabis thing… um, YEARS ago… and that was a lot of fun) but not spinach, and not carrots. Pureed. Wow. Very interesting. Maybe you can give them away at work. 🙂

  3. Once again Mr. Horn is VERY funny!! I too thank you for doing this and sharing your experience with us…because I know I won't be going out to buy this cookbook.I wonder, is there any mention of any loss of nutrient and vitamins after the veggies go through the various cooking processes?Time to visit Betty Crocker to make it up to Mr. Horn. (thanks for being the tester!)

  4. This recipe lost me at melted chocolate. I'm lazy. I can't steam/boil, puree, and melt chocolate. Sorry. And moms are supposed to be doing this? And, by the way, you're not supposed to tell the "kid" that there are veggies in them. Not so much Deceptive otherwise.

  5. Trans-fat is not about getting fat, it's about cholesterol and heart disease. It RAISES your bad cholesterol (LDL) and LOWERS your good cholesterol (HDL). A double whammy. For those of us who struggle to keep the right one up and the right one down, it's a very important ingredient to avoid.

  6. Loved your post and your blog – You're in the Google Reader!I've made a bunch of stuff from this cookbook – being pregnant the idea of food that's green is just gross so I've been fooling myself. I've made the oatmeal bars (you can read about that here: http://casscomerford.wordpress.com/2007/11/11/you-can-substitute-raspberry-for-blueberry/)and the chocolate chip cookies multiple times (you can read about the cookies here: http://casscomerford.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/your-bootiful/) I've learned something very important. You must really mash the crap out of your veg for it to be really "hidden".

  7. You should look at "The Sneaky Chef" instead of Seinfeld's knock-off book. The sneaky spinach puree also includes blueberries, has a longer cooking time and leaves no smell of taste in your brownines. I've been throwing in my normal reipe instead of oil for weeks now and no one can tell.

  8. My sister bought this book thinking she would try to "sneak" vegetables into my niece's dinner and desserts, so while I was nanny-ing for a few days at her house, I read it. It sort of made me sad to think that Moms actually have to do this — SNEAK vegetables into foods. It just seems to reinforce the idea to the kids that are vegetables aren't that good. I am not sure about the psychology behind it all, but it's sort of hard for me to believe that kids intrinsically hate vegetables. They probably pick up on it from parents who treat vegetables from the get-go as if the kids won't like them, you know? Am I just totally ignorant because I don't have kids?Anyway…I still love the story in this post 🙂

  9. poor and hungry children gulp down everything they get, while the pampered sit and sulk at the dining table. pureed vegetables are meant for babies without teeth. let the buck stop there. if children do not eat they will eat someday. everybody does.I did.the seinfeld cookbook is just another addition to the vast array of cookbooks.a brownie is not meant for lunch or dinner. it is a snack.if kids are not taught portion control, it means poor disciplining and lack of respect for foods of the earth. sneaking is lying. if the children does not know what they eat, they will always eat a brownie anytime, which is twisting the truth."so let a brownie, just remain a Brownie.."enjoy it. don't eat illusion

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