Friday, February 11, 2011

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

I know, I know. Who would have thought beans ever belonged in brownies? But they do! I've actually been sitting on this recipe for almost 3 years since I first saw it on Heidi Swanson's 101cookbooks. Intrigued though not yet fully committed, I decided to wait for the perfect moment to make them. As you know I hate baking, so if I'm going to whip out my sad baking skills, it is going to be for something worth it. And yes, these brownies are totally worth it!

I made my first batch a few weeks ago for my Dad's birthday and have been craving them ever since. In fact, when my parents departed I didn't even offer to send them with a few morsels. I justified it to myself that they were getting on a plane and the brownies were sure to be smashed in their carry-ons. In reality however, I just didn't want to share. I'm a terrible daughter!

So, there are a few fantastic things about these brownies. First, and most obviously, they are loaded with black beans. This means more fiber to help slow the absorption rate of the sweetener. Second, they are completely gluten free. And third, and perhaps most importantly, the absence of flour produces brownies of such a rich, creamy, and fudge-like consistency you cannot help but be immediately addiction. (If you prefer more "cakey" brownies, these might not be for you.)

I made a few Jamie Living changes to the recipe including a delicious combination of butter and coconut oil and substituting brown rice syrup for agave. I get asked almost weekly my thoughts on agave and I have to say, I'm not a huge fan. I don't enjoy the taste as much as other alternative sweeteners and I find it really gives me a sugar shock. (I once had a bit too much at a particular raw restaurant and found myself too shaky to drive home. I know, I'm a delicate flower!) If you are into agave however, Madhava seems to be the best brand. Brown rice syrup works beautifully in this recipe and adds a lovely, almost burnt caramel flavor. If you can't get your hands on brown rice syrup, real maple syrup would also work very well.

Now let me just say that these brownies are dangerously good. Once you make this recipe you will want to keep them on hand...permanently. Which may not necessarily be a bad thing. I mean beans, eggs, a little could you go wrong! So now this Valentine's Day there is no excuse to get sucked into a box of junky, doesn't-taste-that-good-anyway chocolate, when you could have these ridiculous brownies. Happy baking and enjoy!

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used Sunspire organic, fair-trade 100% cacao bar)
1 stick unsalted organic butter
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
2 cups cooked back beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of cloves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 organic eggs
1 cup brown rice syrup (Lundberg is my favorite)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8 1/2 by 11-inch baking dish with parchment paper and lightly butter it.

Melt the chocolate, butter, and coconut oil in a small sauce pan over low-medium heat. Stir to make sure the chocolate is fully melted. Set aside.

Place the beans, 1/2 a cup of walnuts, vanilla extract, and 3 spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth. The batter will be pretty thick. Set aside.

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

In another bowl, beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute, then add the brown rice syrup and mix together.

Add the bean mixture to the walnut/chocolate/cloves mixture and stir until well blended. Add the egg mixture and stir well to combine. Place the batter into the lined baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Removes from the oven and let cool. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight for best results.