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Black Bean Brownies

Black Bean Brownies

Black bean brownies are a special kind of flourless gluten free brownie, and this amazing recipe doesn’t taste at ALL like beans. Really! Tasting is believing.

Black bean brownies are a special kind of flourless gluten free brownie, and this amazing recipe doesn’t taste at ALL like beans. Really!

I think can agree that baking with beans mostly means tasting beans. But it doesn’t have to be that way! I’m about to show you that sometimes you can bake with beans and not taste them.

Here’s the deal:

I have a long, and rather unfortunate past relationship with baking with beans. When I first started baking gluten free, way, way back in 2004 (not a typo), my first “all purpose gluten free flour” was Bette Hagman’s bean flour blend.

I blended it myself. It mostly worked, and I made sure that everything I baked had a nice, strong flavor to compete with the garbanzo bean flour.

But my gosh the smell! And the taste, I’m afraid, too. Just … no.

Black Bean Brownies Photo

These naturally gluten free black bean brownies are truly flourless, like our fudgy flourless brownies. But the base is black beans.

Now, I love black beans—in my burritos. And, say, on Taco Tuesday. But in my brownies? I was seriously skeptical. But also intrigued!

Black bean brownies are a special kind of flourless gluten free brownie, and this amazing recipe doesn’t taste at ALL like beans. Really!

When I set to work, I knew they weren’t going to be fudgy, but we already had that covered. And you know there was no way I was going to publish a recipe in one of my gluten free cookbooks or on my blog that wasn’t solid.

I figured maybe I’d play around with a recipe a bit, and then send my experiments to the circular file. Was I ever wrong!

Black Bean Brownies Photo just out of the oven

Now I can’t emphasize this enough:

You do not taste the beans in these brownies. The vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and bit of brewed coffee take care of that (no, you don’t taste the coffee either—just the chocolate!).

And these brownies still deliver a whole lot of fiber without any downside. This also means you can make moist and rich gluten free brownies—without any specialized flours or other ingredients.

Black bean brownies are a special kind of flourless gluten free brownie, and this amazing recipe doesn’t taste at ALL like beans. Really!

The only equipment you need is any blender (both my high-speed blender and my mini, nonfancy blender that I got for free ages ago work perfectly) or food processor. The only ingredients are a can of black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, brown sugar, vanilla, a touch of baking soda, salt and some brewed coffee (even decaf). That’s all. 

These black bean brownies are tender as could be, plus rich and not-too-sweet. I bet they’d even work with coconut palm sugar in place of brown sugar, too.

Color me surprised. 😳

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 9 to 12 brownies

Ingredients

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed well

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature

1/4 cup (56 g) neutral oil (like grapeseed, canola or vegetable)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee (can use decaf)

3/4 cup (60 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed, your choice)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (164 g) packed light brown sugar

3 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper with cooking oil spray, and set the pan aside.

  • In a blender or food processor, place the drained and rinsed beans, eggs, oil, vanilla and coffee, and blend or process until smooth. In a large bowl, place the cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and brown sugar, and whisk to combine well, breaking up any lumps in the brown sugar. Create a well in the center of the cocoa powder mixture and add the pureed bean mixture. Mix until well-combined. Add about half of the (optional) chocolate chips to the batter and mix to combine. The mixture will be thickly pourable.

  • Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining (optional) chocolate chips even on top of the batter, and press down gently to help the chips adhere.

  • Place the baking pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the top springs back when pressed gently with a finger (about 25 minutes). Remove the pan from the oven, place it on a wire rack (still in the pan) and allow to cool until no longer hot to the touch. Remove from the pan and slice into squares with a sharp knife. For cleaner slicing, cover and chill the bars in the pan for 30 minutes before removing from the pan and slicing.

Love,
Nicole

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  • Jennifer S.

    YOU DID IT!! So proud of you. I will try these out ASAP….

    • LOL, Jennifer! I was wondering if you would be willing to give them a try, considering that you have some unfortunate experience with another recipe for black bean brownies. :)

  • Mare Masterson

    You boldly went where you would not go before! Okay, I will try them too!

  • NickiB

    I was wondering if I could use melted butter or coconut oil in place of a “neutral” tasting oil, as butter and coconut oil are what I typically have on hand.
    Cannot wait to try these!

  • Victoria Donaldson

    WOWZERS! If you say it tastes good, I’ll trust you, cause you’ve never failed before. But must admit my first reaction was the same as yours. Will try!

    • I’m honored that you trust me like that, Victoria! I promise, they’re so good and even stay moist for days after. :)

  • Vivian

    Yes, I too wanted to know if the recipe would work with coconut oil or butter?

    • Sherry L

      You are probably better off using a fat that is liquid at room temp. Using melted butter or coconut oil might change both the taste and texture. Have fun experimenting!

      • Sherry you’ve been a huge help. Thank you so much for jumping in. And you’re 100% right!

  • Amanda

    Can you make this without using coffee?

    • Sherry L

      The coffee helps mask the flavor of the beans and enhances the flavor of the chocolate, and you won’t even taste the coffee flavor(unless you use espresso, but even then, it is only 2 TBS). Omitting the coffee will affect the flavor of the brownies, but if you do decide to omit it, don’t forget to replace it with another liquid(water, or maybe your favorite flavor of tea???). Good luck with your experiment!

  • Julia (TheRoastedRoot.net)

    Black bean brownies are seriously my favorite! I love that you can whip them up in a blender, bake them off, and go to town guilt-free since they’re basically healthy. I like using coconut sugar or pure maple syrup to sweeten mine and am always so psyched when I give them to my friends and they ask me what they’re made out of. Brilliant, indeed!

  • Karen

    I am also wondering if you can make these without coffee?

    • As Sherry mentioned below, any liquid will work, but the strong flavor of the brewed coffee helps to mask any residual bean flour and enhances the chocolate flavor. You don’t taste the coffee. Like Steph above, you may not be very sensitive to any bean taste—but those you serve it to may indeed! So I recommend making it with coffee. Maybe try decaf coffee. The caffeine isn’t at all necessary.

    • Ray

      Coffee is only there to naturally bring out the aromatics in the chocolate.

  • Steph

    I just made these and they are yummy! I substituted milk for the coffee and it worked fine for me.

  • Edith D Thurman

    I’ve never used coffee in my black bean brownies and there is no way you can tell its beans just lots of dark yummy chocolate! I also make my own chocolate though!

  • Lynette Low Locatelli

    Can you use an egg substitute like flax seed n water?

  • Faith

    The suspense was absolutely killing me so I had to try them. Even hubby-with very sensitive taste buds-couldn’t guess they were black beans! We liked them so much I am making another batch this week. I followed the recipe almost exactly (but swapped half the brown sugar amount for a brown sugar Truvia baking blend to lower the calories). We both agreed that since they were a moist, cake-like brownie instead of a chewy type, the next batch must have peanut butter frosting on them or peanut butter chips mixed in. Glad you tried these out first Nicole. I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to go there on my own!

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