Never before have I been so excited about sharing a recipe.
Never before has Andrew talked so much about something that I’ve made.
Never before have I thought I could pull off something like this (and actually like it).
Lets go to the beginning…the very beginning…of this food story. Once upon a time, a few weeks ago that is…it was a wednesday, I think… there was a young woman (let’s call her Amie, for kicks and giggles) who was distraught because like every wednesday night (pretty sure it was a wednesday), her sweet tooth was beckoning her. But alas, Amie’s main cause of distress was not due to her sweet tooth, but due to the miserable fact that there was absolutely nothing sweet to be found in her home. Made of chocolate, to be specific, but who’s being picky?
With her sweet tooth and her tummy now teaming against her in this maddening situation, the young woman turns to the support and back-bone to all of her recipes (lets call this google). As Amie researched google, she found an amazing discovery. Other chefs online had tried it and succeeded. But it sounded impossible…and disgusting. Could she, should she try this?
Yes she could, and yes, she did.
Four experimental batches later and finally, the young Amie accomplished something she would have never dreamed. For she turned a usual dessert that normally causes her tummy a lot of pain, into a dessert that not only made her tummy happy, but full.
But at first, this young woman was unsure of this recipe…unsure that it would be a success. So, as she always does, she turns to her loving knight-in-shining armor (lets call this stud Andrew). As always, Andrew is her first go-to for an opinion on her creations. However, something was very different about this situation, for this time, she did not tell him what this creation was made out of. She was too unsure to tell him. So, Amie fed her kind and loving husband a dessert that looked like a brownie but was the furthest thing from a typical brownie. After a few bites, she finally told him. Then she had to convince him that they were actually made out of black beans.
You’re telling me that these brownies are actually black beans?“, the kind and loving husband remarked.
Although the young Amie succeeded in surprising her charming husband into eating something like this, and got the reaction she was hoping for (not tasting the black beans at all), the recipe itself was far from perfect. This was after all the first batch. The first batch was made with a base of greek yogurt, and neither of young couple enjoyed the sour taste that it added to the brownie. It practically overwhelmed the couple. The second batch was made with canola oil, thus the sour taste was removed and you could get the strong taste of chocolate. But now, instead of it being sour, it was bitter…too bitter. The young maiden and her heroic knight sat at their dining table, looking at the suspicious brownies. The young lady’s heart was beginning to turn downcast, thinking that her experiment had failed. However, her patient husband took another bite of the bitter brownie, and mentioned (while trying to hide the bitter look in his face) with all of the enthusiasm he could muster, “You should try making these again.”
As hope and determination leaped back into Amie’s spirit, she turned to google again to figure out how to remove this bitter taste. After a short white of researching, she discovered that the cocoa powder she was using was the probable culprit who was causing the bitter taste. Quickly, she went to the grocery store and purchased the brand that was recommended on all of the cooking websites: Hershey’s cocoa powder.
She made two more experimental batches, this time with more success (and less bitterness). This time, her loving husband gave her the thumbs up on one of the batches and told her, “Honey, you did it. These turned out great!” With her heart swelling with love and confidence, she then turned to her second go-to on this experiment: her good friend and neighbor, who is a professional baker. Telling her that these brownies were made without flour but replaced with a “special” ingredient, the courageous neighbor takes a bite. Almost immediately, she knew that these were not brownies and that something was different. “Although they aren’t bad, they are just different, not like the usual brownie”, remarked the good friend. Walking back to our domain, the young couple were thankful for their friend’s honest opinion.
The next day, Amie takes a big step of faith and takes the “brownies” to her place of employment. Not proclaiming what they were made of, simply stating, “flour-less and butter-less brownies” she left them on the counter for all to taste. By lunch time, the full plate of the experimental brownies had disappeared. And by this time, the young lady was even more unsure about her experiment. Sure, her husband and herself enjoyed them, but their taste-buds have always gone for an unusual fare of food. She began to wonder if it was a mistake to bring something so unusual to her work.
As Amie returned to the kitchen to fetch her now-empty plate, there was a note written next to it, proclaiming that they were excellent brownies. (Mili, I figured you out, and I know it was you who wrote that note, you kind soul!). Amie smiled at the note and started to journey back to her desk when her coworkers started pulling her aside to let her know that the brownies were delicious, coworkers asking for the secret behind the recipe, wondering why they tasted like they did, wondering if they could have the recipe.
As Amie began to share her secret, the more excited she became when her coworkers were shocked that they actually ate pureed black beans instead of something else. But she became more excited still, when they still wanted the recipe. Amie came home that night with a smile on her face, knowing that she had been successful in hiding a healthy ingredient in a normally fattening dessert. Her handsome husband came home, telling her that his coworkers want to try them now as well. As Amie and Andrew started scheming clever plans to trick other friends and coworkers into eating this deceivingly-healthy dessert, they lived happily ever after…with their black bean brownies.
