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Black bean brownies are one of those things people tell me that they’ve made, like avocado based chocolate pudding, when they find out I’m a chef who specializes in healthful eating. Until today, I had never made a single black bean brownie. I’m not sure what kept me away- I was very bean-averse as a kid but now they are my main source of protein, so who knows what the hold up was. I think part of me just didn’t believe they could work. The first recipe I tried today didn’t really, but I was determined not to give up! I found the first recipe on Pinterest and it looked amazing, but when the brownies came out of the oven they didn’t have that crackly-shiny top that to me is the signature of a delicious fudgy brownie below. I lost over 1/3rd of the pan of brownies to crumbling as I tried to take them out of the pan, after a good long cool off in the fridge. They didn’t taste bad but they were not appealing to the eyes and had a funny wet-but-crumbly texture I was confused by. All in all, they were not a brownie I would be especially proud to serve.
I was discouraged; I googled “my black bean brownies are crumbly” and found a message board where many people reported the same thing. Lo and behold, on that same board, someone had posted a recipe that they had been given by a friend and thought were normal brownies. I clicked the link, and found myself where I immediately realized I should have turned first: The Meal Makeover Moms! I have their cookbook, No Whine with Dinner and it has never led me astray in cooking for a picky bunch of moms and kids. My resolve to make a successful black bean brownie was bolstered by my faith in these ladies ability to make truly healthy, kid-friendly foods, I was ready to try again.
The second recipe admittedly featured refined sugar (not a ton though) and canola oil, but compared to your average out of a box brownie, they are stellar nutritionally, and are definitely the best gluten free, lactose free brownie I’ve ever had, not to mention the protein! I haven’t done the math yet, but I would venture these brownies are much healthier than your average breakfast cereal or even pre-packaged granola bar. They popped right out of the pan after bout 30 minutes cooling! They are fudgy, dense, chocolaty, delicious, and not at all black-beany. This was a great lesson to me that when trying out a new food, not to assume it’s categorically bad- it could just be a bad recipe! Try, try again I did, and I was richly rewarded with these brownies, and I know my ladies here will love them for dessert!