Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Secret Weapon in the Arsenal of Healthy Eating

by Allyson Haas

black bean brownies

Sometimes you have the kind of weekend so jam-packed full of celebrations and festivities that you relax the rules of your otherwise healthy eating. With too much ice cream, cookies and cupcakes to coo to, C's intake was in need of a healthy boost. Unfortunately for me, C is not generally a fan of anything in the vegetable family unless it's combined with a sugary fruit.  This surprises no one, said every mom of a toddler, EVER. Thankfully, at the ripe old age of 2.5, ignorance is bliss. I feel zero guilt about whipping up some of these beauties and serving one with a cold glass of almond milk. 

Packed with protein and all the other good things that beans provide (folate, fiber, iron, vitamin b1, copper, magnesium, boost in production of butyric acid which aids in lower digestive tract function) these flourless bits of heaven fool pretty much everyone into thinking they're the real thing. These are super easy to put together with staples you probably already have in your pantry: a can of black beans, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, eggs, olive oil, baking powder, vanilla and salt. A couple of minutes in the food processor + 25 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven = your toddler no longer whining for cookies.  And extra bonus points for the fact that you've given them something remotely nutritious. 
Flourless Black Bean Brownies

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup dark choc chips
4 tbsp olive oil
3 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder 
2/3 cup coconut sugar ( note: you can use whichever type of sugar you prefer, but I'm partial to coconut sugar because it doesn't cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Sometimes I use 1/3 cup each of coconut and raw sugars)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt (I recommend sea salt - any color -I used pink because that's what I had on hand)

Preheat oven to 350. 

Grease square baking pan (I use coconut oil spray for this). 

In food processor, mix 1/4 cup choc chips, beans and olive oil. Pulse until well blended. 

black bean brownies
Add cocoa powder, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, salt and sugar (this will be everything except the remaining choc chips) and process until well blended. You may need to scrape the sides of the processor. Once it resembles traditional brownie mix (about 1-2 min of processing), pour into baking pan. 

black bean brownies

Top with remaining choc chips. Bake until toothpick comes out clean (generally about 25 min). 

To make these vegan: substitute carob chips for the choc chips, carob powder for the cocoa powder (is cocoa powder vegan?! It might be?!) and chia seeds for the eggs. 1 tbsp chia seeds + 3 tbsp water is the equivalent of one egg. (For the mathematically challenged - 3 tbsp chia seeds, 9 tbsp water)

Come on over Charlie because our house now smells like a chocolate factory - total WIN! Though in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have made something with beans the same day I started potty training.  TMI?

Wish me luck...I promise to give a full report.

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