The back burner: Black bean brownies

Maggie Gorman

Why force down a chalky, tasteless protein bar before your workout when you can get the same energy-boosting nutrition in the form of a nutty, chocolate treat?

Yes, beans are the main ingredient here, but don’t turn the page just yet. It might require a leap of faith, but just trust me when I tell you that you cannot taste the beans at all in the brownies. Now that we’ve cleared that up, I can also inform you that this brilliant recipe can be prepared before baking entirely in a blender. It’s deceptively nutritious and devastatingly easy to make, so don’t let the beans scare you. There is plenty of chocolate involved, too.

In fact, something a little bit magical exists in these brownies. No one is likely to believe you if you tell them they are made mostly of beans; the rich, chocolatey flavor and texture expertly disguise the bean taste to the point where it’s almost impossible to believe beans were involved at all. But you’ll want to believe it because with their protein and other nutritional values, and the fact that they replace otherwise abundant butter, the black beans make these brownies an indulgence you can justify.

Toasted almonds further accentuate the rich flavor, while bringing even more protein into the mix. A sprinkling of coarse sea salt lends a slight taste of chocolate-covered almonds that will delight fans of a salty-sweet combo without the caloric content of the candy bars in which it’s usually found. After you make a batch of these, you’ll never want to buy a protein bar again.

Double-Chocolate Almond Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients

1 can black beans

1/2 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon instant coffee

1 tsp maple syrup