Wednesday, September 11, 2013

When vegetable desserts fail: chocolate mint fudge with cauliflower

With my coconut banana chocolate truffles, I'd like to think we have proof that vegetables can work well in desserts. The same, I'd hope, could be said of my past recipes for chickpea containing cookie balls, chocolate beetroot brownies, a chocolate peanut butter smoothie with broccoli, and my many (many!) zucchini containing sweet snacks.

Let's hold all those lovely examples in mind, but also acknowledge that sometimes things aren't so successful. I have been sitting on this sad tale for a year now, all the while hoping to rescue the failure with a re-run that actually turned out to be edible.


I've decided it isn't going to happen. I'm sharing the sad tale now.

The failure in question, as this post title will have highlighted, involved cauliflower. Inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie's chocolate cauliflower cake, I thought I would make chocolate cauliflower fudge. My ingredient list included cauliflower, soaked cashews, agave, stevia, vanilla, cocoa, oats and coconut. It also included mint - fresh mint - because I thought I'd make my fudge mint flavoured.

The result actually looked pretty wonderful. I had such high hopes.


I'm sure you'll all agree that appearances can, at times, be deceiving. This was one such example. It was revolting.

My love of mint has now taken a beating that it may not recover from, and I am so wary of cauliflower that I'm surprised I can bear to have it in my kitchen at all.

(Those recent failed cauliflower crackers? Quite traumatic.)

This fudge tasted of cauliflower. No one wants that when they're expecting chocolate. It also tasted overpoweringly of mint, and somehow also of the stevia. It was all very, very wrong.


I had planned to try again, because I think there are some obvious flaws in what I did last time. First, I used half a head of cauliflower. In Katie's chocolate cake, there were 2 loosely packed cups of cauliflower florets, which would probably be closer to a quarter of a cauliflower. Second, I used 8 mint leaves. Too many! Third, I froze my fudge. I don't think cauliflower likes being frozen.


As it turns out, though, I'm not game to try again. I think some vegetables are best kept for savoury. With that said, I would love to hear from anyone else who has used cauliflower in desserts successfully. I'm sure it must be possible, just not the way I tried it!

What is your biggest recipe failure from the last year? I really think this one is mine!

37 comments:

  1. Kudos for still trying! I have to say that it does look appetizing so you are certainly not alone in being deceived by looks :)

    Veggies can still hold their head up high in the dessert category, fear not :P

    I found this recipe for eggplant chocolate cake but have never been brave enough to try!

    http://atablefortwo.com.au/2013/06/eggplant-chocolate-cake-with-nespresso

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    1. Ooh, that is so intriguing - I find eggplant a bit daunting just in its own right so in a cake is amazing!

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  2. Haha, I love "I don't think cauliflower likes being frozen" :) a while ago I made some quinoa quiches- well they were meant to be quiches but fell apart. And tasted awful.

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    1. And yet they, too, sound like a great idea! Some ingredients are just so fickle :P

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  3. I like fail stories - not because they're fun to go through, because of course they're not - but they make me feel better about failing. We're all human! I hope you and cauli (and mint) get back on good terms soon!

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    1. Life would certainly be less interesting without the failures, you're right!

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  4. Oh dear. What a shame. I love minty fudge. Good on you for experimenting and I hope you recover sufficiently to bring a head of cauliflower into your home again xx

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  5. I really enjoy stories of food that doesn't work out. We've had discussions at home about this all the time. Food has it's days, we all fail at times, but writing about it is so cool. Cauliflower is great, once you get over this, I'm sure you'll it in different ways.

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    1. I think I will keep the love savoury though :-)

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  6. Oh I feel for you, I've tried some veg in sweet things - but I have to admit you have one over me with cauliflower, I am just sorry that it did not go to plan. I do hope you get back to liking mint, in fact I am sure of it. Chocolate Mint Tea perhaps?

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    1. Chocolate mint tea does sound excellent - and safe! Thanks Shaheen :-)

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  7. I love stories of recipe testing gone wrong. Reminds me that I'm not the only one that suffers serious SERIOUS failures. If you could only see the horridness I've created! I like the idea though :)

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    1. And I always like being reminded I'm not the only one ;) Thanks Gabby!

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  8. Oh no! But full marks for the idea. I have various kitchen failures - a couple of nights ago, I thought I was reheating my dinner, and instead, I microwaved sone sweet corn kernels I was storing in a microwave dish.

