Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Best Black Bean Brownies EVER

Black bean brownies get a bad rap. Probably because they contain black beans and typically taste nothing like a brownie. But, I am about to change your mind about black bean brownies. Like, I am going to make you want to make these black bean brownies all the time and eat one almost everyday. Don't be scared, okay? Just hear me out. Now, I've tried several black bean brownie recipes out there. The first one I tried had flecks of bean skin (so gross!) throughout the brownie and it gave it such a strange texture. And, it really tasted like beans. Of course, I knew it would, but it was more bean-y than I thought it would be. Not very good in my books. The second version I tried was a bit more chocolaty, but the beans were definitely still there. I made several batches for others, and they loved them, but they still weren't "the one". And definitely not the brownie I would eat in place of an every day ooey gooey chocolate brownie.  Now I want a brownie. With ice cream. And berries. And hot fudge. Oh my!

Okay, back to black bean brownies. One weekend afternoon when I needed a study break (as you all know, I stress bake), I decided to do some more research on black bean brownies. That's when I came across a new and different way of making black bean brownies from Gina, the wonderful food blogger of Skinnytaste. If you have not checked out her blog, you must! It's AMAZING. Just like these brownies. I am not going to lie. I was a bit skeptical trying out yet another black bean brownie recipe, but these have changed my life. I kid you not. 

These brownies start with one can of black beans and a food processor. A blender would work well here too. You add the beans, a couple of eggs, some sugar (not too much), a splash of oil, milk, baking powder and soda, cocoa powder and then the two ingredients that take these brownies over the top - balsamic vinegar and espresso powder. I first thought, "vinegar in brownies?", but let me tell you, there is something about the combination of the balsamic and espresso powder that just works. If you ask me, it really amps up the chocolate flavor! And the best part of these brownies, there is not one sprinkle of flour! You just whirl up everything in the food processor until it's nice and smooth (no bean skins here!).  Then pour the mixture in to a bowl, add some chocolate chips, mix them in and pour everything in a baking pan. Top the mixture with the rest of the chocolate chips and bake away. In just about 30 minutes, you'll have some of the best brownies you have ever had. Ever! They are so rich and chocolaty, you'd never know they were made with beans. I've fooled quite a few people with these! Now that's saying something.

These black bean brownies have become part of my weekly baking rotation and something the hubby and I always have on hand. I keep these bad boys individually wrapped up so they are easy to grab and go. Especially when I need a sweet treat I can feel good about. And so I don't eat half the pan in one sitting. Not that I would, but you never know. Each brownie is about 140 calories and will curb that afternoon sweet craving in no time. Trust me, you'll never think about black bean brownies the same way again. These are a game changer.

Yes, these are really made with black beans!

The Best Black Bean Brownies (slightly adapted from Skinnytaste)

Recipe makes 16 brownies - each at just about 140 calories!

1, 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon milk 
1 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee
Dash of salt
1 cup of chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x9 square pan with foil.

Drain and rinse the can of black beans and place in a food processor (or blender if you don't have a food processor). Add in all of the remaining ingredients, except for the chocolate chips. Blend everything together until the mixture is nice and smooth. About one minute. Once everything is well mixed, pour the mixture into a bowl and add half of the chocolate chips. Stir to combine and pour everything in to the prepared pan. Then, sprinkle the other half of the chocolate chips over the top, making sure they are evenly distributed.

Bake brownies for about 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Do not over bake! Allow them to cool slightly and then cut in to 16 even squares.I like to keep them in the fridge until they are nice and cold, but if you can't wait that long, let them cool for about an hour or so before cutting in to them. Enjoy!

These brownies will change your life. You'll never look at black beans the same again!

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