Longer Reads

Black Bean Brownies!

Yes, you read the name of this post correctly: Black. Bean. Brownies.

I came across this recipe on the fantastic healthy recipe website “101 Cookbooks.” As someone who loves sweets and treats but tries to only eat those that are made with healthy whole grains, natural sweeteners, and high quality ingredients, this recipe seemed like a godsend. These brownies are flourless and don’t contain any harsh sugar. But the main ingredient is beans! I was, understandably, quite skeptical. But the promise of a high-protein, low-glycemic, sugar-free treat was too much to pass up. I forged ahead and whipped up a batch this weekend.

The results were incredible. Dense, fugdey, delicious brownies with no hint – AT ALL – of any bean flavor. I served some up to my clients, who all loved them, and no one could figure out the “secret” ingredient. Everyone was shocked and delighted to find out they were healthy and bean-based.

Surprise your sweety with a heart-healthy Valentine’s goodie this year! These taste soo great, no one would ever guess that they’re good for you.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (canned are fine, but be sure to buy salt-free and organic)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (granulated) natural coffee substitute (or instant coffee, for gluten-sensitive – I used instant)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
1½ cups light agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 11- by 18-inch (rimmed) baking pan (Andrea’s note: All I had was a 13 x 9 inch pan and it worked fine) with parchment paper and lightly oil with canola oil spray. (Andrea’s note: I just rubbed a little olive oil on the parchment.)

Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high. (Andrea’s note: I melted the chocolate and butter in a metal bowl placed over a pot of lightly simmering water on the stove.) Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee substitute, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the agave nectar and beat well. Set aside.

Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.

Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)

Makes 45 (2-inch) brownies.

Reprinted from Baking With Agave Nectar: Over 100 Recipes Using Nature’s Ultimate Sweetener by Ania Catalano.