Guess-the-Ingredient Brownies

August 26, 2008 at 1:34 am 7 comments

I think I’ve probably tried a hundred brownie recipes. Every kind of chocolate, different spices, fudgey and cakey and everything inbetween. But seriously, I’d never tried any brownies like these ones before. Sometimes a recipe sounds so intriguing that you have to try it, even if it means a trip to the grocery store. These brownies are soft, rich, creamy, and fudge-like with the occasional walnut. Any idea what’s in them?

They’re black beans! I know! Delicious in burritos and salsa. Not so much in brownies. When I first read the recipe I was really turned off by the idea of black bean mixed with chocolate. Then I thought about how I always roll my eyes when I see someone grossed out by the idea of pumpkin mixed into brownies. I figured these brownies were definitely worth a shot. The recipe is from Ania Catalano’s Baking with Agave Nectar: Over 100 Recipes Using Nature’s Ultimate Sweetener and it is surprisingly good. I did get a hint of the beans, but it wasn’t unpleasant. My mom didn’t taste anything at all, and she liked these better than my usual brownies.

Black Bean Brownies

4 oz baker’s (unsweetened) chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups soft cooked or canned black beans, well drained
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup natural coffee substitute or instant coffee
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups light agave nectar or honey

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 11×18 inch rimmed baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter on high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely.

Process the beans, 1/2 cup walnuts, vanilla extract, and several spoonfuls of the chocolate in a food processor for 2 minutes, or until the batter is thick and smooth.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee substitute, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs for about 1 minute until lightened and creamy. Add the agave nectar and beat until well combined.

Stir the bean-chocolate and chocolate-walnut mixtures together. Add all of the egg mixture except 1/2 cup, combine, and then pour into the pan.

Beat the last 1/2 cup egg-agave mixture until light and fluffy, then pour over batter in pan. Swirl with a toothpick. Bake brownies for 30-40 minutes until they’ve set. Brownies will be very soft after baking. Cool completely and refrigerate before cutting into bars.

Makes 45 2″ brownies.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amber  |  September 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Cooking from scratch is always better than from a box, but I’ve made delicious black bean brownies before by taking a can of black beans (drained and rinsed), blending them with one cup of water, and mixing the blended beans with one box of brownie mix instead of adding the oil and eggs that the box calls for. The brownies are moist and delicious, do not taste at all like beans, and, depending on the brownie mix you buy, may be vegan (check the ingredients in the dark chocolate mixes).

    Reply
  • 2. Marie-Sophie  |  November 26, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    :-D I originally saw these in Heidi’s 101cookbooks-blog … I also was intrigued by this recipe!! And as we don’t have canned black beans in Germany (I know it sounds like we don’t have ANYTHING here at all *g* …but we’re doing ok ;-)) I had to buy dried black beans, soak them, cook them … but the outcome was amazing!! No one (!!) was able to guess the secret ingredient and everyone loved it (my boyfriend ate half of the brownies and even after hearing what was in them he couldn’t be stopped!)

    Great recipe!! Everyone should give this a try!! Plus it’s kind of healthy ;-)

    Reply
  • 3. Brooke  |  February 25, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I dont want to sound rude or anything i think your a great girl but what’s the point of putting the beans in if you cant taste them its just a waste.

    Reply
    • 4. Elissa  |  February 25, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      Hi Brooke, you can certainly taste the beans! I thought it gave the brownies a really interesting flavor and creamy texture. It also makes a healthier brownie for people who might be trying to eat healthier. Of course, if you’d rather not waste the beans, make some all-chocolate brownies! :)

  • 5. Marie-Pier  |  November 27, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Hey, I just discovered your blog and I want to read it from the very first entry to the very last. I also want to try lots of these :)
    I really enjoy your writing, and I look forward to read your next entry!
    Have a good Thanksgiving break! And btw, I will def. try this one :)

    Reply
  • 6. livinglearningeating  |  July 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Must. Make. Now.

    Reply
  • 7. the brownies  |  April 15, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Hi, this weekend is nice designed for me, as this point in
    time i am reading this wonderful educational article here at
    my residence.

    Reply

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Elissa Bernstein



I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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