Thursday, January 15, 2009

Black Bean Brownies

The following is a post from my new blog, The Sugar. No worries, fearless followers, Foodaphilia isn't going anywhere. The reason for the new blog is a new focus on reduced carb and reduced sugar desserts and other cooking. This is a necessity due to a diabetes diagnosis a few months ago. Foodaphilia will still host my restaurant reviews and my truly decadent baking recipes, but The Sugar will reflect home cooking with a decidedly healthy slant, and each and every recipe will come with a single appetizing photo as well as nutritional information for the specific recipe. This post is meant as a way to introduce you and everyone else to The Sugar. Please add me to your reader or RSS feed.

From The Sugar:

When I stumbled across a recipe for Amazing Black Bean Brownies on 101 Cookbooks, I knew one day I would give it a try simply for the weird factor. At that point in my life I didn't know I had diabetes and didn't even notice the inclusion of agave nectar as the sweetener. I've been playing around with agave in baking and have had good results. It's 25% sweeter than sugar, so if you're swapping one cup of sugar in a recipe, use 3/4 of a cup of agave. The glycemic index of agave nectar is 27, extremely low compared to sugar or honey. On top of that, these brownies contain no flour and instead are loaded with black beans. That means high fiber!

These brownies are dark and rich with chocolate flavor, but they're purposely not too sweet. I like my chocolate dark and with little added sugar or milk to dilute the flavor of chocolate, therefore its very important to use the best chocolate you can find when you make this recipe. I made enough changes to the recipe that I'm publishing my version here, but if you're interested in more baking with agave nectar, check out the recipe's origin in Baking with Agave Nectar by Ania Catalano.

Black Bean Brownies 022

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli Unsweetened baking bar, chopped)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups canned black beans (look for a variety that has no salt added)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
¼ cup instant espresso powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 cup light agave nectar

In a large microwave safe bowl melt the butter and chocolate at 30 second intervals until completely smooth.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, vanilla extract, almond extract, and about 1/2 cup of the melted chocolate mixture. Process until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. The mixture will be thick.

Add the remaining walnuts, the espresso powder, and salt to the remaining melted chocolate and mix well.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minutes. Add the agave nectar and mix to combine.

Add the bean mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until completely incorporated. Reserve 1/2 cup of the egg mixture and pour the remainder in the bean/chocolate mixture and mix well. Spread this batter into a 9 X 13 brownie pan that you've lined with parchment or non-stick aluminum foil. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup of egg mixture on high until thick and creamy, about 1 minute. Drizzle the thickened egg mixture over the top of the brownies and drag a toothpick or cake tester (I used a chopstick) through the batter and egg mix to create a marbled effect. (As you can see from the above photo, I probably didn't swirl my egg mixture in enough, but the end result wasn't totally unattractive, and the recipe still worked) Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Mine were done right at 30 minutes. When done the brownies will be slightly browned on top, but will still feel soft. In fact, these brownies will still feel soft until refrigerated for a few hours, and if you can wait overnight. Don't attempt to slice until refrigerated for at least 3 hours.

Makes 24 brownies.

Each brownie contains 14 grams of fat, 196 calories, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.


  1. Cate said...
    Whooaaa, beans and chocolate TOGETHER?? I'm decidedly curious. Can I make you a banner for your new blog? :)
    My Year Without said...
    This recipe reminds me of an adzuki bean frosting recipe that I came across recently but haven't made yet.
    Question: Could someone who didn't know that these brownies were made with beans, taste anything that would lead them to believe there were beans in their brownies?

    Also, excited to check out your new SUGAR blog. Very sorry to hear that you have diabetes...

    Glad that you are going to write about it! I have quite a few blog readers who are diabetic--i will be sure to send them your way!
    e said...
    Cate - Yes, please!

    My Year Without - Thanks, I've been checking out your blog. Lots of interesting looking recipes. I'll let you know how they turn out when I make them.

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