Hidden Veggies! [Daring Bakers]

This month’s challenge was fun, and it allowed me to make and try some of the baked goodies that Jessica Seinfeld (and the woman who sued her for plagiarism) touted in her cookbook. I personally think pastries with hidden vegetables are only marginally healthier than those without, but the inclusion of beans, spinach, and other protein-, fiber-, and vitamin-rich foods can’t hurt. But would they defeat the point of indulging in brownies and muffins in the first place?

Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!

I made two recipes: black-bean brownies, and spinach-banana muffins. The first is a slight alteration of Ruth’s recipe (I used black beans instead of kidney beans, and added some decaf Starbucks Via) and I followed the spinach-banana muffins recipe to the letter.

The verdict?

First, both were incredibly moist and resistant to drying out. I baked them on a Saturday afternoon and left them uncovered outside, and by Sunday night both were still moist.

Second, I wasn’t personally too impressed with the flavor or texture of the brownies, which were more fudge-like than cake-like and lacked any of the crisp/crunch texture of regular brownies. I felt they could have used more sugar and cocoa. However, one of my dining companions liked the flavor and sweetness. Neither of us could detect any bean flavor.

Third, the muffins were great. But spinach has a natural sweetness to it, and, when blended, doesn’t have any of the bitterness or fibrousness associated with whole spinach. And the gorgeous green color was perfect for St Patrick’s Day, when we ate them!

I would have liked to experiment a bit more, but this month is pretty busy and I was glad to have completed the challenge at all.

Photos after the jump. (more…)