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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Allergy-friendly recipe: Black Bean Brownies

I admit, "black bean brownies" does not sound appetizing. Except for the "brownie" part when you ignore the "black bean" part. When you're working with as few ingredients as we are currently and you're a 3 year old girl that hasn't had anything resembling dessert in 10 months, you don't CARE what the brownies are made out of as long as they don't taste awful! (and they didn't)

My favorite part about this recipe (aside from how few ingredients it takes & that Raya isn't allergic to any of them) is how EASY it is. Since you're working with whole black beans, you have to use a blender to mix the batter. That means you throw everything in the blender so you only dirty the blender, a couple of measuring cups/spoons, a rubber spatula, and the pan you bake them in.
The batter might look a little scary but it smelled WONDERFUL and since it was something I was finally able to bake for Raya, it was the most beautiful batter ever.
{I ♥ my Vitamix!}

I had made some alternative-ish desserts before (like chocolate cake with beets in it and chocolate chip cookies with white beans in them) but had never made anything quite like these brownies so I didn't know how they would turn out. They smelled great in the oven!
While they didn't taste like or have the texture of a boxed brownie mix (who could expect them to though, right?!) they turned out great! They're extremely moist and don't have even a hint of bean flavor to them. I would imagine that if you ate too many, they would have the same effect as eating a lot of beans would have, if you catch my drift. They tasted good enough for me though, so I was pretty sure Raya would be happy with them too.

The reason I had hunted down a "Raya-safe" recipe was because we were having a birthday party for her big sister and I am so tired of handing her Smarties and expecting her to be happy with that and not wish she could eat the cake everybody else is eating. It's crappy. The smile on her face when I handed her a little purple plate with HER "brownie-cake" on it totally made my heart melt.
She LOVED sitting at the table with the other kids and eating her brownie while they ate their cake & ice cream and I loved seeing her so happy. (although I was a bit nervous watching the wheat-laden cake crumbs flying & crossed my fingers that she wouldn't accidentally eat any)
Unfortunately, she woke up with a stomachache later that night. We're not sure yet if it was because of the actual brownie or because she ate so late in the evening. (we usually don't let her eat solid food after about 5:30pm because it sits in her stomach for hours) Beans & legumes are not gastroparesis-friendly so we will limit her bean brownie intake to once in a great while and only early in the day. Last time she ate a little piece (at lunch time), it was coming out her stoma a little while later so yeah, stomach problems, but whatever. It made her happy. :)
Here's the recipe, which is adapted from this recipe:
  • 1 can of black beans (15.5 oz) drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 3 eggs (or equivalent amount of a safe egg substitute)
  • 3T vegetable oil (we used canola but could have also used coconut)
  • 1/4C cocoa powder (I used a generous 1/4 C, so probably 1/4C + 1-2 T)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C white sugar (I used slightly less)
  • 1tsp baking powder (if you're not able to use corn products, make sure it's a cornstarch-free baking powder)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Add black beans (drained & rinsed), eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and sugar to the blender pitcher and blend at high speed until well combined and smooth. (If using a Vitamix, blend for about 1 minute on high speed.)
  3. Pour batter into the baking dish and bake in preheated oven until the top of the brownies appears dry (about 30 minutes).
*Note: the baking powder was not in the original recipe but was added to give the brownies a little more of a cake-like texture, so it could be omitted if necessary
The other great thing about this recipe is that I was able to slide a fork under the edge of the brownies (because the pull away from the edges a little) and then lift the whole slab out of the pan. I wrapped it all in plastic wrap & put it in the fridge. It is VERY moist, so after being in the fridge for a while, it is even more fudgy now. I plan on cutting them into individual serving sizes and freezing them so we'll have treats for Raya when we need them.


  1. So this reminds me of a blog I used to follow, and where I got a recipie for choc. chip cookie dip using Maybe you've already found this, maybe it doesn't apply (yet), but anyway, good sounding/looking stuff. Honestly this blog is like my pintrest boards, something I look at but rarely try. But I want to!

  2. Even though I can no longer eat, I still enjoy baking...and it has to be free of my allergies by default since I cannot bake or cook with food I am allergic to. Thanks for the recipe! I can alter this and I have a group of discerning test subjects ;)


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