Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Black Bean Brownies with Agave (Hypoglycemic and diabetic friendly, gluten free, flour free, vegetarian recipe)

Many years ago I used to love to bake (my sister used to call me cookie master!). But when I discovered I was hypoglycemic I stopped eating sweets and stopped baking for a very long time (usually the only sweet thing I will eat is fruit, with lots of protein, but no real desserts). Nowadays, every once in a while (maybe once every couple months) I will get a craving and actually bake or make a dessert. When making desserts, I use sweetener alternatives that don't make me react that much, such as agave. Too much still makes me feel ill, so when baking or making sweets I still have to watch the amount of alternative sweeteners, and make sure the dessert is protein rich. I also try to limit my other carbs too, and really watch the serving size (wish I could eat larger servings, since I love sweets and I need to gain weight, but since I get sick if I eat too much, I need to limit myself strictly to one small serving). So it can be difficult finding recipes that I can eat or that I can easily convert. A lot of the time I look at vegan, gluten-free, and sometimes raw websites since often these recipes are made with ingredients I can eat, or I only have to alter the recipes a little.

One of my favorite recipes is a black bean brownie recipe from 'Baking with agave' by Ania Catalano. The recipe is posted on the 101 cookbooks website. This recipe is not only delicious, but it is made with agave, a single serving does not make me react (I like to drink organic soy or cow milk with the brownie, for extra protein and since the combo of milk and brownies is yummy!), and I didn't need to change the recipe at all. Catalano has hypoglycemia so she uses agave and alternative sweeteners, and also does not use white/refined wheat flour in her recipes. I have seen other so called 'hypoglycemic' recipes that don't use white sugar but that use refined/white wheat flour, so it is nice that she really knows how to bake for this condition, since she has it herself too! Her recipe is also gluten free and grain/flour free (basically the ground nuts serve as the flour). Now some of her other recipes still have a touch too much agave for me (different people have different reactions to sweeteners so some people may be able to tolerate much higher amounts of agave than I, and others may not be able to tolerate it at all). I highly recommend getting her cookbook too.

For agave brands, I basically just get whatever organic agave brand is onsale or least expensive at whole foods or another natural foods store (I have tried a few different brands and they are all pretty good). There are two versions of agave: light/regular and dark. The light version is sweet and heavenly, while the dark version is a bit richer in taste and tastes a little like maple syrup (not exactly like it but it reminds me of it). Agave is technically sweeter than white sugar, so when using it in recipes, you need to use less than the amount of other sweeteners. But Agave is mostly fructose and low glycemic.

No comments: