Or, Poppy Bean Blondies for short. What’s to celebrate? We jazzed onto the UNISA website yesterday morning and Man-thing has passed all his teaching exams with distinction, including his practicals. This means that once we get the paperwork and fill in some forms, he’ll be registered as a teacher! w00t! Well, hurrah for him, since the idea of teaching younglings makes my soul gag after dealing with the extremes of primary school kids and university students, but he seems to enjoy it and now he’ll be qualified to do whatever he wants. 🙂 So, as fair warning, this recipe isn’t as healthy as my usual ones, but that’s only because of the addition of the cream for the condensed milk, really, and only later did I read that one could use normal milk and just double the cooking time, but since this is not for me but for Man-thing, extravagant living isn’t such an issue. :p
My personal big news, however, is my new camera equipment!!! My FIL came over this morning to rescue our ice-cream maker paddle and to check out my wonky camera, which used to be his. Turns out the wheel is broken, which is why it was constantly stuck on bulb or whatever. We went to the camera shop to see if it could get fixed, but with the time delay it would take to get it fixed we got a bit antsy and wandered over to a bigger retailer. I wasn’t at all fishing, since I was prepared to buy a second-hand body duplicate of my Rebel 400D, but my FIL pulled faces and then bought me a brand new camera, just like that! I’m guessing after looking over my blog he at least figures I use it every day and will make epic use of it, which I will! To top it all off, the camera came with a 18-135mm lens, as well as a 50mm that we bought from a guy second-hand right there in the store as he was trying to sell it to the store! MINE MINE MINE! WHEE WHEE WHEE! *skip* This is going to hopefully pimp up my food photography tenfold! I can’t wait to try it all out…now just impatiently waiting for the battery to fatten up with electricity.
Anyway, these are material possessions that are awesome and kick-ass, but just are illustrative of how fundamentally lucky I am to have such a beautiful and generous family (because they are more than “in-laws”, they are my parents and sister and all that!). From our straggled beginnings, my dad and I, to each having our full families all submerged in unconditional love…what blessings! ❤
Back to food, at some point a year or two ago I made some rather fail brownies with condensed milk (in my vegetarian days) but it was rather hectic with Smarties and biscuits melted with butter and all sorts of sweet slosh. In the end it was too gooey for a brownie so Man-thing ate it religiously as a kind of McFluffy squash of random sugary treats with ice-cream. He’s been meowling at me to make that again, but I have thus far refused, because urgh. However, now that holidays have settled in I find my lack of sweet tooth has now been transformed into a ravenous SUGAR MUST HAVE attitude that leaves me catatonic at the end of the evening after scarfing down as many snacks as I can. With the idea that if I make something and give it away I can sate that portion of sweetness that is slowly drowning my soul, I decided to use this opportunity of celebration to make a different version of one of Man-thing’s fondest food memories – a 2-layered, exquisitely decadent treat!
For the blondie/base recipe I used this one from Ambitious Kitchen, since I have a ton of almond butter that needs getting gone (so I can get MOAR!!!).
1) Chickpea/Cannellini bean blondie base
- I only used a little less than 1/4 cup agave, since the condensed milk is sweet enough as a topper.
- I left out the chocolate chips and added maybe 6 or 7 bits of cranberries instead, just to have something surprising to munch on.
- I added 1 TBSP carob powder and 1 TBSP cocoa powder, not heaped, just to get a browner chocolate base (oh wait…then it’s not a blondie anymore…moving along!)
- I also used a can of cannellini beans, since we’re out of chickpea in our cupboard, but that’s the same difference, surely…I know chickpeas are more “floury” but for a creamy consistency I think it works fine.
- I used half normal smooth salt and sugar free peanut butter and the other half raw almond butter (try as I might I couldn’t bring myself to use an entire half cup of my precious almond butter).
2) nutty condensed milk top layer
I’ve been trolling the web for vegan condensed milk recipes for about a year now, and I finally whipped out the best today for this – it’s from Keely over at Gormandize and wow. Much like yesterday’s custard sensation, I spent a little too much time and tongue “tasting” that quite a lot was gone by the end of the process, but happily the recipe does say most of it cooks away, so I’ll also use that in my line of evidence if it comes to explaining why I’m slowly morphing into stretchy yoga pants for the best part of the holiday. Anyway, the original recipe out of a cheapo kiddies party book (for the sugar-drenched brownie now, mind) calls for a 300ml can of c.milk and 1/2 a cup of coconut. I decided to be different.
- I don’t do coconut cream, since I’m allergic, so I used a single 250ml box of Alpro soy cream (the recipe I wanted it for didn’t need so much).
- I also used a smidge less than 1/4 cup agave syrup, and that was sweet enough (oh mah goodness, it is delish!)
- To replace the 1/2 cup coconut I used 1/4 cup milled poppy seeds (so they’re a bit of a flour) and 1/4 cup almond flour. I adore poppy seeds and the softness that almond flour brings, so I was happy to sacrifice a clean “blondie” topping for those black sprinkles of happiness.
I got rather bored and distracted so I only cooked the condensed milk for half an hour, but it thickened up considerably, and the recipe I wanted it for didn’t require it to be too thick. I waited for it to cool and then added in the two nut flours. I also thinned it out at the end with 3 TBSP soy milk and 1 TBSP lemon juice.
3) I layered the modified bean blondie layer at the bottom of my square pan and dunked my spatula in some water periodically to make the smushing around a bit easier (peanut butter is a bit of a poncy nose-in-the-air streetwalker when it comes to obeying my will). I then dunked the thinnish layer of the nutty condensed milk over that and plonked it in a preheated oven (180C or 350F) for 25 minutes. One can go up to 30 minutes as long as you know it won’t burn. I prefer mine squishy and fudgy, plus my topping had turned a darkish brown (as it should). When I cut it in half after 20 minutes plus cooling I saw it could do with that extra 5 – 10 minutes, but 5 minutes in the burner was enough – once they set in the fridge after cooling I expected nothing less than glamorous fudge delight. Either way, do not expect the knife to come out clean – this is normal (I think ;p)! When condensed milk becomes involved, there is bound to be some mess, but it is heavenly, fudgy and glorious goo, and gives you more excuse to offer to cut the pieces if you share an abode or are making this with others.
This recipe was an immense amount of fun to make (and eat! *innocent face*) – I love combining recipes and trying to veganize old flame, as it were, that have not quite dimmed in my imagination. Alas there are no vegan Smarties to throw in for Man-thing, but this recipe is sweet enough! Not I-need-to-go-lie-down sweet but 1/16 of the recipe is a very decent portion to get all that flavour and richness into your gullet when you’re feeling something needs celebrating, which needs to be often, methinks!
Man-thing claims that it is like pudding in brownie form – along the lines of malva pudding – soft and squishy! This is definitely a recipe that, once made, needs to cool its heels in the fridge until the last moment. Or you can just leave your face in the fridge and eat from there directly. 😉
ION, I’ve got my iPod charged and my upbeat tracks ready to go – I’ve decided that since I’m not working my levels of sloth have increased ten-fold, so I need to take some action-paced morning walks by myself and then some brisk walks with Man-thing in the afternoons, weather allowing. I used to jog by myself quite a lot when we first met, being at a phase of my life when I had discovered my legs could magically move faster than before, and I’m keen to at least get back to the calm that these solitary power walks/jogs brought to my life.