Just 4 ingredients are all it takes to make these brownie mix black bean brownies—5 if you add some chocolate chips! They're incredibly moist, low in fat and have a rich chocolate taste.
Why use a brownie mix?
My second cookbook, Gluten Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy, has an entire chapter (Chapter 8!) called Make-Your-Own Mixes. I've got a mix for everything from pancakes, cakes, muffins, cookies, and brownies. But for the longest time, and perhaps since I don't remember using mixes growing up, I didn't understand the point of a baking mix.
I mean, why pay a premium for a box with just a few ingredients in it, often little more than flour and baking soda or powder, plus maybe some salt? It doesn't save much if any, time. But then I got it.?
It's not about the time savings. It's about the guarantee of success. Baking mixes hold the key to home-baked good success, without fear of failure. And when you're just trying to get through the day, you don't have time or patience for anything less.
You can have that same level of certainty with my DIY mix recipes, not only because my recipes are carefully formulated and can be made ahead of time in just minutes. You can trust them to work every time because you're going to make them with a digital kitchen scale. It's easier than using volume measurements, and it's precise every time.
But if you don't have a scale, or if you'd just prefer to use a store-bought mix to make these brownie mix black bean brownies, you can! I tried them using King Arthur Flour's Gluten Free Brownie Mix, and the recipe worked.
The King Arthur Flour brownie mix wasn't nearly as good as the version using my DIY mix. But it worked like a charm. I plan to try using a Dunkin Hines gluten free brownie mix, and I'll report back about my results.
No butter, no oil
These brownies aren't flourless like my original black bean brownies. But they're still much better for you than traditional brownies, as they don't have any butter or oil in them at all. They don't need it, thanks to the black beans.
I'm not entirely sure exactly why black beans work in brownies and even cookies, but they seem to pinch hit for butter in this recipe, and for flour in the original black bean brownie recipe.
One of the best things about baking with black beans is not only that they're more healthful than whatever they're substituting for, but they're “free” on Weight Watchers. So if you're interested in Weight Watchers recipes, and you're comfortable using a 1:1 granulated sugar substitute like Swerve (see full instructions below in the Ingredients and Substitutions section), each one of 15 generous brownies would have close to 1 SmartPoint each. ? Adding the optional chocolate chips will increase the point value, though, so go easy on them.
Ingredients and substitutions
If you're using my recipe for homemade brownie mix, you'll not only make better brownies, but you'll have the ability to make additional ingredient substitutions. There aren't many ingredients in the brownie mix (gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and sugar), but there are a few other substitutions you might like to make.
These black bean brownies are naturally dairy free (if you use dairy-free chocolate chips) and nearly fat-free. If you don't have to be gluten free, I believe the recipe would work with a conventional 17-ounce brownie mix. If your mix has more than 17-ounces, just measure out the 17 ounces you'll need.
Egg-free: Since there's only one egg in this recipe, you should be able to replace it successfully with one “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). The egg really does help the brownies stay together so I wouldn't just eliminate it without a substitute.
Coffee: I love coffee ☕. In fact, I go to bed most nights thinking about the cup I'm going to have as soon as I wake up the next morning. But I also have a really sensitive palate, and I promise you can't taste the coffee in these brownies.
The coffee is there to bring out the flavor of the cocoa, and to help mask any remaining flavor of beans (of which there really is none). However, if you'd like to replace the coffee, you can use any sort of milk you like—or even water. The only thing that will suffer is taste.
Sugar-free: Without all the granulated sugar in these brownies, they would even be super Weight Watchers-friendly. *sigh* You can try replacing the granulated sugar in the brownie mix with either Swerve granulated sugar substitute, or Lankato monkfruit granulated white sugar substitute.
Any granulated sugar substitute will likely have a drying effect, so you might have to add a bit more liquid (coffee or milk) if the batter isn't at all pourable. You can't use a liquid sweetener in place of a granulated one, though, so honey or maple syrup isn't a proper substitute. If you'd like an unrefined sugar, try using coconut palm sugar.
Watch this 1-minute how-to video
Click play ▶ in the photo either below (on mobile) or at the top of the page (on desktop) to watch the short how-to video. See how easy it is, then make your own!
Brownie Mix Black Bean Brownies
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup (8 fluid ounces) brewed coffee (decaf is fine), at room temperature
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature
1 17-ounce package gluten free brownie mix (homemade or store-bought)
3 to 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan and set it aside.
Place the drained and rinsed black beans, coffee and egg in a blender or food processor, and blend or process until as smooth as possible. There will still be some visible black bean flecks. In a large bowl, place the brownie mix and about half of the optional chocolate chips, and mix to distribute the chocolate chips throughout the dry ingredients. Add the black bean mixture, and mix to combine. The batter will be thickly pourable, thicker or thinner depending upon the brownie mix used. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and shake into an even layer. Scatter the remaining optional chocolate chips evenly over the top of the batter.
Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs attached. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before slicing into 12 or 15 squares and serving. Wrap any leftover brownies individually in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for a few days or in the freezer for longer storage.
Irene Fraser says
Hi Nicole, Irene from the UK here again, how on earth can something made with beans taste so fantastic. You truly are my favourite person!xxxx
Nicole Hunn says
Hahaha Irene I know!! Seriously I have flashbacks still from the early early days in 2004 and 2005 when I baked exclusively with a bean flour blend because that’s all I knew. But this does not taste like beans, thankfully!
Laurie Johnson says
I appreciate your weight watcher friendly recipes. I am not technically on weight watchers, but who can’t appreciate healthier dessert options. I will give these brownies a try. Thanks.
Nicole Hunn says
That’s what I think, Laurie! If it tastes good and is healthier/less caloric, why not? ?
Patricia Wilson says
I just made your GF No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake and it is in the frig hardening up. I tasted the filling and declare it utterly delicious. Thanks for sharing this elegant dessert recipe with us.
Nicole Hunn says
Hi, Patricia, thank you so much for letting me know!
These look yummy. But how can they be zero points if they contain a brownie mix? Hope I’m missing something cause would love to have them?
Nicole Hunn says
Oh, Freda, I wish! As I mentioned in the post, “if you’re comfortable using a 1:1 granulated sugar substitute like Swerve (see full instructions below in the Ingredients and Substitutions section), each one of 15 generous brownies would have close to 1 SmartPoint each.” You’d have to zero out the sugar, first, but using a granulated sugar substitute, and then each of 15 brownies has about 1 SmartPoint, give or take.