Valentines Day Beet Brownies

(Beet beet, beet beet). That's the sound of my heart today for three lovely reasons:
  1. It's Valentines Day! A heart beetin', chocolate eatin', flower covered holiday that you can choose to spend doing whatever you please to make yourself feel good and loved.
  2. I've got last minute tickets to see Angel Olson sing hauntingly beautiful songs about how to find love, feel it, fight it, and let it go tonight at The Wiltern! So fitting. 
  3. I made the most perfect batch of red velvet brownies using beets & kidney beans as a natural food color! They're soft, fudgey, and covered in a sweet cream cheese frosting so good that you'll completely forget that you're also getting your daily dose of protein.

I've made it through the first half of Valentines Day, which included waking up before sunrise to head to work and make coffee for everyone in Silverlake who raided the flower shop next-door to where I work. (I'm convinced that the entire neighborhood stopped by there this morning). There was a line nearing the sidewalk before 8am and my tired mind had trouble keeping count of all the mochas we were making. Although, I did notice one difference between a long line on a busy, touristy Saturday and a long line on Valentines Day: everyone was so happy today.

"Excuse me sir," I said to the lad who had been standing there waiting for his second coffee for 10 minutes, "I'm so sorry, we seemed to have dropped (a nice way of saying, we forgot about you and your drink) your coffee, but we're making it for you now." He had a gorgeous bouquet of exotic looking flowers in one hand and the other hot beverage we didn't forget about in the other. It was losing heat by the second. He waited in a long line to order an expensive pour-over coffee, and had a drink nearing room temperature in his hand, and he's the happiest fella on the block when he tells me I need not to worry one bit.

Alongside the most patient customer of the day are happy couples (drinking mochas *eyeroll*), girls on dates with their dogs, a dad helping his kids write last minute valentines before school starts, and our regular, "Mocha Dave" who rolled up his $10 bill like a flower before he handed it to me.

Valentines Day, everybody.

Ah, here are some love beets just for you:

These brownies are an adaptation of my black bean brownies from wayyy back in day when black bean brownies were still a strange concept. In a world of increasing levels of health-nuts, black bean brownies have become a bit more widely accepted than they used to be. I now have plenty of friends who smile and nod when I mention making a batch of brownies with black beans. However, I'm curious, can I keep the nods coming when I swap out black beans for kidney beans in an effort to make red velvet brownies?

A batch of kidney bean & beet brownies walked into a bar.
They said, 
Please, give me a chance. I'll be the best healthy red velvet brownie you've ever tasted. 
I'll make your heat skip..... a beet. 

Red Velvet Beet n' Bean Brownies (Vegan Optional)
Yield: about 12 brownies

For the brownies:
- 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water)
- 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed
- 3/4 cup spelt flour*
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup beet puree (from about 2 cooked beets)
- 3/4 cup chopped chocolate

For the cream cheese frosting:
- 1 (8oz.) package cream cheese (use Daiya to make vegan)
- 3 tablespoons butter (use Earth Balance to make vegan)
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- acai powder or crushed freeze dried berries for topping

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a 13" x 9" baking pan with parchment paper. 
  2. Make the flax eggs by whisking ground flax with water. Set aside and let gelatinize for 8-10 minutes. 
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, combine kidney beans, spelt flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, coconut oil, white vinegar, vanilla extract, beet puree, and the flax egg. Process for about 3-5 minutes or until smooth. Then, stir in chopped chocolate. 
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the brownies start to crack on top. Then, remove from oven and let cool completely. 
  5. Once cooled, make the cream cheese frosting by creaming the cream cheese and butter on high speed using an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  6. Remove the brownies from the pan and spread cream cheese frosting over the top. Sprinkle some acai powder or crushed freeze dried berries on top of the frosting. Then, slice and enjoy!

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© A Little Baker
Maira Gall