Black Bean Brownies

I tried this recipe as part of my “Lunchbox Treats with Something Extra” experiment – that is, baking sweet treats for the kids’ lunchboxes that aren’t too high in sugar and include veggies (or in this case, beans for extra protein) – and it was a resounding success. I know baked goods with beans sometimes have a slight bean flavour, but the cocoa in these brownies truly completely overwhelms the flavour of the black beans. My children were very sceptical when they helped me make them and saw the beans being whizzed up in the blender, but they loved the end result.

You can replace the coffee with any other liquid – water or milk or tea – but the coffee does help emphasise the chocolate flavour. I made a pot of coffee in the morning then made these brownies, adding a little coffee from the pot as I went. You could also make up a tiny bit of instant coffee if you’re not a brewed coffee drinker.

Recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

400g can black beans (these are often in the Mexican food section of the supermarket rather than the canned veggies section)
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 tblsp coffee
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips and a few extra for sprinkling on top

Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper. Pre-heat your oven to 160C.

Drain and rinse the beans, then pop them into a blender or food processor. Add the eggs, oil, vanilla and coffee, then whizz away until reasonably smooth. You’ll look at the weird chopped up skins of the black beans and think “my kids are definitely going to notice those in the brownies.” But trust me! They won’t.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, baking soda, salt and brown sugar – the lazy/clever person’s version of sifting. Pour in your blended bean mixture and mix together until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, saving a few for sprinkling on top.

Pour the mixture into your lined cake tin, and sprinkle your remaining chocolate chips on the top. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top feels springy and a skewer comes out clean. Let cool completely before removing from the tin and slicing into squares (or fiddly little rectangles if you’re me and you have to try and fit things into the compartments of a Yumbox lunchbox – which I mostly love, but occasionally wish the snack compartments were a little wider).


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