Vegan Adventures

I’m constantly trying to justify my sweet tooth by finding recipes and baked goods that provide some healthy attribute, or aren’t completely sinful.  Though vegan recipes are not completely guilt free, they often offer nutritional benefits, and remove some level of guilt.

I found this below recipe when I was surfing through a few blogs online.  It intrigued me because it included some of my favorite ingredients: oats, peanut butter, and bananas.  What could go wrong?

At the end of the day I think these cookies are good snacks but I would not put them in the category of a crave-able treat.  They are not super sweet, and though the PB and banana add to the taste, they aren’t particularly exciting.  I think these would be best enjoyed as an energy booster when you would otherwise grab a granola bar.  And in the future I would also consider adding some mix ins like chocolate chips (obvi not vegan), nuts, or dried fruit.

Vegan Banana Maple Cookies

Adapted from Pumps and Iron

Yields about 20

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole grain rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  •  ¼ cup brown sugar (I added this because the batter was not sweet at all)
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ cup apple sauce
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp water

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls (brown sugar is a wet).
  3. Combine both mixtures.

    I resorted to a pastry cutter to mash it all together
  4. Spoon onto cookie sheets and bake 8-13 minutes.  The dough will not change shape much, so make sure they are the desired shape when they go into the oven.

Too Good To Be True?

Yes it is too good to be true.  I should have known.

I saw a ringing endorsement for this recipe on Peas and Thank You, a blog that I love.  It was for vegan brownies with black beans in them.  The claim was that you wouldn’t even realize that there were black beans in the brownies.  I, of course, ignored Mama Pea’s advice on altering the recipe by adding several ingredients including chocolate chips.  I should have listened to her, she is wise.  Instead I foolishly went forward with the original recipe.

This was not an easy process for me.  I gathered the ingredients, some more unique than others.  And hauled out my mother’s food processor since I was at her house (I don’t have a food processor).  I failed to remember, however, that my mother’s food processor is from a time in history long before I was born.  Getting it off the shelf in the pantry and bringing it to the counter was a workout in itself.

A moment for the Cuisinart

Remember that scene in Zoolander when the two male models are trying to figure out how to get the files from the computer and they basically turn into primates dancing around the computer and hitting it?  That’s what I was reminded of as I was trying to work this Cuisinart.  After the initial struggle, I managed to get the ingredients blended together in a uniform fashion and poured the batter into the baking pan.

Even though I went into this with optimistic ideas about the recipe, this step was a red flag for me because as I swiped a sample of the batter, I doubted the magic of the oven would make significant improvements.  But I gave it a go to see if the oven could prove me wrong.

It didn’t.  I won’t say that the brownies were bad, but they weren’t good.  They did not taste like brownies, you could certainly detect the black beans, and they weren’t sweet at all.  That was partially my fault because I did not add the optional sugar, but I was going on good faith that I didn’t need it.

My main issue with the recipe was that if I’m indulging in a brownie, I would like it to taste indulgent.  I am not interested in consuming frivolous calories that are not spectacular tasting, unless they have specific health benefits.  I feel like these don’t serve either purpose, so these brownies were a miss for me.  Try the recipe, and form your own opinion.  I’m thinking Mama Pea’s version might be a good variation to try out in the future.

Low Fat Vegan Black Bean Brownies

From Happy Herbivore

Yields on 8×8 square pan

Ingredients

  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 whole bananas
  • ⅓ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup raw sugar (optional) (recommended, especially if your bananas aren’t brown)
  • ¼ cup instant oats

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350, and prepare 8×8 square pan.
  2. Buzz together all ingredients in food processor, except for the oats.
  3. Fold in the oats.  Pour batter into pan.

    lick the spoon at your own risk…
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Have you ever tried a “healthy” recipe with the best intentions, only to be let down?