The black-bean brownies that keep my kids alive

Brownie on plateI have the noisiest food processor in the world. It only occurred to me a while ago that maybe it’s not supposed to be that loud. But it processes perfectly well, so it would be petty of me to get a new one, even if I court deafness every time I use it.

And it is useful. I remember bugging my parents to get a food processor when they were the new big thing (at least, they seemed to be) so we  could “make coleslaw”. The idea of my voluntarily eating vegetables must have persuaded them in the end, but I don’t think I made the coleslaw more than once or twice. Mostly the new toy sat gathering dust in the back cupboard behind the stand mixer and in front of the good plates inherited from my paternal grandmother.

Nowadays I use my (newer but noisier) processor for making pastry (the recipe here is my favourite for everything), for falafel or carrot salad, but most often for these black-bean brownies, which are probably one of the things that keep my vegetable-averse children alive. They have one of these or a pumpkin muffin in their lunchbox every day, and they fight over getting the “test brownie” when they’re out of the oven. If your kids are used to regular brownies you might want to call these something else in case they’re disappointed, but as far as mine are concerned these are better. And I didn’t have to lie about the beans, either. They proclaim it proudly. Bonus: They’re gluten free.

I found the recipe online years ago, but it comes originally from a book called The Daily Bean by Suzanne Caciola White. I’ve changed the method, though, so I think I’m allowed reproduce my version here.

Ingredients in food processor

Aerial view

Black Bean Brownies

1 cup cooked black beans (the contents of one 15oz / 425g can, drained and rinsed)
2 cups (200g) sugar
1/2 cup (200g) butter, softened a little
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
4 eggs

Optional: 3/4 cup (95g) chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. Put the drained and rinsed beans and the sugar in your food processor and process until they form a smooth puree.
  3. Add the butter, cocoa, coffee powder, and eggs and blitz again until smooth.
  4. Stir in the walnuts, if using.
  5. Pour mixture into a lined 9×13 pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

If you don’t have a food processor, follow the method in the book, which says to first beat the butter and sugar with the cocoa and coffee. Then mix in the eggs and then the beans, followed by the nuts last of all.

Baked brownies in tin

Out of the oven. I lined the tin with a silicone sheet instead of paper.

If you want to know more about the recipes I love, you should follow me on Pinterest, because that’s where I keep most of them. Or just go directly to Smitten Kitchen because that’s where anything I don’t bother to pin comes from. 🙂

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