8: Black Bean Brownies
I love brownies, and I’ve wanted to try black bean brownies for a while. Ever since I printed out a recipe for it years ago, just to let it sit in a stack of other neglected recipes. Knowing that I should make new (and exciting) recipes (and wanting brownies) gave me the push I needed to finally make black bean brownies.
I decided that I didn’t really want to make the recipe I had originally printed out. I looked around to find a lower-calorie recipe and settled on this recipe for Black Bean Brownies. (It also makes me sad to look at calorie counts for things like brownies, because it always feels like there’s no such thing as low-calorie when I do.)
I made a few adjustments to the recipe, which I’d seen suggested in the comments. I used 2 cups of black beans that I’d cooked during the week, instead of a can. I used brown sugar instead of white, and doubled the cocoa to make it comparable to how much cocoa I’d usually put in brownies. I also added ground espresso (a tablespoon, which Alex rightfully said was too much, because they tasted strongly of coffee).
I know, a lot of you are thinking “ew, black beans in brownies?!” In fact, beans have been used in Asia as components of traditional sweets. Bean paste is used as a filling in some Japanese sweets; beans were always on the Vietnamese dessert I would get when my friends and I would go for Vietnamese food in St. Louis. In fact, these desserts usually taste more intensely sweet to me than many Western cookies and such do. I think it just has to do with what we’re used to, because I’ve often heard from Asians I’ve known that Western desserts are too sweet. (Maybe we’re both right.)
These brownies were very dense, but their texture was different from normal dense brownies. They were chocolate-y (and coffee-y), but there was definitely something extra there. I blended the mixture well, but I suppose it did seem a little grainy. It reminded me of Japanese bean paste, and Alex thought so too – but then, we’ve both eaten (and enjoyed) Japanese sweets, so I can’t say how they must seem to someone who hasn’t. We both agreed that they were not what we wanted if we wanted brownies. On the plus side, these have no flour, so they’re gluten-free.
These weren’t bad, so I’d give the concept another try. Maybe I’ll pull out the other black bean brownie recipe out sometime this year.