Black Bean Brownies with Cashew Cream
Yup.... you read that right! I was looking for a creative recipe to use a legume two ways - one savory and one sweet. I had read a few black bean brownie / cookie / smoothie and cupcake recipes and was game to give it a go. As with most things in the kitchen, I'm pretty lousy at following directions. I read about 5 different recipes but had also just returned from the Farmer's Market with some bio-dynamic Khadrawi dates that I was determined to use and wanted to make this treat completely organic, non-gmo, fair trade, vegan etc etc etc AND most importantly - taste good.
Now - first things first - If you're not a fan of dark chocolate - move along, this recipe is not for you - it's got that pure, rich, bitter loveliness of dark chocolate - if one of those words seems out of place to you - again, move along!!
Th Cashew Cream Recipe is at the bottom of this page - cashews need to be soaked, so if you're under a time pressure, start there first!!
BLACK BEAN BROWNIES
- 1 Can Organic Black Beans (BPA free can!!)
- 3/4 Cup Organic Cocoa Powder (I like Rapunzel)
- 3 Tbsp melted Coconut Oil
- 2 Neat Eggs (or 2 flax eggs or 2 actual eggs (if you do eat eggs please only buy organic farmers market / certified humane eggs)
- 3 Dates (pitted) - I used Khadrawi Dates from Flying Disc Ranch - so good, not too sweet and a great consistency for baking.
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar - (I like Aunt Patty's)
- 1 Tbsp Organic Maple Syrup
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- Optional Toppings: Vegan Chocolate Chips, Walnuts, Pine Nuts, Almond Slivers.....
- Preheat oven to 350*F/176*C
- Open Can of Black Beans - rinse and drain fully
- Lightly grease a standard sized 12 count cupcake / muffin tin - bottom and sides
- If you're using Vegan Eggs - prepare them now - See Vegan Egg Discussion Below **
- Place ALL ingredients (bar optional toppings) into a food processor and blend for a good few minutes. If the mixture is super clumpy add a little water - a teaspoon at a time. Make sure you don't add too much - this will get runny fast and if that happens - your brownies will not hold up. The mixture should be able to move completely but still appear thick and luxurious.
- Spoon the mixture into the tin - it's roughly one soup spoon size scoop per hole. So easy.
- Sprinkle with optional toppings
- Bake for approx 25 minutes. Ovens vary so I would check in on them around the 20 minutes mark - good visual markers will be that the batter is pulling away slightly from the tin and the top is beginning to look more finished - not like wet dough!
- Remove from oven and let sit for about 30 minutes - I know, this is terribly unfair but it's great to make these before eating dinner so that they're ready when you are!
- Gently remove from the tins - I use a silicone butter knife - these puppies are moist and fudgy - they're sensitive and will fall apart if not careful - slow and steady.
- If stored in an airtight container these should last 2-3 days on the counter or 4-5 days in the fridge!
MORE ON VEGAN EGG OPTIONS:
** The Neat Egg is a store bought mixture of ground chia seeds and ground chickpeas (in perfect quantities) that make egg consistency a pinch for baking (you would NEVER use these as a fake out for scrambled eggs - yuck! - for baking however, they're great!) 1 tablespoon of mixture + two tablespoons of water = one egg for baking. Need two? Double it! It will bring back memories of 4th grade science class - globby glooby perfection!
** A Flax Egg can be made by taking 1 tablespoon of Ground Flax Seeds and adding a little less than 3 tablespoons of Warm Water to a bowl. Whisk it up for a minute and then allow to sit for about 5 minutes. If you only have whole flax seeds, grind them up in a coffee grinder or even in a pestle & mortar (make sure you get 1 Tablespoon once ground up). As this recipe calls for two - just double the quantities!
** A Chia Egg can be made the same way - only chia seeds do not need to be ground - though, I do think they work a bit better when they are. If you have a coffee grinder, give it a go, otherwise stay simple!
- 1 cup of raw (not roasted or salted) Cashews - cashew pieces work great and are cheaper!
- 1/2 cup of Filtered Water
- 2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
- 1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract
- pinch of Salt
- optional flavors: pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, lemon zest etc....
Cashews need to be soaked for at least 2 hours - up to about 8 hours... If you have a high speed blender - 2 hours is sufficient! Pour the nuts into a bowl and cover with at least an inch of water. IF and I do mean IF, you're under considerable time constraints, you can pop the cashews into a pot and boil for a few minutes and then let sit for about 30 minutes to speed up the soaking process BUT I think soaking keeps the integrity of the nut in better check and also results in a creamier and richer cream...
After the nuts are done soaking - pop all of the ingredients into your blender - blend for approx 60 seconds and then pop into the fridge - the longer it chills the thicker and creamier it will become. At least 30 minutes. It will be pretty runny otherwise - but that's also ok - as it tastes so yummy!!
Cashew cream will last for about 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Add it to overnight oats for a totally decadent treat, or dip apple slices into it, or drizzle it over waffles or, or .... the possibilities are endless!