Sink your teeth into these fudgy, rich brownies, and I promise you’ll never miss the gluten or refined sugars. Or guess the secret ingredient. These decadent delights are sure to please everyone, not just the health-conscious or those with food allergies.
Why do I call them “healthier” brownies? First, they contain much more fiber than regular brownies, and, second, they’re made with the natural sweetener agave nectar. Agave nectar is lower on the glycemic index than sweeteners like refined sugar and even honey. Combined with the extra fiber, this means (diabetics and hypoglycemics rejoice!) that the morsels have a lower impact on your blood sugar levels. That’s not to say that any brownie–even one of these–is a health food, but at least you’re not doing as much damage. Sugar is sugar (and if you’re battling with Candida, you should steer clear of these), but if you’re in the mood to indulge, this is a great way to do it with a little less guilt.
If you’re sensitive to dairy, consider making these with coconut oil instead of butter. This 1-to-1 substitution works beautifully in baking. And about that agave nectar: it’s popping up everywhere these days. I had 4 varieties to choose from at my local Whole Foods! I chose raw amber, but I’m sure the others would have worked fine. If you simply can’t find agave or don’t want to bother looking for it, try using an equal amount of honey instead. Someday I may try baking these with stevia (a completely natural, sweet-tasting herb) to eliminate the sugar altogether. I’ll let you all know how that goes. I absolutely do notrecommend ever using Splenda as a sugar substitute, but that’s for another post. For now, just say “no” to Splenda. It’s from the devil.
One more thing. In case you missed my saying so, these are really, really tasty. Fudgy. Rich. Tasty.
Now go check out the secret ingredient. Surprised?
Go on, be a good sport. Give ’em a shot anyway. You’ll be glad you did!
Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
(adapted from the recipe at 101 Cookbooks)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (that means 100% cocoa/cacao)
1 cup unsalted butter or coconut oil
2 cups very soft cooked black beans*
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup instant coffee
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups agave nectar
Preheat the oven to 325. For the best results, line a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with canola oil. If you’re lazy like me, just spray the plain dish and be done with it.
Melt the chocolate and butter (or coconut oil) together, either in the microwave or on the stove.
In a food processor, blend together the beans, 1/2 cup of walnuts, vanilla extract, and about 1/2 of the melted chocolate mixture. Blend about 2 minutes or until completely smooth. The batter will seem thick, but that’s okay. I stopped the processor twice to scrape down the sides and make sure all the beans were completely pureed. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the rest of the walnuts, the rest of the melted chocolate mixture, the instant coffee, and the salt. Mix well and add the pureed bean mixture. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs in a clean bowl until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the agave nectar and beat well. Add this mixture to the chocolate/bean concoction and mix thoroughly. The batter will seem very thin and splashy. That’s okay.
Pour the batter into your prepared baking dish and back for about 50 minutes, until the brownies are set.
Allow the brownies to cool completely and refrigerate them. Cut them into squares. I recommend small ones because they’re so rich.
Now go spread the brownie love.
*NOTE: I used canned black beans, rinsed and drained, for this recipe, and they worked beautifully. Be sure to check the label of the beans you buy, since many brands have onion and garlic powders in them. You definitely don’t want that. A little salt is fine. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cans.