Black Bean Brownies

IMG_0746Sounds weird, right?  Well, there has to be a reason why they’re popping up all over the place so I decided to investigate.  I know.  Its hard work eating all that chocolate.  Seriously though, there are enough recipes out there that each is going to give a different version so you can get exactly what you want.  So how did I decide which recipes to try?  Well, AllRecipes is great because it self-selects the best recipe from the site, Melissa D’Arabian just because, Giada De Laurentiis trained as a pastry chef (recipe below) and Chocolate Covered Katie looked like the super healthy version (gluten-free and vegan).  A couple days before I began my brownie extravaganza I cooked up a bag of dried black beans.  It was fairly easy but I quickly understood why canned beans are so popular…its time consuming.

Clockwise starting at the top: AllRecipes, Giada, Melissa, Katie

So what is my take on each of the brownies?

See how rich that brownie looks? (AllRecipes)

All Recipes was the thinnest batter of them all (most likely because it had the most eggs:3 and no source of ‘flour’).  It was also the only batter to form a gigantic bubble as it baked.  Think about those giant air bubbles that forms where the crust meets the sauce.  It was exactly like that except pretty much the entire pan was a bubble.  Once it cooled down, the bubble floated back down into place and had a flat surface.  This brownie had the most fudgy consistency.  Meaning its also the one that I’d most likely make again.

Giada’s on top with peanut butter chips inside – I really enjoyed the peanut butter…

Giada’s brownies (see through pan) were the only ones to include an egg yoke and brown sugar for the richness.  That being said, they all called for about the same amount of cocoa, beans and oil yet these had an extremely traditional brownie taste.  That being said, there was a rougher consistency than I’d like – the oats may need to be made into oat flour then combined with everything else.

Melissa’s brownie came out just as perky as she is

Melissa’s brownie was the only one to include melted chocolate and flour (chips on top).  Since, I’m not looking for a gluten free dessert, I thought it would be a great way to experiment but its something to keep in mind if you are interested in going gluten free.  Its also the one with the least amount of black beans – half all the others.  This is where I noticed that my black beans may not have been cooked enough since there was a little more bite to the brownies that I had anticipated.  My bad.  I think/hope.

Katie’s brownies

Chocolate Covered Katie’s had a nice thick batter (white pan).  One thing that I learned from the other batters, though, was that doing things in steps helps to create a more uniform consistency.  This one just came out chunkier than the rest even though I probably spent the most time pulverizing this one.  Again, if I make this one in the future, I’ll probably do the oats first to start breaking them down into oat flour followed by beans and oil and then everything else.  The main advantage of this brownie is that its vegan-friendly.  That translated into a brownie that fell apart/crumbled as I cut into it.  Maybe that’s because the oats need to be ground then removed and then the beans can go in and made into a paste with the oil?  Not sure.  Its not what I’m looking for in a brownie but I’m know there are others out there who need a decent recipe and this one could be a great base if you add everything in steps.  And Katie, if you see this, give me some hints to your success!

Giada’s Brownies:

Her’s are expresso and peanut butter…I am cutting that stuff out.

1 15 oz can of black beans – rinsed and well drained.

3 T unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 c rolled oats

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 c packed light brown sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 large egg + 1 yolk, RT

1/4 c coconut oil in liquid format (I subbed veggie oil because that’s what I had)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter the pan then dust with cocoa powder.  (She suggests spraying + parchment paper)

2. Ingredients going into the food processor: black beans, cocoa powder, oats, salt, sugar, vanilla, egg and egg yolk.  Puree to combine then drizzle in the coconut oil then puree until smooth (~30 s).  Half the chips go on top, half go under the batter.

3. Bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.  Cool to room temp before cutting in…



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