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Would a brownie by another name be as sweet?
So, I finally made the black bean brownies I blogged about the other week. The story is that I found a recipe for black bean-based fudge and when Tweeting about that, found out that there's this underground community of people who enjoy and make brownies with black beans. From there, a friend Tweeted this recipe.
Of course, as I am a food writer, the call of black bean brownies was too great. I figured I had to make them — and then use the folks here at Lawrence.com and the Lawrence Journal-World as guinea pigs. Because journalists will eat ANYTHING, right? We're like the vacuum cleaners of the professional world (me included, to be sure). Every paper I'm ever worked at has had its "trough" — a table where sweets and salty snacks live. I'm aware that many companies have their own troughs, but because of the long hours, deadlines and crazy schedules of journalists, I must say ours are very highly regarded.
So, I thought, I'll make the brownies, put them on the trough table and let the News Center masses at them. Then blog about it, because, you know, I report things.
There were a few kinks in my plan, however.
First was the timing. I decided to bring the brownies in on the day of our company-wide holiday feast. Everyone lines up to get turkey with all the trimmings and we sit and enjoy a big lunch together. It's a great tradition, and one I'm very thankful for, but also one for which I totally didn't plan. Whoops.
Secondly was that I TOLD everyone there were black beans in the brownies. I told them for two reasons:
- I'm not about to lie because I value honesty as a journalist.
- These people are very smart and read my blog and probably would've been pretty suspicious if I brought in "normal" brownies less than a week after blogging about brownies based upon black beans.
So, instead of playing coy, I just brought them in, kept them in the fridge (as per the directions) and pulled them out after everyone was stuffed on turkey and sides. Before they even exited the fridge, my cubicle neighbor, Shaun Hittle, had already put the brownies up on his jokey "LJW NewsCenter Trending Topics" white board.
I think they should've been higher, for all the anxiety about them. They sat unbidden in the trough for about an hour until Lawrence.com editor Trevan McGee, online editor Alex Parker and KUSports producer extraordinaire Nick Nelson decided they'd be brave enough to try them.
And you know what? They didn't die after the first swallow. In fact, they all said the flavor was good, if the texture was a bit too soft.
To sweeten the deal, I had brought in copious amounts of spritz cookies, and Trevan's brownie was so soft that he decided to use it as the cream center of a spritz sandwich, shown below.
Look, I even have proof that he ate it. (Though, the guy once ate a "ghost Chili" in front of a camera, so he's pretty brave.)
Throughout the afternoon, the comments came in from other News Center members.
Cops reporter George Diepenbrock was pretty complementary: “I thought they tasted like a normal brownie, although not as sweet. They also felt more moist than a normal brownie, but I'm not sure if that had anything to do with the beans or not. The one I had fell apart easily. Overall, I did like them and would eat them again.”
And assistant community editor Kim Callahan also thought they were pretty tasty, “Great flavor in the brownies. Couldn't detect the beans. Texture is a bit gooey, but they're really good.”
But KU reporter Andy Hyland wasn't so sure. He ate one after lots of (annoying) nudging from me and basically said, "If you had called them something else, I would've eaten another one."
I guess I could have accurately called them "Flourless Fudgy Chocolate Brownies," and they probably would've been flying out of the trough as fast as the spritz cookies...
That said, judging by the near empty* plate I found this morning, I think they did OK.
*There are four brownies left under the plastic wrap.