Valentines Day isn't for a couple of weeks but already we can see little tastes of it here and there.
Taste is something special. Sure, smells can bring you back to a time that you thought you had forgotten, but taste demands your attention to the present
and can practically knock you breathless at times of extreme flavor.
Somehow taste can also echo the emotions of the person who is making the food,
hence the idea of putting a little love into your cooking.
Cooking for someone is just another way, in the infinite amount of options that we have, to tell someone that you truly love and appreciate them for who they are and what they do.
“There is no remedy for love but to love more” - Henry David Thoreau
There is also no recipe for love.
2 tablespoons of friendship mixed with 3 ½ cup of sweetness and a pinch of understanding baked at 350 degrees for 4 years will not guarantee a lifetime of spontaneous and romantic moments with the love of your life! We are all too different and too unique of individuals for there to be measurable and definite equation for love. That being said, let's turn to something that we can measure and will never fail to make your heart sing on Valentines Day, or any day for that matter.
This is a recipe that my dear friend and work colleague, Jamie Tracey, Vitamin manager and specialist at our Lassens location in Thousand Oaks, brought into work one day.
Jamie is one of the most talented and brave cooks that I've ever met. She's not afraid to combine two opposing ingredients to create taste explosions the likes of which I've never known!
I've never really liked beets. Customers would try to get me into them, telling me that the flavor was “earthy” and “strangely addictive” and although I could definitely see the earthiness, the addiction never quite hit me. One beautiful morning she presented me with a little reddish-brown square on a napkin. “I made brownies last night!” she smiled.
“Aww, thanks James” I replied as I brought the little square up to meet my eyes. My first thought was that these are the prettiest brownies I've ever seen, a deep rich brown with a scarlet hue. I thought maybe they were red velvet brownies, but as I took that first bite the truth was revealed. What met me in that moment was an attack of deep, complex and unfathomably rich and unique flavors . My first guess was not beets but rather magic. I looked into her eyes, my mouth wide open and flapping with words that I just couldn't manage myself to expel, as her face lit up - “They're beet brownies!” she beamed.
My forehead crinkled with confusion but my taste buds continued to sing.
Jamie strikes again! Like countless times before, I am forced to cross off beets from my “Foods that I will NEVER enjoy” list. Thanks to people like Jamie, this list is rapidly shrinking.
I've made some alterations to her recipe to make it a little more health conscious (Reducing the sugar and adding half xylitol and substituting the butter for Earth Balance natural vegan buttery spread), but the outcome is still savory, deep and beautiful..
These brownies are the new quintessential Valentines Day treat, encompassing all that we've come to know as Valentines Day! Chocolate, red, hearts and of course, what better way to say
“I love you” than giving your honey something truly healthy?
I give you …
“Love Beets All” Brownies
- 2 large organic beets, peeled and sliced or 1 14oz can of sliced beets, keep the juice to the side
- 4 Tbs of Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread or 1 stick of organic unsalted butter (try Organic Valley unsalted cultured butter)
- ½ cup of organic sugar (try Wholesome Sweeteners organic sugar)
- ½ cup of Xylitol (try XyloSweet natural xylitol)
- 1 tsp organic vanilla extract (try Simply Organics pure vanilla extract)
- 4 large eggs (Try Organic Valley organic cage free eggs or for a vegan option, try making chia gel by adding 1 Tb ground chia seed to 3 Tb of hot water = 1 egg)
- ½ cup of all-purpose flour (Try Arrowhead Mills organic all-purpose flour)
- HEAPING ½ cup unsweetened coco powder (try Dagoba organic coco powder)
- 1 - 2 tablespoons of strong black brewed coffee (try Ravens Brew organic whole bean coffee)
- ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (try SunSpire chocolate chips)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Puree the beets in a blender or food processor until they reach a smooth consistency.
If you're using fresh beets, add a little water as needed so that they can blend easier. If you are using canned beets, keep the liquid that they come in to the side and add a little as needed to the blender. Set the blended beets aside.
3. In a large bowl mix together the buttery Earth Balance, coffee, sugar, xylitol and vanilla. Add the eggs one by one stirring intermittently. Slowly mix the beet puree into the butter and sugar mixture (this part is pretty! It's so fun to watch the white swirl with the vivid red of the beets) and mix until fully combined.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, coco powder. Add coco mixture into the beet mixture and stir until smooth. Finally, stir in the chocolates chips.
5. Pour final concoction into a 9 x 9 baking dish OR into a festive heart-shaped cupcake holder like the one I used (will make 18 heart-shaped brownies) and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Brownies are ready when you can poke them with a toothpick and it comes out clean.
These brownies are really nice right out of the oven but they taste extra beety.
The flavor explosion really kicks in after they've cooled and sat for a couple hours.
For best results, bake them the night before and serve them room temperature the next day with a
light sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Test these out on your friends and loved ones and watch their jaw drop when you tell them that the secret ingredient is beets!
Keep a look out for more delicious and delightful recipes and tips for Valentines Day and don't forget to check out our Valentines Day display this starting February 1st throught the 14th at every Lassens location which will be loaded with goodies and gift ideas for your special someone.
Good friends make good food!
Left to Right:
Lassens Marketing Director Ashley,
Lassens Vitamin Manager Thousand Oaks Jamie
and Lassens Art Director Mykey (me!)
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!
Love, the Lassens team!