Lol, like my story? It’s all true you know. It has become our favorite dessert now. And every step along this food journey was important and essential. My neighbor proved a good point in saying that they aren’t really brownies…because they really aren’t. They only look like brownies to fool you. They don’t have the same texture at all. A good handful of my coworkers made the same comment, “They’re so light and fluffy”, another coworker noted that they reminded her of chocolate mousse. So, as you can see, these brownies will not have the same texture at all. And after four batches of experimenting, I finally landed the batch that even fools us and our taste-buds. Here’s what I’ve learned in this “brownie” journey:
- Tollhouse cocoa powder has a strong bitter taste (sorry Tollhouse), and Hershey’s made all the difference in the taste
- The greek yogurt batch and the canola oil batch had the exact same texture, only that the greek yogurt gave off a very sour taste, whereas with the batch with the oil, you could taste the chocolate a lot more
- Sometimes less is more, in my most successful batch, I used less cocoa powder and it tasted more chocolatey…not sure how that works but it worked
- Puree the snot out of those beans! That’s the key to this recipe, if you do not puree them enough, the texture will be lumpy and therefore…beany
- The batch that had no salt vs. the batch with salt…couldn’t tell the difference, so I left the salt out
- I cooked four batches total, two in a glass pan, and two in a disposable tin pan…and the two in the disposable tin pan did better, and did not stick to the pan
- Instant coffee granules will overpower this recipe: in one batch, I used 2 tsp. instant coffee and in the other batch, I only used 1 tsp. In both batches, the coffee came on real strong, so if you like that strong coffee taste then go for it! If not, you may want to omit it. We did and we liked them better that way.
- LET THE BROWNIES COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE SERVING….I know, it will be torture, but you must. If you cut into those brownies before the half hour of resting, then they will fall apart.
- The taste of the final batch of the brownies tasted even better when they were chilled – I put them in a zip-lock baggie with a moist paper towel to keep them moist, and they were ever so moist indeed. I purposely kept myself from eating them so I could see how long they could last in the fridge, the furthest they lasted was a week and a half…and they tasted just as good as they did the first day, maybe even better since the flavors got to settle after awhile
Yes, I think that’s about it. Learned quite a bit on this experiment! So, if you are someone like me, who has a major sweet-tooth but wants to eat well and healthy, then try these out. What I love most about this recipe is that they are mostly made out of beans, and beans are full of protein and fiber – so this is a dessert that will make you feel full without weighing you down. Enjoy and happy cooking!
I’d like to thank all of the daring chefs (much have researched over a dozen different of you) out there on google who have posted their recipes of this on there – your recipes helped me along my own experiments, as well as your advice! Thank you!!
BROWNIES REVISITED (if you read anything, READ THIS!)
I haven’t made these in about two weeks, and last night, I had a hankerin’ for some of those brownies (didn’t last long did I?) – and I followed the recipe that I just posted. And guess what? I forgot to type in the recipe one of the key ingredients: the baking powder! I edited this blog and put it in there, and hopefully you haven’t tried to make these yet without the baking powder. Sorry guys!
And another thing…if this is your first time making these brownies, before you begin, I want you to walk away with three pieces of advice on this: make sure the black beans are as smooth as possible before adding the rest of the ingredients. Puree them for 5 minutes if you have to! The second thing is, is that these brownies taste great after you bake them…but they taste even better the next day. Kind of like a stew, the longer these little jewels sit in the fridge, the more concentrated the flavors get. I’ll add this on to the end of the directions to make sure you don’t skip this. After your brownies have cooled, put them in a zip-lock baggie with a moist paper towel on top of them (this makes sure they stay moist, even after a week). These brownies taste way better chilled, so do not worry about having to heat them up! So if you are making these to impress someone, make these the night before! And lastly, when you are mixing everything in the processor, save the eggs and the baking powder for the very last items to be added. You don’t want to over mix after these two ingredients have been added, because they are the ingredients that give these brownies their height.
Chocolatey Black Bean Brownies
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 can of black beans, rinsed and dried
3 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. Hershey’s cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. melted semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 handful of chocolate chips
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1. In a large food processor, pour in the oil and put beans on top. Pureed until very smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the chocolate chips, eggs and baking powder). Blend until smooth. Then add the eggs and baking powder, blend only for a few seconds until combined.
2. Pour in greased disposable tin pan (8×8), sprinkle on the chocolate chips, and place in 350 degree oven to bake for 25 minutes or until the top has begun to crack (even if you see the cracks before the 25 minute mark, take them out! You don’t want these to over-bake.)
3. Let sit on the counter inside the pan for at least a half hour. You can eat them after they’ve cooled, or (as suggested above) you can put them in a zip-lock baggie with a moist paper towel laid on top of the brownies to lock in that moisture. Put them in the fridge and devour the next morning for breakfast 🙂 They taste so much better the next day!