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Black Bean Brownies

These brownies from No Packet November ambassador Louise Keats are so delicious. They are from Louise's book Wholefood Child, so make sure you visit the website and grab yourself a copy.

I recently heard gut health expert Dr Jason Hawrelak remark in a podcast interview on the benefits of black beans for our health: “With black beans we’ve got the black polyphenols, we’ve got a range of soluble and insoluble fibres, we’ve got resistant starches and we have oligosaccharides, all in one package. You can’t find anything else that’s got four or five different ways of feeding the microbiome like you get with a legume like that.”

Plus, they taste absolutely amazing in a brownie. Bonus!

If you leave out the walnuts, these make a great school lunchbox treat. Your child may find the cacao nibs a little bitter, in which case you can simply leave them off the top.

INGREDIENTS

170g dried black beans (see Tips) 60g virgin coconut oil, plus extra for greasing 100g quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa) (see Tips) 3 eggs 30g raw cacao powder (see Tips) 2 tsp natural vanilla extract 80g rapadura sugar, coconut sugar or brown sugar (see Tips) 1 tsp baking powder (gluten free) 50g walnuts (optional – omit for nut free) Raw cacao nibs, for sprinkling (optional)

METHOD

1. Place dried black beans into a bowl, cover with water and set aside to soak for 5–6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse beans. 2. Place drained black beans into a saucepan well covered with water and cook until tender. Drain and set aside to cool slightly (you should have approx. 350 g cooked black beans). 3. Preheat oven to 160°C fan. Grease and line a square cake tin (20 cm), then set aside. 4. Melt dark chocolate. Transfer to a food processor or high-powered blender and add reserved cooked black beans, coconut oil, eggs, cacao powder, vanilla and sugar. Blend for about 4 minutes at medium speed or until smooth. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula. 6. Add baking powder and walnuts (optional). Lightly blend until smooth and well combined. 7. Transfer mixture into prepared tin. Smooth top with an offset spatula, then sprinkle over raw cacao nibs (optional). Bake for 25 minutes or until just cooked through. Set aside to cool in tin, then cut into 16 squares to serve.

THERMOMIX METHOD

1. Place a bowl onto mixing bowl lid and weigh dried black beans into it. Cover with water and set aside to soak for 5–6 hours or overnight. Using simmering basket, drain and rinse beans. 2. Place drained black beans and 600g water into mixing bowl and cook 30–35 min/100°C/Reverse/speed 1, placing simmering basket instead of measuring cup onto mixing bowl lid. Using simmering basket, drain and set aside to cool slightly (you should have approx. 350 g cooked black beans). Clean and dry mixing bowl. 3. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line a square cake tin (20 cm), then set aside. 4. Place dark chocolate into mixing bowl and grate 10 sec/speed 7, then melt 2 min/60°C/speed 2 or until melted. 5. Add cooked black beans, coconut oil, eggs, cacao powder, vanilla and coconut sugar. Blend 4 min/speed 4–6, increasing speed gradually from speed 4 to speed 6. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula. 6. Add baking powder and walnuts (optional). Combine 15 sec/speed 4, until smooth and well combined. 7. Transfer mixture into prepared tin. Smooth top with an offset spatula, then sprinkle over raw cacao nibs (optional). Bake for 25 minutes (160°C) or until just cooked through. Set aside to cool in tin, then cut into 16 squares to serve.

TIPS
  • You can replace the dried beans with 350g tinned black beans (rinsed and drained weight). Two tins of black beans will be enough, with some left over to add to salads or soups. If using tinned beans, omit the steps regarding soaking and cooking your beans. However, dried beans are the best option if you wish to avoid possible toxic chemicals (such as bisphenol A, also known as BPA) sometimes found in the lining of tins.

  • For a milder flavour, use dark chocolate with a lower cocoa content (but be aware that it will probably contain more sugar).

  • If you prefer, you can replace the raw cacao powder with regular cocoa powder.

  • You can use coconut sugar, Rapadura sugar or brown sugar in this recipe. Brown sugar will give a sweeter result.

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