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    1. Oh, that is so funny! Although, admittedly, probably not at the time or for you :P

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  9. They certainly look great, what a shame it didn't work out! I find that blogging everyday during Vegan MoFo forces me into posting about cooking disasters and things that haven't worked out as perfectly as I would have hoped - I've had quite a few of those recently!

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    1. It sounds like many of us (me included) like hearing about the failures just as much as the successes! Good news for blogging I think :-)

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  10. hahahaa oh i chuckled when i read this!
    I'm still working on my tofu ring recipe ;-) I have the taste mastered but I can't get it to work out exactly the way I want - so disheartening!!!!!

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    1. You do much better than me in trying again! I tend to fail and then...give up :P

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    2. hahahaa I would of definitely given up by now if I didn't enjoy the taste so much ;-)

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  11. OKAY WE'RE GETTING YOU REAL COCONUT ICE CREAM AND REAL [VEGAN] FUDGE STOP THIS NONSENSE KARI. ;) x

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    1. Bahahaha...I'll definitely take the real vegan fudge. With this, my experimenting went one step too far!

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    2. Not going to lie, it did. But I'm really glad you're admitting that, because I've seen cauliflower desserts on a few blogs in recent years, and 80% of them have been written by people clearly in very sad throes of eating disorders. So hurrah for acknowledging that cauliflower does not a good dessert make. Hurrah! :D

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    3. Hurrah indeed - because now I can bypass failures and just go straight to fudge :-)

      I do find kitchen experimentation fun even if the results aren't always edible, but there is certainly a fine line between 'creative' and 'crazy', and I think these did cross it! As you say, let's also not forget the times when vegetables in desserts signal something sadder and more worrying...and best given a wide berth.

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  12. I'm impressed that you at least tried! I'm not quite as adventurous as you with putting veggies in my desserts...but at least you can cross it off some kind of bucket list?

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    1. Do you think success should be a requirement for the crossing off? I hope not!

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  13. Aw...the failed recipe attempts. Those are no fun. I've never tried using cauliflower in desserts before, but you're tempting me to give it a try! I'm sure you'll get it right on your next attempt. (Use less mint...haha).

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  14. very interesting - I have had some discussions with my mum about cauliflower in desserts recently because she laughed at my niece's suggestion and then I found one and sent it to her - sorry to hear it didn't work for you - maybe you need to work your way up to cauliflower in sweet food - though having said that I have had some bad experiences with cauliflower - it seems lit a wonder vegie but it can turn around and let you down

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    1. I think working my way up would definitely be safer than jumping in with half a head of the stuff! It certainly is a hit and miss affair sometimes, cauliflower experimentation.

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  15. Kari I think cauliflower belongs with a little olive oil, some good salt and just lightly steamed, with a not much variation from that. (See I'm still scared from my cauliflower quinoa dish!!) I've a had a few fails in the kitchen lately too, oh so disappointing!

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    1. You have definitely convinced me to keep cauliflower and quinoa far away from each other!

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  16. Oh how funny!!!
    Good on you for posting your failure, I usually try to hide them in the dogs belly :)
    xx

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  17. Oh, dear. Cauliflower and chocolate and cashews and agave sound as though they could be great together. I wonder if the stevia and mint reinforced each other in a way that caused the problem? Stevia always has a bit of a weird ├╝ber-minty edge to my palate...

    I haven't tried putting cauliflower in a dessert, though now I'm very curious about the idea. Come to think of it, I haven't tried any brassicas in desserts - root vegetables, legumes, and members of the squash family seem to be the limit of my ingenuity to date. Well, that and garlic fudge. But the garlic fudge had a somewhat mixed reception, it must be confessed.

    And lest you think I am professing any sort of culinary superiority here, it may comfort you to know that I learned the hard way never to put extra rosewater in a recipe. The Turkish Horror will live in infamy, as will the ill-advised lamb and potato stew with rosewater (though I do think the original recipe may have been at fault here).

    Oh dear, and then there was that terrible cake made with chestnut flour that wound up with the consistency of cold, clammy polenta. Not nice.

    I don't think one can get to be much of a cook without a few truly dire disasters.

    Catherine

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    1. Thanks for sharing your own disaster stories Catherine! I do actually think the stevia and excess mint had as much to do with this failure as the cauliflower - although really, it was just a failure in every regard ;) Garlic fudge definitely sounds curious too!

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