Quinoa (sounds like Keen-wa) is a seed that comes from the Quinoa plant that is native to South America. It's considered a pseudograin as it is not part of the grass family (I didn't know that was a rule. . . But anyway) and has been a staple food since the time of the Inca's. Today it's become one of those trendy foods that claim to be so much better than the type that can be found at any grocery store (think: Acai berries, agave).
And what is a rice-like pseudograin doing in my chocolat-ey treat you ask? Well, I found a neat recipe that was just begging for me to try it of course. And I'm glad I did because my rice brownies taste like the usual flour variety but are much much better for you. Quinoa is one of few plant foods that are a complete protein, which means that they have all the essential amino acids that us inept humans can't make ourselves. Plus they are gluten-free, so you can mix and mix and mix the batter all you want and not have to worry about the bad things that happen to baked goods when flour is over-mixed.
|This is what cooked quinoa looks like|
I hear that brownies come in three varieties: cakey, chewy and fudgy. I would say that the chewy type would be my favorite so these turned out a little too cakey for my liking. They were also incredibly moist, maybe even too moist so I would consider reducing the milk a bit for a 'drier' brownie. I adapted the recipe from the website of my local grocery store and added in some instant coffee and chocolate chips for an extra decadent treat (had to balance out the healthi-ness of the quinoa, these are still brownies, after all)
Yield: 16 squares / 9" pan
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (or cooked equivalent if you're using leftovers from dinner)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup milk (reduce if you wish)
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee
- 2 tablespoons oil (I used corn)
- 3/4 cup sugar (maybe more if you have a sweet tooth)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cocoa (I used dutch processed)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 chocolate chips
- Cook quinoa in a small pan or rice cooker with 1-1/4 cup water (If you've never cooked quinoa before, read this), fluff with fork and allow to cool
- Preset oven to 350F, line and grease a square 9" pan with foil (see note below)
- Dissolve instant coffee in milk
- In a separate bowl, mix sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt
- In a food processor (I use a magic bullet), blend cooked quinoa, milk, oil and eggs until smooth
- Pour contents into dry mixture, mix and pour into pan.
- Sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake for 30-35 minutes
- Allow to cool (if you can) and slice into 16 squares
94 calories |11.2g sugar |3.8g fat
Here is a trick I learned somewhere along the blog-reading path. To line a square pan with foil eaily, flip it over and cover the outside of the pan. Then simply remove the foil and place it inside the pan. Voila.