a whisper of espresso brings this brownie to life
One of my struggles with the less sweetened lifestyle is making archerfriendly food for company. Sugar always sells, even at Whole Foods. I want you to like my food, because I want to bless you with something healthy that you will also enjoy. Yet I crave raw honesty and I never take it personally when someone finds my unsweetened a-f food unpalatable (I wasn’t offended when the Wendy’s Eating Boyfriend’s Cupcake Baking College Roommate made all those cardboard comments). The more honey I put in that pumpkin bread I’m baking for company, the more it will frazzle my pancreas. In other words, the more sugar, or honey, or maple syrup, or dates I put in the food I make for both of us, the worse it is for my body.
When you live without sugar, and you eat as little honey as possible, minimally sweetened desserts are perfectly and surprisingly satisfying. Since most people do not live an unsweetened lifestyle, their taste buds have yet to be acclimated, which means that unsweetened baked goods and treats will most likely taste bland to them.
How can I bake something that you will like that will also bless my body with goodness (and maybe yours too)?
Let’s meet in the middle. I’ll make it a little sweeter than I’m used to, and a little less sweet than you’re used to. Maybe it can work for both of us.
These classic black bean brownies are a crowd pleasing, prototypical recipe for our middle. They’re too sweet to be a part of my every day diet, but they’re not so sweet, that I can’t enjoy them every now and then. This recipe is my go-to recipe for a quick baked good delivery. I made them for my graduation party back in June.
I have a blood sugar trick that I try to apply when I bake for our middle: add as much protein and fiber as possible. Protein and fiber help to balance your blood sugar. The black beans provide both fiber and protein. Gelatin adds protein too.
I already gave you a Cardamom Black Bean Brownie recipe to try, but it was a little too sweet for me. By lessening the sweetener ratio in this recipe, I’ve brought the brownie down to my real middle. I also wanted a classic black bean brownie that was egg free. Making an egg free black bean brownie felt like I was trying to solve a Rubik’s cube, possible but frustrating and annoying (I’ve never solved one to date). I tried so hard to keep them vegan. Then I turned to gelatin. Gelatin solved the egg free mystery like the Wendy’s Eating Husband solves a tangled Rubik’s cube in 5 minutes. Genius! I used Knox gelatin because I couldn’t find a local organic source for it, and it would be easy for you to find it at your local grocery store.
I have absolutely no problem with my kids eating one of these brownies every single day, since it is a covert way to implement OPERATION PROTEIN. I don’t consider them junk, but they are a treat.
Please note that these brownies require refrigeration. They should be stored in the fridge and served immediately. They do not cut well fresh out of the oven, so don’t even try! Wait until they cool, put them in the fridge, and cut them when they are cold!
Everyone and their chihuahuas have been making black bean brownies. If you and your poodle haven’t made them yet, get on it!
Classic Black Bean Brownies
Makes one 9×11 glass baking dish
- 50 dates
- 4 cups cooked black beans
- 2/3 cup virgin coconut oil, plus a little more for greasing sides of baking dish
- 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 2 envelopes of Knox Original Unflavored Gelatine
- 2 teaspoons finely ground espresso
- pinch sea salt
- Line the bottom of a glass 9×11 glass baking dish with parchment paper. Grease sides with coconut oil.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add cocoa powder, gelatin, espresso, and sea salt to a large mixing bowl. Thoroughly mix together.
- Roughly chop dates.
- Place dates, black beans, coconut oil, coconut milk, and vanilla extract in a food processor. Depending on the size of your food processor, the blending may need to occur in two batches. Blend very well.
- Place well blended dates, black beans, coconut oil, and coconut milk in the same mixing bowl as the dry ingredients.
- With a spatula or hand mixer, blend everything together really well.
- Pour batter into baking dish.
- Bake 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
- Once cooled, store brownies in the refrigerator. Brownies should be cold prior to cutting or serving.