These brownies. Every now and again, despite how much time I spend playing with recipes, I have a 'I can't believe I made this, I'm clearly some sort of culinary genius' moment. Those moments are usually followed by burning the shit out of something or doing something completely ridiculous so my humility remains intact. These brownies are one of those genius moments. The next morning I locked my keys in my car and had to call AAA to come to my own driveway. I also had early meetings scheduled, so I had to inform some of my co-workers that I'm an attentive hot mess (they told me they already knew). But I made really good plant-based, gluten-free brownies 12 hours earlier!
This recipe is the brainchild of my procrastination. I had a giant check-list of items to clear so I could go on Winter break at work. I planned to work late on the Tuesday before so I could wrap up loose ends on Wednesday, then be free! Naturally this 'late night' resulted in instead engaging in my two favorite activities: running, then taking stock of my pantry to see what I could throw together. I had researched a few other bean brownie recipes, but they all had coconut oil, vegan butter, or some other similarly saturated ingredient, which isn't my jam. My mission was clear. Like with most vegan/gluten-free recipes, the texture and amount of liquid used here is key to avoid chalky baked goods. With a blend of black beans, apple sauce, honey and water, the texture of these brownies is dense and chewy. Throw in some oat flour and a few other key ingredients and you've got a really healthy pan of desserts that I think would fool a lot of people!
What You Need:
One can or 1.5 cups of black beans (1/2 cup dehydrated beans will make the right amount)
1/4 cup apple sauce (two ice cubes, for those of you who use the ice cube trick)
1/2 cup dates--I didn't soak mine but if your food processor/blender isn't high powered I think it would help
1/2 cup of water (This could also be more apple sauce)
1/4 cup honey OR agave if you're fully vegan
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup quick oats OR a 1/4 cup oat flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp peppermint extract, almond extract, etc.
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup dried fruit of some sort
A few notes on the ingredients: The 1/2 cup water was me just adding more liquid so everything would blend evenly. It could easily be more apple sauce or some sort of nut milk. Honestly though, these tasted amazing even with the water. I would also plan on more honey if you have a sweet tooth. Finally, for the 'optional ingredients' I only used the peppermint extract. The other stuff should theoretically work, but if it doesn't and your house burns down as a result because you had a freak dried fruit incident in your oven, please don't sue me.
Step One: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Step Two: Since this was the first time I made these, I did grease my baking pan with a tiny bit of olive oil because I didn't know how easy they'd be to remove otherwise. I think you could forgo this step if you don't use oil in your diet (Also I don't have a baking pan so I used a 10" round cake tin.)
Step Three: Combine all your ingredients except the 1/2 cup water in a food processor.
Step Four: Slowly add the 1/2 cup water as everything else breaks down together. You're going to let this blend for a long time until it's a super smooth batter.
Step Five: Once the mixture is in batter form, taste test and make sure you don't want to add more sugar, cocoa, etc.
Step Six: Transfer the batter to the baking dish.
Step Seven: Put these in the oven for 20-25 minutes
Step Eight: When they're removed from the oven, let them sit for at least 20 minutes before you attempt to cut them as they'll still be a bit gooey when they're really hot
I was honestly super surprised at how brownie-like these ended up being. They also refrigerate really well and maintain their texture, which is unusual as I find sometimes vegan/gluten-free baked goods tend to dry out a little. These keep a really amazing fudge-like consistency. Enjoy, and go double-check where your car keys are.