My second favorite episode of the TV show The Simpsons is Lisa the Vegetarian. In one especially funny scene, her classmates tease Lisa by asking her if she’s going to marry a carrot. She sighs and answers sarcastically, “Yes, I’m going to marry a carrot.” Her classmates miss the sarcasm and exclaim gleefully “Ohh! She admitted it!”
At my last office job, I was also teased for being a vegetarian. (I try to keep it low key, but you can’t hide being a vegetarian from your coworkers for long.) One day out of exasperation with being asked the same annoying question once again, I replied, “Yes, I’m going to marry a carrot when I grow up.”
That turned out to be the right thing to say! Half the office were big Simpsons fans, everyone laughed, and now I had an answer for all those hard-to-answer questions. “What do you eat at Thanksgiving?” “Carrots!” “How did you figure that problem out?” “Carrots!” “Are you going to work overtime this week?” “Carrots!”
If you make these brownies and someone asks you why they’re so awesome, you have your answer. Carrots! Carrots stand in for some of the oil, some of the sugar, and even the eggs. Because you puree them in the blender with water and oil, the carrots create an emulsion that gives these a rich, fudgy texture that I didn’t know was possible with a vegan brownie. I’m going to experiment with using carrots (and baking powder) in a boxed mix and see if it’s possible to make those deliciously without eggs. (If you substitute a commercial egg replacer in most boxed mixes and many scratch recipes, you end up with greasy bricks.) I also want to experiment with another scratch recipe or two and see if I can come up with a formula for using carrots and baking powder in place of eggs in any recipe.
All together now: “Carrots!”
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks, about 6 ounces
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, about 3 ounces
Preheat oven to 350. Oil an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt to a medium bowl and mix together with a fork.
Grind the unsweetened chocolate to a powder in the blender. Add the water, canola oil, and carrots. Puree until smooth. Stir into the dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Transfer to the baking pan and smooth out the top of the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the center is set. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before cutting into pieces.