Monday, April 9, 2012

Black Bean Brownies - Gluten Free

I've read about the "Black Bean Brownie" phenomenon around the web several times in the past few months.

Honestly, the first couple of times I read the recipes, I thought the people must be just plain nuts.

Who in the world would substitute beans for flour in a dessert?

Better yet, how could it be possible for the brownies not to taste like beans?

Who could possibly be fooled by such a thing?

Curiosity finally got the best of me after reading reports of how good black bean brownies are from so many sources, so I broke down and made some.  I did it during nap time, so none of the kids or the husband had a clue. 

When I served them up, I informed Grant that the brownies had no flour in them.  He was surprised and very skeptical. 
He took a small piece, said they were pretty good but not his favorite, and left it at that.  When I eventually told them what the secret ingredient was, he was nothing short of incredulous.
Could. Not. Believe. It.

"Knowing that makes them taste SO much better!  I feel like I'm getting healthier just by eating them!" he exclaimed.  He went on to eat a couple of large pieces.

Personally, I think they're great! 

No, they're not my favorite brownie (like this one or this one), mainly because the texture is kind of - for lack of a better word - feathery.  They almost melt in your mouth.  Not in a bad way, but I prefer brownies to be chewy. 

Other than that, they're really chocolaty, have absolutely no bean flavor at all, and except for the sugar content, are pretty much guilt-free.

I love having this recipe in my repertoire, for occasions when I want to make a dessert for someone who is gluten-free, and also for when we want a simple and delicious chocolate treat that isn't tremendously unhealthy. 

I'm told that if you add 1/3 cup flour to the recipe, the texture becomes more like traditional brownies - I may try that sometime.  Just to see.  But I really like them the way they are.

Recipe: (adapted from Life in a Shoe and Finding Joy in my Kitchen)

1 (15 oz) can black beans
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark)
3 eggs
3 T. oil (I used coconut)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (can try peanut butter chips, Andes baking bits, etc)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Drain beans in a colander and rinse very well.  Put beans in a blender with all other ingredients except chocolate chips and puree until completely smooth.
Pour into a greased 8 or 9" square baking pan.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out nearly clean.


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed these! Isn't it shocking that you can't taste the beans?!?!

  2. Ok, I am completely intrigued by this!!! I need to make these just so I can try it out. You had me at the melt in your mouth description:-)


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