I’ve made a few version of black bean brownies now, and I can report truthfully that you’d never know there were beans in them. If you like your brownies fudgy textured, these are for you. (I personally prefer the chewy side of things, but haven’t yet succeeded there. The health benefits of these are worth it, though!)
This 101 Cookbooks recipe is the most recent recipe I’ve based my favorite variant on, because it doesn’t use bananas and doesn’t use white sugar. I modified it to make it 8x8 pan sized, as well as a few other taste/spice mods below.
- 3 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate
- 1/3 cup of coconut oil (or butter if you prefer)
- 1 can black beans (drain/rinse)
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1-2 T. of instant coffee (beware; I did 2, and these things wake me up!)
- 3 large organic eggs
- scant 1/4 c agave syrup
- scant 1/4 c molasses (for the vitamins and taste)
- 1/4 c sorghum flour or other gf flour (I also added 1/4 tsp xanthum gum)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and spray or line an 8x8 pan.
Melt the chocolate and oil in a double boiler. Let it cool a little, then put it in the blender with the beans.
Mix up the eggs and sugars in a mixing bowl. Add everything else — including the bean and chocolate mixture. Put in the nuts at the end.
Taste it to make sure you have the right coffee and sugar balance for yourself.
Bake about 30 mins, but keep an eye on it. The top gets lighter brown as it cooks, and you can test it with a toothpick.
Eat cautiously: like, maybe not right before bed, depending on how much coffee you add!
What Makes These Brain Food?
These are generally low glycemic index and the gluten-free-ness plus cinnamon will be anti-inflammatory for many folks. Chocolate has anti-oxidants, as we all know. Black beans are full of vitamins and amino acids that may help with mood, including tryptophan (precursor to seratonin) and phenylalanine (an “upper” for some). They have an “impressive array of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients” (ref).
The benefits and risks of coffee and caffeine are under debate right now (e.g., this Mayo clinic summary); coffee itself has anti-oxidants, and caffeine has been found to help fight dementia in mice (those poor mice) and improve test scores in humans. I’m pro-caffeine and coffee, myself. YMMV.