Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chocolate Black Bean Bites

This all started because of our new "healthy lifestyle" (which somehow includes binging on potato chips and late at night too -- but only the good ones, of course). I read somewhere that one could make brownies using a brownie mix and substituting puréed black beans for the egg(s) and oil.

I don't usually crave sweet things, but brownies are a favorite. So, this piece of news was perfect! For some reason the idea of using beans appealed to me. Call me strange.

The problem was, obviously, that we didn't have any brownie mix in the house. Obviously. ;)

I wasn't about to run to the store and get a box of brownie mix. That requires effort. So I thought I should just take a brownie-from-scratch recipe and omit the eggs and fat, then add the puréed beans. It should work.

There it is, the secret ingredient.

I used Alton Brown's Cocoa Brownie recipe. I didn't want to go through the hassle of chopping chocolate, so just cocoa it is. I omitted the eggs -- all 4 of them -- and the butter.

It was a bit "challenging", since the first instruction in the recipe was to beat eggs and sugar together until fluffy. Hmm. No matter. I simply mixed together all the ingredients: sugar, cocoa, flour, vanilla and salt. Then, I added the black beans.

It sure looked like brownie batter. Into the 300F oven the pan went.

While I was waiting for them to bake, I started browsing online and came upon a "real" Black Bean Brownie recipe. Reading through it, I started thinking that omitting the eggs -- all 4 of them -- may be a mistake.

I believe that brownie mixes often call for just one egg. Is that correct? This recipe called for 4 eggs. Surely they must be good for something! How are my brownies to rise? (Do eggs make brownies rise?) Or do whatever it is that the eggs are supposed to make them do?

I should've searched online first before starting anything!

Well, it was too late. I checked my brownies after a while, but I couldn't tell if they were cooked enough or not! So I left them in the oven for 15 more minutes, making the total baking time one whole hour. That may have been a tad too long.

There they are after a stint in the refrigerator overnight, as I wanted them to firm up for cutting. The top had a sheen to it. Strange.

I tried a piece.

It certainly wasn't bad! But, I don't know if it was the lack of eggs, or the long time they spent in the oven, or a combination of the two factors, but the texture wasn't cake-y, nor was it fudge-y. Hence, I am calling them "bites" instead. ;)

Of course, I still prefer "real" brownies.

But, the next time I do try these again, I'll use an actual black bean brownie recipe instead of making one up myself. I don't know what's going on with this baking, I tell you.

Obviously there's no use in me giving you the recipe for what I made. So, here are a few links to real recipes. have cake, will travel has THREE versions of black bean brownies! Her recipes don't call for eggs either, being vegan. So perhaps my version wasn't too botched up. =)

Alton Brown: Cocoa Brownies
101 Cookbooks: Amazing Black Bean Brownies Recipe
have cake, will travel: Activist Mommy's Vegan Brownies
have cake, will travel: Adapted Black Bean "Brownies"
have cake, will travel: No-Bake Black Bean "Brownies"

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  1. I tried making black bean brownies once. And that is all I am going to say about that. (I threw them out and made my mom promise to never mention them again). These definitely look way better than my finished product!

  2. What an interesting concept it would be interesting to try one of the recipes & see if I could sneak them past Matt

  3. Never heard of this before... this reminds me of Japanese Wagashi. I might try this when I know how to operate our oven...

  4. I dunno about the black bean brownies, but I quite like what you've done by dusting the cocoa on the fork. So pretty!

  5. I've heard of these, and have been wanting to try them for a while. Apparently the sheen comes from the sugar that becomes syrupy - I read that somewhere...LOL!

  6. You're brave, girls. I've tried applesauce in brownies but never beans. Then again, I've used chickpeas in pound cake so maybe you're on to something here. Either way, I'm morbidly curious now and want to try.

  7. Joanne:
    Haha, OK, I won't ask for details. ;)

    You don't actually taste black bean... not really. So, sneak away!

    Brian Asis:
    Take the big plunge and turn the oven on! =D

    Wandering Chopsticks:
    Food styling is not my forte... but I actually had an "idea" this time. =) Thanks!

    OK, so it's not just me totally bungling up the dish. Hehe. Thanks for the info.

    Choosy Beggar Tina:
    Oh yeah, I've heard of applesauce or puréed prunes in baked stuff. But hey, chickpeas in pound cake, you say? I saw a recipe for a chocolate chickpea spread (a la Nutella) once. I kinda want to try that too!

  8. This sounds like a great new way to enjoy brownies!

  9. i used a recipe to make them and the consistency is still not like a real brownie. if you're on a diet or trying to eat healthier and like a more bitter chocolate flavor, i think they're good. but it's definitely not a brownie.

  10. I've made bb brownies and I love them!

    There are two types - with and without a little flour. The flourless ones are like a soft fudge, the floured ones are definitely brownies.

    I encourage you all to try again!

  11. Chocolate Shavings:
    True... but I still prefer "real" brownies, of course. ;)

    Teehee. Yes, "not" a brownie.

    Yeah, I think I will try to make them using an actual recipe, just to see what they would be like.

  12. So funny. I tried making black bean cupcakes yesterday...and I took one taste and spit it out. I might try it again...sometime in the not to near future :)

  13. Oh and the recipe I used was off the NPR time I'll search around for another recipe :)

  14. Jenny B:
    Haha... the problem with mine was the texture, as the black beans didn't really have a strong flavor. Let me know if you actually find a "good" one. ;)


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