Substitution Fudge


The Cleveland Food Co-Op, the whole foods store before Whole Foods, closed about five weeks ago.  I had seen signs of ailing for a few months: from email newsletters to signs for 50% off everything.  I happened to stop by on the last, unadvertised day of business.  The darkened warehouse had shrunk to about 30% of its normal size and most of the merchandise had been scavenged.  The remaining customers and one long-time volunteer hobbled up and down the remaining wholesale aisle like hospice patients.  I didn’t need anything, but I bought two cups of dried red beans and left for the last time.

The Co-Op represents the first time I bought my own spices, the first time I ever tried cooking tofu and making yogurt.  I learned about steel cut oats and spelt flour and wheatgrass shots (which are disgusting, by the way).  I tried making vegan things for my Jain roommate.  To me, the Co-Op wasn’t a hippie health food store — it was a gateway for experiments in food.  After my mom and Alton Brown, it may be the biggest influence on my cooking today.
Can’t fight change  — the Co-Op had become really expensive, and they couldn’t carry the necessities along with the novelties.  But after its demise, shopping anywhere else seems less like groceries and more like a fashion statement.

Ingredients (adapted from 101cookbooks)

So this is called Substitution Fudge because there are replacements in what was already a unique brownie recipe rewritten in 101cookbooks.  I used red beans (the original recipe has black beans replacing flour), and replaced the butter with applesauce and the egg with banana.  The result is much more fudgy than brownie, and definitely not as decadent, but definitely still spoon worthy.  And in case you were wondering, I think this is a vegan recipe.  Yikes.
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup soft cooked red beans, canned is fine (or soak overnight covered in at least 6 inches of water)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup instant coffee
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 overripe banana
  • 3/4 cup sugar (white I think?  I can’t remember honestly)
Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper or tin foil and spray with nonstick spray.
Melt the chocolate glass bowl in the microwave, it should only take about 3-4 10-second intervals (watch so it doesn’t burn!).  Then mix in the applesauce.
Beans, half of the walnuts, vanilla, and the melted chocolate go into the food processor.  Process until smooth — this took me a while and I used a spatula to periodically manipulate the proto batter so that everything got evenly pureed.
Add the chocolate-applesauce mixture toward the end, this may help with the blending.
In a big bowl mix together the other half of the walnuts, coffee, and salt.
In a small bowl mash up the banana and mix the sugar in it thoroughly.  You might consider using a hand mixer for a minute or two to get some air into it.
Add this banana mixture to the bean-applesuace mixture, and fold in gently with a spatula.
Pour the batter into the lined baking pan, and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the mixture does not jiggle upon wiggling.
Let cool in the pan completely.  The flavor develops after a few hours, so store in the fridge if possible.
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3 Responses to Substitution Fudge

  1. liza says:

    the co-op closed!?!?!?!?!?!?! as sad as that is, i think your tribute post is the perfect eulogy. <3

  2. Adity says:

    Who was your jain roommate? And I love your cooking! Miss youuu!

  3. Anita, thanks for the sweet comment! 🙂 Trust me, I think you are doing GREAT! I can’t even remember what I ate when I was in clerkship, but I was delighted to gobble up all the free food at rounds! It took me a while to break away from that student mentality, but now I am delighted to bring my own food to rounds (healthier and tastes better). I am currently a PGY4 in pathology, where I have no call, and basically have my life back. That’s when I started cooking for myself again (in earnest) and I haven’t looked back! 🙂

    This winter, I started cooking all my meals on the weekends (usually 3 meals), and eating the leftovers throughout the week… which helped tremendously when I’d have to work late hours. Dishes filled with beans and grains work well this way!

    If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to email me!

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