I'm not a big fan of trying to rebrand food as something it's not. I understand the reasoning, but I still don't like it. Vegan cheese is not cheese, almond milk is not milk, and a turkey bacon is not bacon. It's not that I have anything against these foods and don't necessarily have a problem eating most of them, I just don't like how they're named something they actually aren't. Instead of always trying to replace a food product with something else, why not instead try to come up with something different, and better!
Black bean brownies are another thing that I just can't get into saying. I just don't think a baked good full of black beans is a brownie. To me a brownie is chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar with just a little flour. It's a magical combination, and no recipe with beans is going to be comparable, unless of course the ratio is so out of wack that there are hardly any black beans in it anyway and then what's the point? But this does not mean I'm against what most people try to brand as "black bean brownies". I'm intrigued by anything that claims to be nutritious AND delicious. I'd just like to propose that instead of calling these concoctions "brownies", that we step back and just call them "bars" instead. A bar can be made out of anything, including beans!
I searched the internet high and low and came back with dozens of black bean brownie recipes. There were several that I was considering trying when I just decided to make up my own! That way I had complete control over what went in it, and I could make it to my taste. I wanted to make something less dessert-y and more of a snack I could feel pretty good eating in the afternoon when I suddenly realize that I didn't eat enough for lunch and dinner is still hours away! These bars were the result. I would especially not call these a brownie because they are not sweet enough. I didn't want them to be super sweet, just enough sugar to make them taste nice, but not like a rich dessert. So be warned if you want to try them that they will not be sweet.
In the end I was very pleased with how they turned out. They are dense and fudge, yet a little dry in texture. They hold together very well and are a great on-the-go snack. They are chocolate-y enough to feel like a treat without being so rich as to seem like dessert. And as for any bean flavor, nope! You really can't tastes beans at all. I cooked my beans from dry, so I can't say how canned black beans would taste in this recipe, but I imagine they would be just fine. Overall, a good snack, satisfying and nutritious.
Chocolate Chunk Protein Bars
Created by Delectably Mine
- 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) pureed black beans
- 1/4 cup (64 grams) almond butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder
- 6 medjool dates (110 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons (42 grams) honey
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- A couple dashes of cinnamon and/or cardamom
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) chocolate chunks
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor place the beans and almond butter. Process until smooth. Add the eggs and process until well combined. Add the remainder of the ingredients (except the chocolate chunks), and process until smooth and uniform. Remove the blade and stir in the chocolate chunks by hand.
Transfer the batter (it will be very thick) to a greased and lined 9x9 inch pan. Smooth the batter into an even layer. Place in preheated oven and baked for 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan until cutting into bars.