On Saturday, I went with my friend Shelley to try out this meetup group in the city. This group was going to do a photography walk through Central Park to capture the fall foliage. I’ve never done a meetup before, so I figured, why not.
The walk started at the Grand Army Plaza on the Southeast corner of the park (59th & 5th). It was a large group of people, some knew each other from previous meetings, and others, like us, were new. But it seemed everyone kind of kept to themselves for the most part. While it was nice to have a guided walk through the park, there is a reason why I don’t like group photography tours. Too many people going for the same shot. My back was bothering me so, I definitely didn’t see the need to join everyone in jockeying for the shot. Didn’t matter anyway, the park was so crowded, and the weather was really overcast and the colors from the trees were incredibly dull. I felt like I could do better back at home with a romp around Rockefeller.
So, the next day I went for a run. Sunday is my run day. Regardless of whether or not I ran at all during the week, I always try to get at least 6 miles in on Sunday. I have my usual loop through the Rockefeller Preserve which presents the many faces of what you find in that area. From the busier wider lanes to the farm area, the lake, and the more remote. Too bad I can’t run with my good camera.
With the fall foliage in full bloom, and the remnants of the damage done by the monster storm in full display, the colors were still muted, but at least the experience was much more enjoyable. When it’s just you, the dog and the occasional cow, not only are you visually enjoying the beautiful fall day, but physically basking in the quiet calmness also. And that is one of the reasons I do enjoy living here in the ‘burbs.
After a good run, I decided I was in the mood for a brownie. But I don’t think a regular brownie was a good idea.
I can’t tell if the 10 pounds I gained over the summer were from muscle gain from crossfit and marathon training or weight gain from eating like I had the metabolism of a woman 10 years younger than me. It is probably a combination of both, but still, I had to start making some changes if I was going to indulge.
Black bean brownies have popped up recently, and I’ve always meant to try it. After an exhaustive search, I finally found a recipe I could live with. It was for a black bean brownie, which happens to be gluten free (which continues my gluten free brownie experimentation) without any weird ingredients that cannot normally be found in a regular pantry and can be vegan, depending on the type of chocolate chips and sweetener you use.
Black Bean Brownie
The recipe is from a blog called Chocolate-covered Katie. She also has nutrition facts!
Now, instead of retyping her recipe, which I basically followed more or less, here are some notes from the two times I attempted this:
I don’t have quick cook oats, so what I do is just use regular rolled oats and pulse them in the food processor first about 5 times to get it a bit more broken up.
Instead of the half cup of maple syrup, I cut it down by an 1/8 cup so, about a 1/3 cup and then some…eyeball it). I found that using the full half cup gives it too much of a syrupy sweetness on top of the chocolate.
I added 1 tsp of ground cinnamon, because cinnamon and chocolate are bro’s.
The recipe says 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, but the weight listed of 10g is 1 tablespoon’s worth. Use the full 2 tablespoons.
I sprinkled cinnamon chips on top of the brownies. I think walnuts would be a wonderful addition too. Toasted would be even better!
Use an 8×8 pan. The first time I did it, I used my 9″ pan and the brownies came out super thin. Using an 8″ square pan makes it more brownie like in thickness.
My second batch took a total of 25 minutes. Different oven, different times. Just start checking after 15 minutes.
You can butter and flour, but you cannot cooking spray and flour. I did not know that, and now I do.
They are quite soft straight out of the oven, and definitely need time to cool and set up before cutting into them a devouring them. The cooler they are, the better. Seriously…let them cool all the way, otherwise it’s just a big old mess!
So the results?
A very fudgey brownie that definitely did its job in satisfying that brownie craving I’ve been having. It is probably much easier to rationalize eating a few large pieces in one sitting now. The black beans didn’t alter the flavor of it at all. If you didn’t say anything, most likely no one would even know there were beans. However, texture wise, it is not like a usual brownie. It’s not objectionable, just different, and if you knew there were beans in it, then you understand the texture difference.
While pretty decent, I still prefer my brownie less fudgey and more cakey…so the search continues.