It’s a snow day (one of many this winter on the east coast)! To sustain and delight my family I whipped up these awesome black bean brownies. Hubby said they are the best brownies he has ever had, period. They are nutritionally dense: just one tablespoon of ground flax seed provides a full day’s dose of omega-3 fatty acids with no need for fish oil capsules. Black beans make the brownies dense and moist and give a fudgey texture along with plant-based protein. The brownies are rich in b vitamins from the 100% whole wheat flour. Blackstrap molasses is the plant-based (but not “whole food”) sweetener. Unlike other types of molasses, the blackstrap variety contains 20% of the recommended daily value for iron in just 2 tablespoons! It is also a rich source of potassium. So why don’t we eat black bean brownies every day? Molasses is a source of sugar that is easily accessed by the body. Added sugars like molasses, maple, and agave syrup should seldom be used on a whole foods plant-based diet. It is far better to get sugars in the form of complex carbohydrates found in starchy foods, or by eating whole fruits that have fiber (not fruit juice). Sugar in these forms is processed by the body more slowly and healthfully!
I feel great about feeding these brownies to my family for dessert. They are free from oil, dairy, and refined sugar. Who knew whole foods plant-based baking could taste so good? This recipe uses a 9×13 glass baking dish, but you can also use a silicone muffin pan for individual brownies. Just bake for 20 instead of 28 minutes. The brownies will be so moist that there is no need to grease the baking pans, they will lift out easily.
Peanut Butter Swirl Black Bean Brownies
4 Pitted Medjool dates
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
30 oz Cooked black beans, or (2) 15 oz cans, drained and rinsed
2 Teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 Cup blackstrap molasses, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 Cup unsweetened applesauce
1 & 1/2 Cups 100% whole wheat pastry flour
1 Cup cocoa powder
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 & 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
1/4 Cup organic unsalted peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Soak the dates in 2 cups of warm water for ten minutes. In the bowl of a food processor combine the ground flax seed with 1/2 cup of water and pulse a few times. Let the flax sit for a minute or two to soften in the water. Add the black beans, vanilla, blackstrap molasses (reserving 2 tablespoons), applesauce, and the dates and date water. Process on high about 3-4 minutes, until smooth.
In a large bowl combine the whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Use a fork to mix the dry ingredients quickly and thoroughly. Add the black bean mixture to the dry ingredients and gently combine with a spatula, breaking up any lumps. Add a little more water if needed. The batter should be smooth and thick, not doughy or too runny. It should look like cake batter. Pour the batter into a 9×13 glass baking dish.
In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses, and 1-2 tablespoons of water. Mix with the back of a spoon until a creamy, uniform consistency is achieved. Use a spoon to dollop the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter in several places. Then use a toothpick or chopstick to swirl the peanut butter across the top of the batter. Bake the brownies for 28 minutes (do not over bake). Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!