I love making brownies. So rich and chocolatey, served warm with a little ice cream on top. I have tried low-fat brownie recipes through the years but have never stumbled upon one that I just loved. They were either too dry or too cake-like (which a brownie shouldn’t be, in my opinion). Then, my issue of Everyday Food came in the mail last week and voila! A recipe that takes low-fat brownies to new heights! Do you want to know the secret? BLACK BEANS. Read on, my friend!
(from the January/February 2012 issue of Everyday Food magazine)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for baking pan
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed, drained, and pureed until smooth
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (1/3 cup)
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, bean puree, and chocolates and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk in sugar, eggs and egg white, and vanilla until smooth.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir into chocolate mixture until just combined. Pour batter into pan; smooth top. Bake until top is cracked and a toothpick inserted in center has moist crumbs attached; about 25 minutes (the center will seem undercooked but will set further as it cools). Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using parchment, lift brownie from pan and cut into 16 squares.
This recipe is a bit more complicated than your typical, run-of-the-mill brownie recipe. You can’t just throw all the ingredients in one big bowl, stir, then pour it into a pan. There are quite a few steps involved.
First, let’s start with the beans. These were on sale last week at Kroger’s for 50 cents a can, so I bought a gazillion of them.
Question: does anyone out there have an electronic gizmo that can puree beans? Anyone? I tried my handy dandy, smoothie-making Cuisinart QuikPrep hand blender with no success. Then I unwillingly moved on to the regular blender – which meant more clean up – to no avail. I considered the food processor, but finally ended up smashing and pulverizing those bad boys with my hands! And a fork. Geesh. There has to be a better way.
Now, moving on to the chocolate. Chopping the two different kinds of chocolate took much longer than it should have. Why? I don’t really know. Have you ever tried chopping up a piece of chocolate? It’s dang hard.
By the time I had finished prepping the beans, chopping up the chocolate, then melting the chocolate mixture in the microwave, I was dismayed to see how much more I had to do. Mind you, I was on a tight schedule, and school pick-up time was fast approaching. So I did the rest of it really fast and everything else just sorta became a blur after that.
What I can tell you is this: it was well worth the effort. As Macho Man said, “They’re not your average brownie.” (He totally meant that in a good way.) Dark, moist, and not too sweet, with a rich chocolate flavor. Not remotely fluffy or cake-like. The children devoured them and then were completely dumbfounded when the secret ingredient was revealed.
Should you give these a try? Absolutely, yes!!! Just give yourself a little bit more time to make them than I did.
Until next time,