In early June I attended the BlogHer Food Conference in Austin. I had a blast! I mingled with some interesting, creative, and friendly bloggers from all over the country, sampled some yummy food from the sponsors, brought home bags full of goodies from the sponsors and BlogHer team, and had assorted conversations about blogging, food, bees and so much more.
I was fortunate enough to have been chosen as a “volunteer” for the conference. I remember the day I found out I’d been chosen. I was jumping all around in my kitchen and whooping it up. Miss T was curiously aware of my excitement. I explained to her that I was sure hundreds of bloggers had applied to volunteer and couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to be chosen. When I learned of my assignments as “mic wrangler” and “live blogger” I was even more excited. As “mic wrangler” I knew I’d have the pleasure of listening in on the seminars as well as running around the room passing the mic out to those who had questions or comments. I really lucked out on my “live blogger” assignment as I was appointed to the closing keynote. In the final gathering of the conference a group of bloggers read excerpts from an e-book anthology named “Roots – Where food comes from & where it takes us”. You’ll find a link here. It is a touching collection of stories by over 40 authors from our culinary blogosphere. Well worth the read for any food lover.
My favorite sponsor at the conference was Wholesome Sweeteners. You may be familiar with their organic blue agave sweeteners. They also produce organic, non-GMO Verified and sustainably produced stevia, sugar, and syrup as well as; here’s what interested me; organic honey. Fairtrade certified, their hives are at the base of a volcano in Mexico. So far off the beaten path that they can be certified “organic”. I spent a great deal of time visiting with the girls at the Wholesome Sweeteners booth. They were a bit intrigued with my bee keeping hobby as I was with their keeping of bees and production of organic honey. They provided me with brochures and info on their products as well as some awesome samples of their organic sugar, stevia, and guess what? Honey! They also gave me a little stuffed honey bee who wears a shirt that says “Bee Happy”. She sits at my desk now and reminds me of the fun I had. “Thanks!”, Wholesome Sweetener Girls.
A recipe card included in the stuff they sent home with me is where I found this recipe for brownies. The recipe is by Monica Pope, owner and executive chef at Sparrow Bar & Cookshop in Houston,Texas. I changed her recipe up a bit by using red raspberry jam instead of the called for black raspberry jam. By doing this I didn’t need to run to the store before baking these as I had red on hand. I was fired up to try out some of their products. This recipe uses the organic sugar. I loved the idea of sneaking in the beets and adding a healthy benefit, undetected by Miss T, or anyone else lucky enough to have had one. They are moist and yummy. Combining chocolate and raspberries is always a winner in my book. Go ahead, bake them up and sneak some healthy veggies into your next dessert.
Red Raspberry Beet Brownies
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 stick organic butter – room temperature
4 small beets, cooked, peeled, pureed
3/4 cup red-raspberry jam
2 large cage free organic eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (I like Mexican)
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
Preheat oven to 350*F. Place the chocolate and the butter in a saucepan and heat to melt. Add the beets and 1/4 cup of jam. Whisk until smooth and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine eggs and salt and beat the mixture until foamy. Add the sugar and vanilla whisking until fully incorporated. Add the chocolate and beet mixture and slowly mix in the flour. Continue whisking until blended into a batter. Pour the batter into a 9×13 baking pan. Gently melt the remaining jam without boiling and drizzle over the top of the batter. Swirl with a knife into the batter. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean.
Makes 18 2″ brownies