© 2017 Green Kitchen Stories Black_bean_brownie_bites_1

Black Bean Brownie Bites

The moment I placed these brownies in the oven, I started whining like a disgruntled teenager because Luise had persuaded me to only sweeten them with dates and mix a whole can of black beans into the batter. “They are going to taste like sh*t” might have been the carefully formulated phrase I used. Baking brownies was my idea to start with and I usually don’t complain about healthy desserts, but I was tired that day and my mind was set on the caramel-tasting brownies from the bakery across the street. More than the flavor, it was their texture I wanted to recreate. The crusty top and caramel fudge center that you only can achieve with sugar, butter and flour. I knew these would be far from that. And in my mind that was all Luise’s fault.

The whining escalated into a discussion (aka argument) and by the time the timer on my phone rang, things were, well, kind of tense between us. I cut off a corner piece of the baked brownie and quickly realized that they weren’t as awful as I had expected. Of course when Luise asked me, I did what any 36-year old teenager would do and grunted: “They were okay I guess”. In reality, they were actually pretty good. They didn’t have that crusty texture or typical sugar taste but they were still sweet, gooey but not heavy, chocolatey, energy packed and rich. I added frosting to make them a little more sassy – using dates as sweetener and avocado and coconut oil for an ultra lush and creamy consistency. They turned out really beautiful and jam-packed with good stuff. Rather than a dessert, I’d say that this is more like an energy bar-style brownie, and I found myself sneaking back to the fridge several times that day for another bite.

We’re sharing the recipe and some notes below. But first, check out this little video from our youtube channel where we demonstrate how to make them.

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Since that first batch of brownies, there have been at least six more batches. A few vegan attempts and various flavor and texture variations. I have gathered a few notes that might come useful in case you want to give them a try.

  • We use very soft fresh dates that we buy in card board boxes and they are pretty affordable compared to loose weight or medjool dates. Sizes differ so use a scale if you want to be exact.
  • If you can’t find fresh dates you can use dried dates that you soak in water for a couple of hours. Drain the water before mixing. However, I wouldn’t use dried dates for the frosting as they need the dates to be super soft to achieve a smooth consistency. Try maple syrup instead.
  • If you aren’t used to sugar free desserts, you can add a couple of tablespoons maple syrup, honey or sugar to the batter. We have tried this recipe both with and without additional sweetening and they taste good both ways. It all depends on what you are used to and your expectations are.
  • We use a quite mild olive oil and it works really well with the chocolate flavor (not strong at all). However, if you don’t like olive oil, you can use, coconut oil, rapeseed oil or butter instead.
  • We have also tried a vegan, egg-free version using aquafaba (chickpea water) that we are sharing at the bottom of the recipe. We also tried making aquafaba using black bean water (because it’s a rest product of the beans in the recipe). It didn’t firm up as much when whisked but it did work as a binder. However, it looked kinda gross and added more bean flavor so we decided to stick with chickpea water instead.
  • We add coffee to the frosting to disguise the avocado flavor. If you don’t like coffee, you can use almond butter or peanut butter instead to give it a flavor twist.
  • Sea salt flakes are great on top and we love the salt + chocolate combo, but desiccated coconut would also look good.
  • If you are allergic to nuts, you can mix toasted sunflower seeds into a flour and use instead of almond flour. And use pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts.

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Black Bean Brownie Bites with Chocolate Avocado Frosting
Makes 24 bites

These taste sweet but not overly so, see notes above if you prefer to make them sweeter. Vegan version below.

20 soft dates (approx 230 g / 8 oz)
1 1/2 cup / 185 g cooked black beans (rinsed)
1/2 cup / 125 ml olive oil or other neutral oil
1/2 cup / 125 ml plant milk or regular milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup / 50 g oat flour (or same amount rolled oats, mixed into a flour)
1/2 cup / 50 g almond flour
6 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 handful crushed walnuts (optional)

Chocolate Avocado Frosting
6-8 soft dates

3 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 tbsp strong coffee
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 avocado

Sprinkle with
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Pit the dates and add them to a food processor along with the rinsed black beans. Mix on high speed. Add oil, milk and eggs (leave out if you are vegan) and mix until smooth. Add almond flour and oat flour (you can make oat flour from rolled oats by simply blending them in a food processor or grinding them in a mortle and pester), cacao powder, baking powder and salt and pulse until everything is mixed. Stir in walnuts (and whipped aquafaba if you are making the vegan version). Place a baking paper in a 28 x 20 cm / 11 x 8 inch rectangular baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the brownies from the oven once they are firm to touch and leave until completely cool.

Make the frosting by mixing all the ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the flavors, adding more dates (or maple syrup if you want it sweeter) and more cacao powder if you want it richer. Spread the frosting over the brownies, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and cut into bite-size pieces. Store in the fridge.

To make them vegan: Use 3 tbsp more oat flour. Leave out the eggs and whisk 1/3 cup aquafaba (chickpea water) into soft peaks that you stir into the mixed batter together with the walnuts. The vegan version needs approx 45-50 minutes in the oven and will come out slightly stickier but firms up once it cools.

30 Comments

  1. Nadia
    Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 01:27 | #

    I’m always so happy to see a new recipe from you, It’s like reviving a gift !
    so far everything I’ve cooked following your recipes have been amazingly good, so I don’t think you should be surprised with those brownies !

    Just a quick question, do the kids eat it ? Do I need to skip coffee in this case ?

  2. Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 01:46 | #

    What a gorgeous recipe! Would this work with flax eggs instead of eggs?

    • Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 15:04 | #

      Hi Cassie, I am fairly certain that it would work well with flax eggs.
      /David

      • Nikita
        Posted 13 Dec ’17 at 16:48 | #

        I’m just making these brownies with my own adjustments, is it normal for the batter to really smell like beans before it pops into the oven? The smell is putting off and i rinsed them really well! Hope they turn out good waaa!!

  3. Mona
    Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 04:39 | #

    The bites look so chocolaty and delicious!
    I have had those kind of arguments in the kitchen before, too ;) like the other day when my boyfriend wanted to have fish and ships for dinner and I suggested zucchini fries (a my new roots recipe) instead. We ended up making both versions but the zucchinis would have been enough (I say).
    By the way I love your take on fish and ships in your latest book!
    And while Im already commenting, I always wanted to let you know that one of my all time favorite recipes is your raw apple, buckwheat and walnut porridge and I was shocked reading in your new book that one of the worst complaints you had received was about this recipe. Its just so delicious!

    • Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 15:04 | #

      Haha! My guess is that the reader who left that comment on the buckwheat porridge probably hadn’t blended it enough. But flavors are also individual and we’re glad to hear that you like that recipe!
      /D&L

  4. Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 04:54 | #

    Thank you for the mouth-watering recipe for the brownie! It’s perfect for winter! ❤

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  5. Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 09:22 | #

    These look so mouthwatering. I love black bean brownies but I’ve sweetened mine with coconut sugar, but as I have a deep love for fresh dates I know these will be amazing! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  6. Verito
    Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 11:49 | #

    Sounds amazing :)

    Do you have a good idea how to replace the avocado with some local ingredient? Since a friend of mine who works in different projects on agriculture in Latin America told me about the negative effects which the rising demand for avocados have for the local people I feel quite bad using it, but acutally I have no idea how to replace it properly.

  7. Nina
    Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 12:49 | #

    wonderful guys! Which food processor do you use? :*

  8. Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 13:21 | #

    These look delectable! I can’t wait to make a batch!

  9. k w
    Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 17:33 | #

    thank you both for the lovely video and food ideas.
    hey wouldn’t it be a great idea to make a musical
    playlist of all the videos you have made. They are
    so uplifting..especially for this time of season.
    I particularly like the triple apple almond video.
    Thanks you guys for your beautiful community food
    contribution!

  10. Simona
    Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 19:13 | #

    It looks delicious! I can’t find black beans, can I use red beans instead?

  11. Posted 8 Dec ’17 at 19:38 | #

    Gorgeous recipe and stunning video as always. Thank you for sharing

  12. Tomoko
    Posted 9 Dec ’17 at 00:55 | #

    Looks delicious! Can you freeze them?

  13. alena
    Posted 9 Dec ’17 at 16:53 | #

    I am definitely going to make these tonight as I have a ton of perfectly ripe avocados sitting in the fridge. Do you think it is possible to freeze the brownies with frosting? Or will it mess up the consistency and taste?

  14. Johanna Thomasson
    Posted 9 Dec ’17 at 22:36 | #

    Hi, This recipe just seems and looks amazing, can’t wait to try it! Also I am wondering, I guess you keep the leftovers in the fridge but for how long can you have them there? And is it possible to store them in the freezer?
    Really enjoy your videos :)
    Johanna

  15. claire
    Posted 10 Dec ’17 at 15:38 | #

    dearie me those look delicious! can’t wait to try this recipe~ and david do please be more loving to your wife!

  16. Diana Martin
    Posted 10 Dec ’17 at 19:53 | #

    I am always waiting for your next post: recipe&stories, and if there´s a video, great!!
    I love your blog and recipes, I am looking forward to trying chocolate+avocado frosting!! since I really love avocado hahaha, I would eat anything with avocado. I guess the avocado must be ripe to blend it better with the chocolate powder and the rest of ingredients.
    Luise looks very funny hahaha

    • Posted 12 Dec ’17 at 12:29 | #

      Hi Diana, Yes, always use ripe avocado unless stated otherwise. In this frosting it is essential to get it smooth. Hope you like it!
      /David

  17. Posted 11 Dec ’17 at 10:02 | #

    Look yummy! It’s a juicy brownie that I like to try.

  18. Leah Marshall
    Posted 11 Dec ’17 at 13:46 | #

    Hi,

    I am really looking forward to making these! They look beautiful. What alternatives would you use for someone with a nut allergy. The almond flour? And the walnuts unfortunately is something that i can not use.

    Thanks

    • Posted 12 Dec ’17 at 12:27 | #

      Hi Leah. My favorite replacement for almond flour is to ground toasted sunflower seeds into a flour in the food processor. And you can use pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts. Good luck!
      /David

  19. mirka
    Posted 12 Dec ’17 at 13:57 | #

    Loved this story. How interesting to hear that even behind the beautiful pictures, there are real people! Props for being so honest. Recipe is a must try, as well!

  20. Tamar
    Posted 14 Dec ’17 at 09:09 | #

    Once again a joy to read. Thank you for the recipe and honest post.

  21. Posted 14 Dec ’17 at 11:18 | #

    Brownies..😍

  22. Posted 17 Dec ’17 at 04:18 | #

    I’ve heard of black bean brownies so many times but I confess that I’ve never tried them. The concept sounds like it should taste horrible. Yet, their popularity (and your experience) suggests that isn’t the case at all. I guess that means I have to try them out for myself.

  23. constanze
    Posted 17 Dec ’17 at 17:00 | #

    Hi,
    I made these today and they taste D E L I C I O U S.
    A question to leftovers: for how long can I store the brownies in the fridge? And have you already tried to freeze them?
    Thank you so much for sharing, I love your blog + books!

  24. Posted 18 Dec ’17 at 18:02 | #

    Once again amazing baking here:) this looks just delicious and thank you for sharing this!

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