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Black bean brownies

My sister enjoys my baking when she comes to visit, but generally doesn’t eat sweets.  So, for quite a while, she has been hassling me  to come up with a gluten-free and ‘healthy-ish’ brownie recipe for her that still tastes like a ‘real’ brownie.

add dry ingredients and stir until smooth

At the same time I’ve been trying to get the children to eat more pulses and vegetables, and the combination of both of these led me to a bit of experimentation, and eventually, these brownies.

scatter walnuts over batter

Now you will probably think, looking at the recipe below, that these still have quite a lot of butter and sugar in them, and I am completely aware that there are many recipes out there with almost no fat, and/or no added sugar.  However, that really wasn’t what I was trying for!

cool cooked brownie on a rack

What I was aiming for here was a brownie, that tastes just like a normal brownie (or even a rather good brownie), but doesn’t have ridiculous amounts of sugar and butter, and actually contains some vegetable material 🙂  On all counts, I call these a success!  They have a deeply chocolatey and slightly nutty flavour, and are only slightly sweet.  The almond meal version is a little fudgier, but I really like both versions – if you wanted them gluten-free but with a more cake-like texture you could easily use another gluten-free flour.

Esther, you’re welcome! xxx

Black bean brownies

Originally inspired by recipes from 101 Cookbooks and Joy the Baker  

  • 110g dark chocolate
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 150g light muscovado or brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 Tbs instant coffee/espresso powder (optional)
  • 200g cooked black turtle beans, pureed (not Chinese fermented black (soy) beans)
  • 60g flour or almond meal
  • 2 Tbs cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 40g walnuts, roughly chopped

Line a 20-23cm (8-9”) square tin with baking paper.  Heat oven to 180C (350F).

Melt together chocolate, butter and sugar in a microwaveable bowl on medium power, about 2-3 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly, and add eggs, vanilla and coffee, beating until thick and glossy.  Stir in black beans until combined, then fold in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt until smooth.

Pour into the tin and sprinkle with walnuts.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is set and only a few crumbs stick to the skewer when you test – you don’t want the tester to come out completely clean for brownies.  If you’re using almond meal it may take a little longer – 25-30 min, but always check regularly.

Cool in the tin on a rack before removing and cutting into squares.

Makes 16 brownies

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