© Courtesy of BC Cranberries
We all know that cranberries add colour and flavour to our holiday meals, and we’ve seen how they add taste and texture to baked goods at any time. Juice and sauce are old-time favourites, but those little red berries are far more versatile than that. From appetizers to desserts, cranberries add a tart and tangy flavour to food and beverages, and their low natural sugar means you can sweeten to taste. You will find a myriad of recipes at bccranberries.com, oceanspray.com and uscranberries.com.
What you may not know is that cranberries are exceptionally good for you, beyond antioxidants and vitamin C, which they are chock full of, research has revealed that naturally occurring cranberry compounds have a number of favourable effects on human health. Scientists continue to discover new cranberry whole-body health benefits. The anti-inflammatory effect of the cranberry was discovered back in 2009, but that’s not the oldest record of health benefits. Our First Nations peoples were onto something as they used cranberry paste for wound dressing, verified by current research showing how cranberry compounds’ anti-bacterial properties stop bacteria from sticking to cells and reducing infection, especially in the digestive tract. A recent 2016 study found that compounds in the juice may also help improve blood flow and blood vessel function, which is great for heart health. Dried berries added to high-fat meals have been shown to significantly lower glucose response and inflammation, and we are looking forward to seeing if cranberries can impact glucose metabolism and diabetes prevention. To find out more about cranberries and your health, go to www.cranberryinstitute.org.
So, you can feel great about expanding your cranberry culinary experiences while enjoying their health benefits, starting with this gluten-free brownie recipe.
Flourless Cranberry Black Bean Brownies
Yield: 16 squares
Gluten-free and rich in fibre, no one will notice that beans are the secret ingredient in these moist and tasty squares.
A food processor or good blender is a key to keeping the secret ingredient (black beans) a mystery.
- 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tbsp melted butter, coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup good quality cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper or mist with cooking oil spray.
- Place cranberries in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside.
- In a food processor, combine all remaining ingredients and puree for about 1-2 minutes or until very well blended and smooth. If using a blender, place beans and oil in the blender, puree well, add remaining ingredients and continue to blend well.
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Drain cranberries and sprinkle them evenly on top of the brownie batter. Press them into the batter.
- Bake for about 25 minutes. Allow to fully cool before slicing into 9 large or 16 smaller squares. Store in a sealed container. It can also be frozen.
Per serving: 114 calories, 18 g carbohydrate, 3 g fibre, 3.5 g fat, 145 mg sodium, 3.5 g protein
Enjoy more recipes at bccranberries.com
The BC Cranberry Marketing Commission regulates, in any and all respects, the transportation, processing, packing, storage, and marketing of any variety of cranberries grown in the province of British Columbia.