I recently came across the Deceptively Delicious cook book by Jessica Seinfeld. In her book she provides many classic recipes with the addition of pureed vegetables in the ingredients. The idea is that these “improved” recipes are a great way to sneak an extra serving or two of vegetables into a meal for picky eaters.
I love the idea but I have to admit I had my doubts. Can you really add a 1/2 cup of pureed spinach and a 1/2 cup of squash to brownies and not taste it? I needed to make two batches of brownies for an event, so I decided to find out and use others as my unknowing test panel.
I used Seinfeld’s recipe and a classic, Betty Crocker brownie recipe for the test.
The main difference between the recipes, besides the addition of the vegetables, is that one fills a 9×13 pan and the other just a 8×8 pan.
There was a noticeable difference in appearance between the baked brownies. The veggie brownies were much more cake-like and moist. The BC brownies were dense and crumbly.
At the event I watched to see if anybody tasted the veggie brownies and made gross faces. I also kept an eye on both trays to see how they disappeared. By the end of the event I had not noticed any grimaces or gags and both trays were completely empty! I did notice that the BC brownies seem to go slightly faster than the veggie brownies.
My personal taste tests (with my sister, husband, and I) revealed that when tasted side-by-side you could tell a difference in taste between the two brownies. The BC brownies are much richer and proper brownie tasting. However if served alone I think the veggie brownies would go undetected and really do taste just fine. I would suggest serving them with a berry sauce or perhaps adding a little bit of mint extract to the batter before cooking to further disguise the slight vitamin taste.
So my conclusion: I don’t know that I’m completely converted to putting veggies in my recipes, but I am certainly willing to try more of Seinfeld’s recipes. I think I may even try to sneak some veggies into an almost two-year-old’s birthday cake! 🙂