Black beans. Dates. Cocoa Powder. Chia Seeds. Almond Milk.
Some kind of new age smoothie? NO! Brownies, friends, brownies.
Let me lay the scene: these black bean brownies are my homage to the amazing black bean brownies at Minimalist Baker. You can find that recipe here. When I first found the Minimalist Baker’s recipe online, something called to me with the lure of the siren song, saying, bake me, bake me. And so I did, and on that day, my brownie tastebuds were forever changed.
While it’s true that the most discerning brownie palate might not mistake these brownies with the triple chocolate fudge ones from your local coffee shop, there is some unexplainable je ne sais quoi that these brownies have that make them irresistible. I find now I actually somehow crave these brownies above any others. They are fudgy, just the right amount of sweet, and chocolately, yet with a hint of something more complex. And remember: these are made of beans. Let me say it again, so you can feel appropriate awe: These. Brownies. Are. Made. Of. Beans.
So, back to the story. Much as I loved the original recipe, I wanted to know if I could make these brownies with a natural sweetener, namely, dates. As suspected, the recipe held up beautifully. So, friends, let me introduce you to Black Bean Brownies that are sweetened with dates.
Bake, enjoy, marvel. These are proof that with a little ingenuity (of which the majority must be said to be owing to the minds at Minimalist Baker), every dessert can have some nutritional value. And lest we gloss over that value, let’s take a moment: these brownies are totally gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, and contain antioxidants, minerals, protein, and fibre. Lots of fibre.
Which brings me to my final note about these brownies, and it’s an important one: the thing that makes these brownies amazing (they are made of beans!) is the very same thing that warrants a brief warning: namely, they are made of beans. Your mouth might not know the difference, but I can assure you, your body (primarily your digestive system) will. What I’m saying is, though you may wish to eat three or four of these beauties in one go, I would advise gentle restraint, lest you pay the er…price. Catching my drift? Good.
Do you have a favourite black bean brownie recipe? I’d love to hear about it!
Black Bean Brownies, Sweetened with Dates
- Author: MInimalist Baker + some tweaks by Backyard Owl
- Recipe notes: vegan, soy-free, wheat-free, grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free
- Yield: 12 brownies
- 1 3/4 cup black beans, rinsed well
- 2.5 tablespoons ground chia seeds + 8 tablespoons water or non-dairy milk
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup date paste (roughly 1/2 cup very soft dates – really squish them into the measuring cup – softened even further in 1/2 -3/4 cup water and warmed over low heat until very soft and paste-like. Check for pits.)
- 3/4 cup -1 cup dairy-free mini chocolate chips (grain-sweetened, if you want to keep with the naturally-sweetened idea, but otherwise, whatever you’ve got)
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Measure beans, chia seeds, non-dairy milk, vanilla, salt, espresso powder (if using), oil, date paste, and baking powder into some kind of high-powered blender.
- Blend until very smooth, then blend a bit more. If you’re having trouble getting it smooth, feel free to add another few tablespoons of non-dairy milk, as needed.
- Pour blended bean mix into a bowl and stir in cocoa powder, adding chocolate chips near the end.
- Scoop into muffin tin, smoothing down the tops if batter is stiff.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until tops are dry, and the brownies pull just slightly away from the edges of the tin.
- Let cool, then transfer to a container and refrigerate or freeze. Note that when removing these from the muffin tin they will be soft, but heck, that’s what a fudgy brownie is all about!
© Backyard Owl