Black Bean Brownies with Peanut Butter

Black bean brownies. I first heard about them when I was pregnant with my first daughter. They sounded suspicious. I mean, who puts a can of black beans in dessert? They came out perfect though. Everytime- delicious, moist, cakey- everything I wanted in a brownie. My husband brought some to work and the pan came back without even a crumb left in it. Over the years we've experimented with recipes and they are very open to changes in add-in ingredients. Below is what I've settled on as our favorite. There is no oil, no butter, no egg, and no dairy. These brownies are vegan- you can add in 1/4 cup of milk without changing anything else in the recipe if you want them a little fluffier and more cake-like.

Black Bean Brownies (Cost $3.34 for recipe- .37/brownie)
(makes a square pan- 9 brownies)

1 15 oz can black beans, make sure they're plain & don't have added "Mexican" flavors .89
1 cup sugar ($3.69 per 5lb bag) .34
3/4 cup flour ($11.99 per 25lb bag, 13 cents per cup) .20
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I had bought generic store brand awhile back that I used- normally I try to get it in the bulk section at City Market so that it's good quality. $2.49/8 oz container) $1.25
1/2 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup peanut butter (you can substitute this with any other add-ins, we sometimes do coconuts, nuts, chocolate chips, dried cherries, etc) (5.65 for 64 oz container, .09/oz) .36
1/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips to sprinkle on top (optional) (24 oz bag is $3.69) .30
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray square glass 9" pan with cooking spray. In a food processor with the blade attachment dump a drained and rinsed can of black beans. Fill the can up 1/4 full with water and add that as well. Process until smooth. Add in sugar and puree.

Beans pureed with water.

2. Add in all other ingredients except for any chunks (chocolate chips, nuts, etc). If you don't want to use the peanut butter you don't have to- the texture of the brownies will be a little fluffier without the density of the peanut butter, 1 cup of chocolate chips is a great substitute. You will need to mix those in by hand so that they don't get chopped into tiny pieces. Once everything is mixed (and you have added any chunks by hand) place batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips if desired.

Add dry ingredients.

Process until smooth and add the peanut butter.

Spread in the pan, making sure to cover the whole pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
3. Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking for doneness at 30 minutes and adjusting cooking time if necessary.

When they are cooked the brownies will be completely matte on top with no shine.
4. When done cooking let the brownies cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before cutting. I know this is hard. My husband sits there and "watches" them for 10 minutes. But if you try cutting them too early it makes a big flaky mess. Enjoy!

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