Thanks Trina Kaye for sharing this press release.
The countries around the Mediterranean produce an abundance of fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables that has been the basis for healthy eating for centuries. Chef Joumana Accad specializes in bringing Mediterranean food to American tables. Through her popular food blog, http://www.TasteofBeirut.com, she has shown thousands of home cooks how healthy and delicious the cuisine of her native Lebanon is.
“Lebanon is a beautiful Mediterranean country with very few natural resources. As a child, learning to cook from my grandmother, I grew to appreciate and take full advantage of what nature provided,” Joumana explains. “I have modernized some traditional Lebanese recipes that take advantage of summertime ingredients.”
World’s Healthiest Brownie
(Copyright Joumana Accad)
Makes 12 servings
Tahini is the “fat” of choice in the Lebanese kitchen and is used daily; it is mixed with fresh lemon juice and (or) Seville orange juice, spiked with garlic and slathered on falafel, kafta trays and shawarma sandwiches; made into a rich sauce with kibbeh balls, baked with fish or served with boiled vegetables.
In the pastry kitchen, however, tahini is only used sparingly; I wanted to use it in an iconic American cake: The brownie. Here, tahini replaces butter; and a most traditional Eastern mediterranean food, grape molasses, replaces white refined sugar. Grape molasses was the sweetener of choice in Lebanon before the widespread distribution and availability of sugar. It is made in the rural areas today in the communal village press, where it is extracted from the sweetest grapes; the juice from these grapes is filtered and boiled and the resulting thick and sweet molasses is fragrant and filled with all the concentrated nutrients of the grape. Grape molasses or debess al-enab is used in hundreds of rural recipes, from puddings, to dry cookies, to porridges made with bulgur or chick peas.
Even though there is a dramatic difference in taste and quality between one’s family production of grape molasses made in the villages and the commercial kind available in stores or online, it is still worth using in lieu of white refined sugar which has been proven to be toxic for the body.
In this version of brownie, tahini provides Omega 3 and 6, calcium, vitamin Bs, fiber and many other nutrients; fresh orange juice is loaded with antioxidants, potassium and vitamins. The grape molasses is full of minerals, such as calcium, potassium and iron, as well as vitamins and antioxidants. As for the dark chocolate and the whole wheat pastry flour they supply nutrients and protein.
This brownie has a soft and velvety crumb, a deep chocolate flavor with undercurrents of a dark nutty caramel.
• 60% chocolate chips (125 g.), melted in the microwave for one minute
• Tahini (light-colored, 150 g.), stir the jar first and pour
• Whole-wheat pastry flour (150 g.)
• 2 teaspoons of baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon of salt
• Grape molasses (or date or carob molasses) (150 g.)
• Freshly-squeezed orange juice (150 g.)
• 2 Tablespoons of orange rind (20 g.)
One-bowl method, no need for a mixer.
1. Assemble all the ingredients. In a bowl, transfer the tahini, add the orange juice and orange rind, melted chocolate and the grape molasses and stir.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Transfer into the brownie bowl through a sifter. Stir until the flour mixture is no longer visible. Transfer the brownie batter into a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 23 minutes. Check by inserting a toothpick into the cake; if dry or almost dry, it is done and the cake will be cakey; if you like it fudgy, check after 20 minutes and see how wet the batter is; it should be thick but moist. Cool a few minutes and serve.
This brownie can be served with a Lebanese caramel topping, which consists of mixing 1/2 cup of tahini with 1/4 cup of grape molasses.
NOTE: The grape molasses can be substituted for carob or date molasses or raw brown cane sugar.
To create other traditional Lebanese dishes using fresh, locally grown foods visit http://www.TasteofBeirut.com.