Friday, June 17, 2011

Surprisingly Delicious Black Bean Brownies!

Ladies and Gentlemen - we now have an answer for the age old question: given a working oven, a nearly-stocked kitchen and all the required utensils, how long will it take for Rachel to bake? Answer: Seven days...or one day, if you start counting from Wednesday, which is when we finally got around to grocery shopping.

The truth is, I've been itching to bake ever since we moved in but I'm trying to watch my sugar-intake, for health reasons, so whipping up tasty treats is not really prescribed behavior. Sadly, my domestic impulses finally got the better of me this week and, since I couldn't fight them, I decided I'd at least try to make something a little bit healthy. I've seen Black Bean Brownies all over the blogosphere and have always been a skeptic, despite the rave reviews. How can something so virtuous possibly taste indulgent? I mean, they're beans and this is chocolate we're talking about. Somehow these two things seem destined to always be separate.

Of course, I may be a skeptic, but I'm also infinitely curious. So when trying to select something healthy to bake, these unusual brownies came to mind. To be honest, I'm not really sure how healthy they are - especially if you eat half a small pan-full - but they are pretty delicious. They're also full of fiber, so definitely make them but be sure to pace yourself!

No-Flour, No-Sugar Black Bean Brownies
makes 1 8x8-inch pan
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup honey (or other liquid sweetener)
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 Tablespoons flaxseed (I used unground)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 ° F. Line an 8x8-inch pan (or something similar - I used a small glass baking dish) with lightly greased parchment paper. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. If you're skeptical about this recipe, as I was, you should taste the batter before you throw in the eggs - it really does taste like brownie batter!

At this point, you can blend in some nuts or chopped chocolate (but I didn't have any and, if you remember, I'm supposed to be being healthy). Spoon batter into baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and top appears dry. Serve warm.

Mmmmm...brownie batter!

A few tips: Or should I say confessions? Most of the original recipes I found had more eggs, but I was feeling cheap and had a bunch of flaxseed, so I threw some of that in instead. It worked! I also subbed honey for the ubiquitous agave nectar because I've never bought anything remotely nectar-like, even though it sounds delicious. More regrettable was the fact that I forgot to line my dish with parchment paper, which made the brownies a little difficult to remove, but I managed. In addition, I got a bit caught up in dinner-making and accidentally forgot about my brownies, so they were baked for almost 40 minutes.  I was worried they'd be overdone, but there were still deliciously fudgy inside.

The verdict: It seems it's almost impossible to screw up this recipe - believe me, I inadvertently tried! I was initially incredibly skeptical about trying this recipe, but it's actually very delicious. The texture is a little different than traditional brownies - more like a dense, flourless chocolate cake - but the flavor is surprisingly rich and chocolatey. Does this mean I'll be trading in my favorite brownie recipes? Not really, but I'm definitely adding this one to my rotation. I guess beans aren't just for burritos and chili after all!

This post linked at:
Sweet as Sugar Cookies: Sweets for a Saturday
Something Swanky: Sweet Treats Thursday
33 Shades of Green: Tasty Tuesdays


  1. This looks really interesting. I will have to try this soon- it sure is a great excuse for a "healthy treat!"


  2. I'm definitely going to have to try those out. I've heard so many good things about them and I like that brownies can be a healthy thing.

  3. Very interesting, can't believe it worked!

  4. Marissa - I've been enjoying your blog (what a cute and creative name!) You'll have to let me know how you like the brownies. My husband wasn't entirely I ate them all!

    Lisa - I, too, had heard a lot about them and eventually decided to give them a try. I think I still prefer real, fatty, chocolate brownies, but this is a great healthy alternative. And you'd never know there were beans inside!

    Jenn - yeah, I was as shocked as you are! I'm always looking for healthy substitutions, and this is one I'll be coming back to. Plus, I'm thinking there's got to be a way to make a vegan version (perhaps substitute all the eggs with flaxseed) and I'm always excited to find good vegan recipes!