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Black Bean Brownie Bandwagon

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I’ve noticed lots of recipes for Black Bean Brownies all over the internet. Some are just regular old butter and sugar brownie recipes while others are vegan, gluten-free, carob recipes. I was looking for something in between. Now, I’m not a big fan of sneaking healthy stuff into treats. I’m more of an eat yer veggies and then enjoy a homemade dessert kind of gal. But, I was going to a barbeque where there was one child with diabetes and another on a gluten free diet. I really wanted to take a dessert that they could both dig into and that maybe even some of the grown ups might enjoy.

I couldn’t find the perfect recipe online, so I concocted my own cobbled together version. They were pretty easy to make, but I did a test run to make sure they’d be good enough to share. When my son, the Young Fresh Chef, tried his first one I asked him what he thought the secret ingredient was. He chewed and thought, then guessed, “Plums?” (We had just bought some gorgeous purple plums) When I told him it was black beans, he shrugged, nodded and ate another one.

All the kids at the barbeque were intrigued by the concept of beans in brownies.After dinner, the bars disappeared rather quickly and there were lots of dimpled chocolate dusted cheeks and whispered requests for the recipe. I even got my husband, the Executive Chef, to try a bite and his, “Not as bad as I thought it would be.” was higher praise than I had ever hoped. Though he totally objects to them being called brownies, he will tolerate the term “bars”.

Black Bean Brownies

I used dried beans that I cooked in my slow cooker with no pre-soak and it took about 6 hours. While the beans were cooling I added a vanilla bean so they would suck up the flavour.

The sweetener can be tweaked to your own taste or what’s available in your pantry. I try to use small amounts of different sweeteners so that there isn’t a predominant taste of any one.

These could also be veganized by using an egg substitute.

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1/2 cup cocoa powder or cacao powder

1/2 cup walnuts

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 Tablespoons coconut oil

4 Medjool dates (approximately 1/4 cup)

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup agave syrup

1/4 cup xylitol

2 cups black beans (rinsed, if canned)

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon maple syrup extract

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. Line a 11X13 baking pan with parchment paper.

3. Place all of the ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until fully combined and the beans and walnuts are indistinguishable.

4. Scrape the mixture into the lined pan. Bake until the middle has set, about 30-45 minutes. Let cool COMPLETELY before cutting.

I cut them up into 24 rectangles and froze the extra ones in snack size bags inside one large freezer bag for school lunches.

These taste even better with a smear of peanut butter, you know, if you’re into that kind of thing!

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Dream Date

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I always enjoy making treats for my loved ones, even more so for special occasions. My darling Momette’s birthday comes just before the heart-filled hoopla that is Valentine’s Day and I always focus on that first before I think about V-Day. Now, Momette has been all about the health food for as long as I have known her (umm… my whole life). As a child, I endured countless tofu cheesecakes but was never convinced that it was superior to the original cheeseful version. The list of things she will/will not eat changes with each book she reads, show she watches and podcast she hears (I call her the texting granny, for her encouraging embrace of technology).

I was inspired by one of my favourite healthful blogs, My New Roots, to try a recipe for date squares that would fulfill all of Momette’s requirements and maybe a little more. Raw: Check! Vegan: Check! Gluten Free: Check! Sugar Free: Check! Delicious: Check!

Young Fresh Chef and I enjoyed a few samples and wiped the date filling bowl clean with carrot slices that were intended for his lunch (it’s amazing how much he likes to “cut” veggies with the food processor). I used a Buck Brand navel orange for the zest and the juice in the filling and it gave it a nice flavour that balanced the sweetness of the dates. The orange flavour was strongest when they were first made and mellowed out over time.

At the last minute I whipped up some Quinoa Quookies which I just made up off the top of my head. I had some left over breakfast quinoa and I combined it with chia gel, golden raisins, ground walnuts, coconut oil, maple syrup and some spices. There was no measuring, so I can’t call it a recipe. They ended up pretty tasty, the texture was a bit odd, that’s why I don’t feel like I can call it a cookie. I prettied up the sweeties by placing them in muffin papers and I loaded up a tin to take over to Momette’s for a B-Day Tea Party.

We enjoyed our tea and treats and had a good chat. She loved both choices, and said she was glad that I hadn’t made some fluffy white flour cake for her (do I know her, or what).  I love spending time with my Mom and I’m always happy when I can brighten up her day. She has always been a wonderful support and cheerleader for me and taught me so much. She is my first Valentine and holds an extra special spot in my heart.

What is the best treat you have made for someone, or that someone has made for you to celebrate an occasion?

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