I dare you

If you’ve ever eaten sweets stuffed with bean paste before, then you’ll smile knowingly when I say that I am utterly smitten with these gems: Aduki and Black Bean ‘Pudding’ Brownies.

If not, I recommend that you forgo any dismissive thoughts about combining beans, chocolate, nuts, vanilla, and cinnamon, since you will surely regret the chance to try such a sweet and tangy dessert. Besides, these brownies are rich in protein and flavor, so they are good for you.

These flour-less brownies are more fudgey pudding than chewy cake in texture. No matter, they are better in this creamy dish. It is only fair that I warn you ahead of time, these brownies are rich yet light enough to take snack on throughout the day. So, don’t be the least bit surprised if after two days, they have suddenly disappeared, one heaping spoonful at a time. In short, these brownies are dangerous and should not be reckoned with.

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks’ Amazing Black Bean Brownie Recipe, this version has been stripped of dairy and eggs and offers several optional substitutions from the original. Coconut oil and a small amount of prune puree stand in for the butter. Aduki (sweet-and-sour) and black beans (sweet flavor) are combined to balance and enhance the sweet flavor of Mexican-style chocolate. Since the chocolate is already sweet, less sweetener is needed in the recipe. Together, the maple and brown rice syrups add a long caramel finish without being overpoweringly toothachey, with a soft tanginess throughout.

Aduki and Black Bean ‘Pudding’ Brownies

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks, by Heidi Swanson

Yields 1 9 x9-inch pan full (for more pudding texture–my favorite…) or
11 x 18-inch rimmed baking or jellyroll pan (for fudgier texture)

5 ounces quality Mexican* or dark chocolate (vegan)
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/3 cup prunes, puréed
2 cups very smashable aduki and black beans (drained well)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 vanilla bean split (seeds scraped)
1/4 cup (granulated) natural coffee substitute
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 teaspoons Egg Replacer mixed with 8 Tablespoons of warm water (stirred well)=4 eggs**
3/4 maple syrup and brown rice syrup (evenly divided: pour half brown rice syrup then fill rest with maple syrup)

Soak 1 cup each of aduki and black beans overnight. Cook with a 1/2 inch strip of kombu (to soften and enhance digestibility of beans) in several inches of water for several hours or until beans are very tender. Or use canned beans, 1 cup of each.

Preheat the oven to 325º. Lightly grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with melted coconut oil, dip a pastry brush into the melted oil.

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a glass measuring cup or bowl in the oven. Stir with a wooden spoon to melt the chocolate and coconut oil until smooth. Transfer the drained beans, 1/2 cup of walnuts, 1/3 cup prunes, the scraped vanilla bean, and 3 Tablespoons or so of the melted chocolate and coconut oil into a food processor. Blend until completely smooth and thick. Place to the side.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate and coconut, coffee substitute, and sea salt. Mix well and place to the side.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg replacer and water with a whisk or electric mixer until incorporated. Add the brown rice and maple syrups. Place to the side.

Add the bean and chocolate mixture to the coffee chocolate mixture. Stir until well blended.

Add the egg replacer and syrup mixture. Stir until well blended.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. For a deeper dish square baking pan, bake 60-75 minutes, until center is set. For a flat rimmed baking pan, bake 30-40, until center is set. Let brownies cool before cutting, store in the refrigerator where they will firm up.

*Mexican chocolate contains powder milk, sugar, cacao beans, cinnamon, and vanilla
** substitute 2 smashed ripe brown bananas for eggs or 3/4 cup blended silken tofu

Really, now – you can’t resist these.

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