When I think black beans, I usually think cilantro, quinoa, cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, limes or garlic - definitely NOT brownie. I've been on a black bean kick lately. I typically buy a large bag and soak about two cups at a time and cook them to have enough for the entire week. My kids have had their fill of black bean quesadillas, black bean burgers, black bean with eggs, and black beans in their salads. I have perused sites and glanced at magazines that call for black beans in their brownie recipes and have thought, "Hmmm, I wonder how that would taste?". Finally, I decided I'd take my turn at that odd combination. I'll admit my first attempt was just plain awful. I went a little too overboard on the black bean component of the black bean brownie, kind of neglecting the fact that I was making brownies. So, with a little doctoring, I was able to make a rather scrumptious, gluten free, vegan and, healthy (yes, really), brownie.
Here's what you'll need:
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- 6 Tbsp water
- 2 1/2 cups soaked and cooked black beans
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted to a liquid
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup cocoa (the higher the quality, the better the brownie)
- 1 cup honey
Mix the chia seeds and water in a bowl and let sit for about 5 minutes, until they become goopy and egg-like. If you are unfamiliar with chia seeds, I highly recommend getting a bag of them and explore the potential of chia. If you soak them (1 part seeds to 3 parts water) they are great egg substitutes in most recipes. "Why should I replace eggs?", you might be wondering. Well, one tablespoon of chia seeds has more calcium than a glass of milk, more Omega-3s than salmon, more antioxidants than blueberries, has about 6g of fiber and is cholesterol free. Maybe you have heart disease or high cholesterol runs in your family, landing you in the "high risk" category of likelihood of getting it. You have no control over your genetics, but replacing high cholesterol foods and maintaining a healthy diet is within your control.
Add the chia-eggs (as I like to call them) and the next five ingredients to a good blender or food processor. Mix everything until it combines nicely, batter might be lumpy a bit yet, and that's okay.
Add the honey. This is my favorite part. Especially if you are lucky enough to have a "honey guy". I would encourage you to seek out a local bee keeper for his honey if you have allergies. The local pollen the bees use to create the honey will help your body build up an immunity to the allergens in the air. Neat, huh?
Blend until the mixture becomes smooth. You may have to add a little water as you're mixing. Grease twelve muffin tins with coconut oil. You could opt to use a regular brownie pan (9x9), but I like the portion control that the muffin tins provide.
Spoon batter into twelve tins and bake at 350ºF for about 20 minutes, or until sides begin to pull away from tin. The insides will still be fudgy, which is fine because they are vegan. Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing to cool completely. Be careful as you spoon them out. Be gentle. Enjoy!