Bean brownies had their time in the sun about 10 years ago. At least, that was the time that I first made them from a random recipe on the internet. Completely healthy, moist, dense, chocolate-like but not exactly brownie-like. I made the mistake of telling my family prior to eating them that the main ingredient was… wait for it… beans! Disastrous results ensued. They were not well-liked by my father or husband. The moment went down in history as “Shauna’s baking fail.”
Fast forward many years and I’ve tried out more versions of these brownies though, have not shared them with the aforementioned people. I’ve tried going completely refined sugar free (no dice). I’ve used coconut oil and it felt to lack taste. Salt free, no way. I think the recipe below strikes a balance between being a healthier option (consider that most brownie recipes have 3 to 4 times the refined sugar added to them) and still satisfying the brownie craving. They’re gluten-free as well. The addition of walnuts adds a nutritional punch (omega-3, etc.) and crunch (ahem…). I like to think that dark chocolate also adds nutrition or at least happiness.
Ultimately, I did add a little refined sugar. Refined sugar gives them the chewy texture that forms the basis for this baked good to be called a ‘brownie’ (otherwise, the name hockey puck or protein bar might be given to these). Following the same line of thought, Sarah Kieffer (@sarahkieffer) of The Vanilla Bean Baking Blog aptly tweeted “It always confuses me when people get upset at baking books for having butter and sugar in them.” I agree with Sarah on this one. So, I did not create a “healthy” brownie as it is still a treat. I created a gluten free brownie in hopes of adding more diversity to the diet. In the end, healthier, yes. Guilt-free, no.
Oh, and my husband didn’t even notice this time… until my face turned bright red.
Navy Bean Brownies
Makes: 1 20 x 20 cm (8x8 inch) tray (9 large brownies, or 16 smaller ones)
Time: Prep time (15 minutes) + Baking time (30 minutes) + Cooling time (30 minutes)
1 ½ cups (250 g) navy beans*
¼ cup (78 g) maple syrup
¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup (25 g) quick oats
½ cup (45 g) cocoa powder
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (120 g) dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp sea salt
½ cup (40 g) walnuts, chopped
1. Line a square 8x8 inch pan with butter and parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
2. Add the beans, maple syrup, butter, quick oat, cocoa powder and granulated sugar to a food processor and whirl until smooth. Add the eggs and pulse until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips, salt and walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 30 minutes. Let the brownies cool before cutting.
Serve with milk of your choice or strong coffee.
* Instead of using a can of beans, why not cook up a batch and use the rest for salad. Here’s how:
- 1 cup dried navy beans (these bean are white in colour so are sometimes called white beans)
- Rinse in the sink and discard any broken pieces.
- Pour into a saucepan and cover the beans with boiling water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Let them sit overnight or for 12 hours.
- Rinse the beans and the saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until soft (1- 1 .5 hours). Add 1 tablepoon of salt, stir and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain and use. Yield: 3 cups. Pack in your lunch for work or toss on top of a salad.
Adapted from 3 fois par jour.