Chase Away the Demons Japanese Setsubun Brownies

Japanese Setsubun is February 3rd  “Demons out, good fortune in!” (Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi鬼は外福は内) The cry is heard in every corner of Japan.

Japanese children chase demons from the home on Setsubun. How? They chant “Demons out, good fortune in!” by throwing roasted soybeans at a parent wearing a red “oni” mask. The Setsubun mild peanut-tasting beans are then enjoyed. (Usually a child’s age plus one.)

Apparently Japanese Setsubun signals the start of Spring – a time when spirits can easily slip in from other worlds. Setsubun roasted soybeans throwing at the demon-masked parent is the traditional way to clear the home of bad spirits. In Osaka, there is a time-honored tradition of eating uncut sushi hand rolls in silence. To make the sushi magic work, participants must stand facing a lucky direction. The lucky direction changes every year (and is based on a 5-year cycle.) In case you want to try this Osaka foodie tradition in 2017; eat your uncut sushi facing north-north-west. (In 2018, face south-south-east.) 

To celebrate Japanese Setsubun in our childless (baby cats don’t count) home, I baked Chase Away the Demons Japanese Setsubun Brownies. The brownies may become an annual tradition. The chocolaty brownies put an angelic smile on my husband’s face!  The brownies sprinkled with crushed Setsubun soybeans had him returning for seconds and thirds. Always a good sign.

My recipe for Chase Away the Demons Japanese Setsubun Brownies is below. At this time of year, Setsubun roasted soybeans are readily available at Japanese markets in the U.S. However, you can always substitute peanuts and still produce a scrumptious Setsubun Brownie dessert.

If you prefer to enact the ritual of enjoying an uncut sushi hand roll, try my recipes for Vegan California Sushi Rolls and Bee-Bim-Bop Sushi Rolls.

Japanese Setsubun Brownies

Japanese setsubun brownies healthy soybeans Japan culture

Roasted Japanese Setsubun soybeans are the perfect compliment to rich chocolate brownies. The slightly salty and crunchy soybeans contrast the soft rich chocolate. Peanuts are a fine substitute as they are similar in texture to Setsubun soybeans.

  • 1 cup roasted Japanese Setsubun soybeans (or peanuts)
  • 4 ozs unsweetened chocolate
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1½ tsps. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°

Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper or tin foil. Coat with baking spray.
Set aside.

Crumble the Japanese Setsubun soybeans in a food processor. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Pour the chocolate and butter into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar.
Next, add the eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour. Combine well.

Fill the prepared pan with the batter. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool and cut.

Optional: Frost with your favorite frosting and garnish with roasted Japanese Setsubun soybeans.

Wishing you a sweet Japanese Setsubun.

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.



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