Salted Black Bean Brownies

I have a huge sweet tooth and chocolate is my kryptonite, especially in the form of brownies and cookies. But, eating either of those things on a regular basis isn't plausible if I want to cut down on consuming empty calories. If I'm going to have any chocolate, might as well get some nutritional value out of it, right? 

Well, over the summer and before I started my current meal plan, I made black bean brownies. I was a little wary of how brownies made out of black beans and without any flour would taste. Turns out, I couldn't taste the difference between these brownies and ones made from store-bought mixes. In fact, these had a richer, fudgy flavor provided by espresso powder and were more satisfying than regular brownies. Also, black beans pack a lot of fiber, vitamins and protein. Topping the brownies with sea salt adds a nice bite to the rich chocolate flavor.

Here's the recipe for one of the variations I've tried. My next variation will be replacing the white sugar with honey and canola oil with coconut oil to see how the texture and flavor changes. I've also included steps to a quick, but optional, chocolate avocado frosting you can spread on top of the brownies and then garnish with sea salt. 

Here's what you'll need: 

1 15oz can of black beans (rinsed and drained) 

½ cup of chocolate morsels

2 eggs

½ cup of cocoa powder

¾ cup + 1 T of white sugar

1 T espresso powder

½ tsp of baking powder

½ tsp of salt

1 tsp of vanilla extract

3 T of canola oil 

½ cup of peanut butter morsels (optional)

½ cup of walnuts (optional)

Sea Salt for garnish

Directions: 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

2. In a food processor, blend all of the dry ingredients -- the beans, espresso powder, chocolate chips, baking powder, sugar, and cocoa powder -- together until smooth. 

3.  Add the vanilla extract, oil and eggs and blend them again until smooth. You may need a spatula to scrape the sides of the food processor. 

4. Stir in peanut butter morsels and/or walnuts using a spatula. 

5. In a 9x9 baking pan lined with lightly greased parchment paper, pour in the brownie mixture and spread it evenly using a spatula. 

6. Sprinkle sea salt over the brownies.

7. Bake the brownies for 20-25 minutes. It's okay if you use a toothpick to test for doneness and see a bit of chocolate smeared on the toothpick. Remember, the brownies are supposed to be fudgy. 

Chocolate Avocado Frosting (Optional) 

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado

¼ cup cocoa powder

3-4 T of honey (to taste)

Pinch of salt

1-2 T of Almond Milk

½ tsp of vanilla extract 

Directions: 

1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor with the exception of the milk and honey until well combined. 

2. Add honey by the tablespoon or half tablespoon until you reach your desired taste. 

3. Add almond milk until the frosting is thick but smooth. 

4. Spread over the brownies and garnish the brownies with sea salt. 

Comment or send me an e-mail to let me know how these turned out! If you made any changes, feel free to tell me about them as well! I'll be updating this post again this weekend with the honey/coconut oil variation, so keep an eye out for that!