My first reaction when one of my followers on Instagram told me about black bean brownies was something along the lines of: what? You can put beans in a brownie?? Once I let that thought kind of sink in, I was intrigued. I searched around a bit online and sure enough, black bean brownies was a thing. Seemed legit enough, so I got straight to it and started cooking up some black beans.
After that I just mixed some dates for sweetness, vanilla essence, cacao powder and a few tablespoons of peanut butter before popped it in the oven. I tried not to get my hopes up since I had a creeping suspicion that you would be able to taste the beans. I mean, it does seem a little bit too good to be true that you can make delicious fudge brownies that is also perfectly nutritionally balanced. One bite was all it took to win me over. In order to be completely sure that the beans were unnoticeable, I served it to my family as if they were just the regular brownies I usually make. I let them devour the entire thing before asking them whether they could guess the secret ingredient or not. My little sister asked if it was potatoes or rice (those ideas were certainly… umh, out of the box!). My parents were clueless. I dramatically revealed that it was in fact black beans. The response? “shut. the. front. door.”
Victory. *insert my trademark evil smirk*
Ingredients, makes 8 x 8 inch pan:
- 3 cups cooked black beans (or drained and rinsed canned beans)
- 2-3 cups dates, pitted *
- 1/2 cup high-quality unsweetened cacao powder
- 2 tbsp all-natural peanut butter (or almond butter if you dislike peanuts)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2 tsp maldon salt
- Raspberries or other berries, for garnish
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup sugar-free dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1. Preheat oven to 100 degrees Celsius/215 degrees Fahrenheit. Start by processing together the dates, vanilla and nut butter in a food processor (or high-speed blender) until you have a creamy paste. Add in the black beans as well, and continue until properly combined. You want this to get as smooth as possible without having to add any liquid. If you find that this is outright impossible, you can add up to 2 tbsp of water to make it easier. Scoop this into a bowl. Like you can see from the picture below, the dough should not be too sticky! If it is, you added in too much water. Do not panic though instead just follow the remaining steps, reading the last one thoroughly.
2. Add in the remaining ingredients into the bowl and knead it together using your hands in order to get it completely mixed. Now is the time to add in any add-ins if you wish (it tastes amazing plain as well!).
3. Grab a relatively small baking pan and line it with parchment. Dust the bottom of the pan with a bit of cacao powder before spreading in the batter. Press it down firmly using your palms and place the pan in the oven. It should bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until it has a nice baked surface (see picture below). It will still be a bit “fudgy” though, which is why you have to allow it to cool completely before slicing into small squares. If you added too much water you might need to store it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to let the cake firm up more. It will not affect the taste. Garnish with a fresh berries and enjoy!.
Additional notes (*):
- I made two batches of this, one using 2 cups of dates and another using 3 cups. Personally I preferred the one using less dates, because it was less sweet and had a richer and fuller taste. Both my parents agreed with this. My little sister (who has more of a sweet tooth) preferred the latter version. Therefore I will leave it to you to decide how much you want to use depending on your preferences.
Enjoy and have a wonderful Easter!