Brownies. I think these are something that most of us love. But, for the sane among us, they generally fall into the "enjoy sparingly" category. I'm here to tell you today, however, that it's time for total freedom and abandon. I bet that these delicious brownies will be the healthiest brownies that you will ever eat! Okay...is this something to get excited about or what? These brownies are high in protein and fiber, which is fantastic of course, but they are also flourless and dairy free (other than whatever's in your chocolate). It's kind of crazy, but it just gets even better: my recipe uses no added oil or butter, and I only add just a couple teaspoons of sugar. Whoa!
Soft, espresso and vanilla-scented, crunchy-walnut-studded, chocolatey. These treats happily strike harmony between health and flavor!
So, how do you get a luscious fudgy-like brownie that is totally guilt-free? I took inspiration from an "amazing" flourless brownie recipe, which swaps out flour for black beans. I then replaced part of the butter and sugar with applesauce--a common trick for paring down the calories in quickbreads and muffins. And as it turned out I totally forgot to add the rest of the butter, and serendipitously realized it was perfectly soft and smooth without any butter at all! I do admit I don't like my sweets glaringly sweet, so if you find your batter not quite sweet enough (those not afraid of raw eggs, go ahead and taste-test, I knooow you won't be able to resist!), you can increase the sugar, but if you just want a pan of brownies that you don't mind finishing half of on your own...ahem....then this recipe is good as-is.
I couldn't wait to try these guys just minutes after pulling them from the oven yesterday, but they definitely hold their shape better as they cool. And if you pop them in the fridge and chill them up (or heavens, cool, split, freeze, and make ice cream sandwiches with them!) they'll take on an even denser consistency. Sigh... There's only one more piece left...I need to make another batch soon.
Flourless Black Bean Espresso Brownies
1 cup soft-cooked black beans, completely drained
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 ounces (55 grams) dark or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup espresso or strong brewed coffee (plus more, as needed)
Place beans, vanilla extract, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor (or blender).
Mix the chocolate, apple sauce, and 1/4 cup espresso in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave, stirring occasionally, until melted.
Add hot chocolate mixture to beans, and pulse until well mixed. Add more espresso, as needed, if mixture is stiff. Let the mixture cool so that the eggs won't cook when you add them, then add the eggs and blend until smooth.
Remove food processor bowl (or blender) from electric stand and stir in the walnut pieces with a spoon or spatula.
Line a small baking dish (8 x 8 inches for thin brownies) with parchment paper and pour the batter over. (I actually had to use a larger pan, but my batter was thick enough to stay in place in the center of my pan without spreading too far.) Bake at 325 F (165 C) for 25 minutes. Cool completely (a deeper chill will produce a denser consistency), then slice and serve.