Happy New Year! How has it been treating you so far? Did you wake up on January 1st filled with resolve to eat more healthily, drink less and see the inside of the gym more often? Yeah, me too. Not that I have as yet. But after three weeks of rich food, many cookies and practically unlimited cocktails I am actually looking forward to cutting back. First I have to stock the fridge however because at the moment it is rather pathetically empty. All we have is chillies, blue cheese and a bit of milk. Which is going to make for an interesting dinner tonight.
We also had some black beans, eggs and a bag of frozen berries lurking in the fridge and freezer and so I finally decided to try my hand at black bean brownies – having bookmarked a recipe in the Tori Haschka book Cut the Carbs about a year ago. Black bean brownies are naturally gluten free, low in fat – under 4% – and high in fibre. But don’t let that put you off – they are also squidgy and gooey just like any good brownie ought to be and taste chocolatey without any chocolate. My children were completely fooled which goes to show that you can have your cake (or brownie) and eat it too. If you fancy a little something sweet without any guilt you should give these a go.
I tweaked the recipe from the book but the main ingredients you will need are black beans, egg, sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder. The berries are totally optional and can be replaced with cocoa nibs or chocolate chips if you want a hit of actual naughtiness in there. You can also add orange zest or coffee and customise them to your taste. The batter is simplicity itself – simply blitz all the ingredients in the Vitamix or a food processor. And now all that stands between you and yumminess is 35 minutes in the oven. I used my vintage brioche tins here but a muffin tin or small loaf tin would work as well.
Black bean brownies with red berries
1x400g | 14oz tin black beans, drained and rinsed
100g | 3.5oz soft brown sugar
3 medium eggs
3 level tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (or raw cacao)
1 tbsp date syrup (substitute with honey)
1 tsp (gluten free) baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
100g | 3.5oz frozen red berries (optional)
icing sugar to dust (optional)
a little butter to grease the tin
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease a silicone muffin tin (or line with cases) or grease and line a small loaf tin with baking paper. Depending on size of muffin tin/cases you will have enough batter for 8 – ten brownies.
- Add all the ingredients to a Vitamix or food processor and blitz until you have a smooth, fairly liquid, batter.
- Divide between your muffin tin, filling only halfway up or pour into the prepared loaf tin. Scatter a few frozen berries over the top (they will sink into the batter slightly as the brownies bake).
- Bake for 35 minutes or until firm on top. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes or longer and then carefully turn out – they are quite fragile.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Notes: around 180 calories per 70g serving (based on 8 servings).