Every time I peered into my fridge, Long Island City-based Hungryroot’s desserts tempted me from the shelf, waiting. They were there at my late-afternoon energy dip, still luring me during after-hours viewing of the new season of Transparent. Their temptation was not of the evil sort, though, but of virtue dressed up in indulgence, like Little Women’s Meg March tarted up by the Moffats for Sallie Gardiner’s coming out. You remember.
Made from dinner ingredients like black beans, sweet potato, chickpeas and carrots masquerading as sweet treats, each of Hungryroot’s desserts are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. They’re also good, and I say that as a person who believes dessert should be, well, dessert. But if eating a batter of black bean purée can pull one over on me at half the calories of Betty Crocker, who am I to argue now and then?
Most Decadent: Black Bean Brownie Batter, $7
Dubious as I am about “healthy desserts,” when the black bean brownie trend was blazing across the blogosphere years ago, I did not partake. Now I’m forced to admit my foolishness. To eat black bean brownies is simply to eat delicious brownies. This batter was, in a word, insane, and were it not for a very official looking whole-ingredient list of black beans, almond butter, maple syrup and sweet potato, I would not have believed by my taste buds. The dark, indulgent brownie batter is studded with vegan chocolate chips and can be eaten raw or baked.
Best Afternoon Pick-Me-Up: Carrot Cake Bites, $6
There’s no tricky trompe l’oeil here. These are just pure, honest carrot cakes made fresh with coconut and oats. Glossed with a coconut milk vanilla frosting you’ll want to eat straight from the tub, the teeny cakes scratch the afternoon cookie itch and they’re so right with a cup of tea.
Most Nostalgic: Spiced Boniato Vanilla Custard, $6
When the world is cold and cruel and you want loving-care, there is at least this to curl up with between flannel sheets: a silken custard spirited with warming cinnamon and ginger. Like vanilla pudding all grown up, but in a modern form made with coconut milk, white sweet potatoes, cashews and dates, this whisper-sweet pap is like the dessert incarnation of Goodnight Moon.
Best Late Night Snack: Almond Chickpea Cookie Dough, $7
Some testers we’re put off by a bitter after-taste, which alcohol seemed to enhance (come on—when else are you eating raw cookie dough?); another tester declared it delicious. But there was something strangely satisfying about dipping a very large spoon into this chickpea, almond butter and vegan chocolate chip cookie dough and eating it straight from the container. Patient types can bake it into cookies.
The only Hungryroot dessert we couldn’t quite get behind was the cacao mousse ($6)—sounded divine, sadly tasted like sweet potatoes. Maybe that’s your thing though, and no great travesty. Just pass the brownie batter back over here.
Photos courtesy of Hungryroot.