I used to read a lot of fairy tales, and one of my old favorites is the Brother’s Grimm story The Mouse, The Bird and The Sausage. In it, the three title characters form a partnership: the mouse brings the water, the bird fetches firewood, and the sausage cooks dinner. But then they decide to shake things up, and that’s where the trouble begins.
The Disgustingly Good Black Bean Brownies get off to a rough start; at first, they smell like dinner, pureed. But, as more ingredients fall into your food processor, the smell softens, and then sweetens. Finally, when the tray is ready to slide into the oven, it’s a wonderful, sweet vanilla-chocolate-cinnamon-y-ness.
Out of the oven, these taste like—wait for it—brownies. Chocolate-y, gooey, with the right amount of fudgieness. And, with protein from the black beans and eggs, a touch of whole grain, and plenty of dark chocolate, these are pretty healthy, as brownies go. And go, they will: It’s hard to stop eating them, and hey, why should you.
You probably have a delicious brownie standby and wonder, why shake things up? Because—unlike the mouse, the bird, and the sausage (they essentially kill each other, it’s awful)—this is another fun, crazy story that ends well.
1 ½ cups black beans (or one can, drained – low salt is best but regular old black beans will do)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons peanut butter/any nut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
6 tablespoons of brown rice flour(/your preferred flour variety)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped hazelnuts or walnuts as topping (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 9’x9” brownie pan with parchment paper & lightly spray the paper with olive oil.
2. Puree the black beans in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until smooth. Add the olive oil, peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla and pulse a few times.
3. Then, add the brown sugar, cocoa and brown rice flour and mix well. Fold in the cinnamon and baking powder and blend just until mixed. Gently stir in the remaining cup of chocolate chips.
4. Pour it all into the prepared pan and, if you’re feeling nutty, top with hazelnuts or walnuts. Bake for about 25 minutes. Serve warm.
Previously: The All-Healing Chickpea-Chorizo Frittata
Natalie Eve Garrett is an artist and writer, and is also cooking up a collection of food stories and recipes called The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook.