Healthy and Sane

Eating chocolate during the CLC – amazing black bean brownies

June 25th, 2009 · 16 Comments · baking, Cleaner Life

One of the things I was most nervous about after deciding to do my own version of Heather’s Cleaner Life Challenge, was going almost 30 days without chocolate and other sugary sweets. I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic and anyone who knows me (in both real and blog life) knows that even that is kind of an understatement. The challenge so far is going well. I’ve had some kind of chocolate tasting thing nearly every day, but that’s a huge improvement over what I was doing before. Better yet, these chocolate tasting treats were sugar free, and I’m not talking artificial sweeteners… I’m talking natural, unrefined sweeteners. Yeah, baby :)

So yeah, given my love for chocolate and an upcoming blogger potluck dinner, I went searching my favorite blogs and magazines for some inspiration. Most sugarless desserts sounded boring for this chocoholic… until I stumbled upon a recipe for amazing black bean brownies I’ve saved a long time ago. The recipe is originally from Baking with Agave Nectar by Ania Catalano, and after tasting these guys, I need to get my hands on this cookbook. Yes, need. The copy from my library mysteriously disappeared (I’m not even kidding, the records say “missing”) and honestly I can’t blame whomever took it.  Actually I can blame them (sneaky thieves!) but you know what I mean… :)

Aside from being white sugar and white flour free (yay for staying on top of the CLC), these were fantastic! The brownies have some instant coffee in the batter, and the coffee really intensified the chocolate flavor. The texture was fudge-like, like a creamy flourless chocolate cake. My mouth is watering just thinking about these brownies (alas, they’re all gone). I halved the recipe, and the only substitution I made was using almond slivers instead of walnuts (one of my party attending friends, Katy, is allergic to walnuts). I think walnuts would have been excellent in these. Next time. Oh and no, you can’t taste the black beans 😀

Progress pics galore…

All the ingredients:


Melt butter + unsweetened chocolate in the microwave



Do not taste this! Yup, I did… unsweetened choc + butter = gross


Pulse some almonds, black beans + a little bit of the choc mixture. If the batter is too dry, add a little more chocolate.



Combine choc mixture, remaining almonds (or walnuts) + ground coffee


Beat eggs


Add agave nectar



Combine the chocolate/coffee mixture with the black bean/almond mixture



Add eggs/agave mixture, saving a little (as per recipe), and mix well



Pour into the pan


Add some fluffy eggs on top (looks funny but it turned out great!)



Bake + cool (I refrigerated mine overnight)


Cut into squares or triangles. I cut mine into 12 triangles (that’s for the half recipe) but these are quite rich so I’d probably cut into smaller squares next time.




Closeups… mmm


My first brownie. I may have had one for breakfast 😳


The whole recipe is 5,012 calories (makes 24-45 brownies, depending on size).

Enjoy! This recipe is a winner!! :mrgreen:

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16 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Daria (Summer of the CSAs)

    Those brownies look amazing! I’ve been meaning to try the black bean brownie thing for awhile…maybe I’ll use this recipe.

  • #2 - Jenna (WholeBodyLove)

    Those look delicious! Happy Herbivore has an awesome recipe for black bean brownies as well. I think hers is with no butter though!

  • #3 - Melissa (Nibbles and Wiggles)

    Though not nearly as fun you can also just add a can of black beans to a boxed brownie or cake mix (omit all other egg/oil/water add ins). :)

  • #4 - sister inna

    mm those look good, i like that you can see the pieces of nuts inside. yummy.
    i was about to say — you’re adding chocolate…doesn’t that have sugar – and then realized it’s unsweetened chocolate! duhh……

  • #5 - Jenny

    i literally can not stop drooling! i’m craving those brownies so badly right nowww!!!

  • #6 - K

    Thanks for the recipe and the how to! Those look awesome!!

  • #7 - Elina

    Jenna, good to know. I may have to try that recipe too. It’s such a great way to healthify (or bulk up) brownies :)

    Melissa, I’ve added black beans to the No Pudge mix before, but didn’t substitute anything – just added them as extra. So you say you add nothing but the beans to the mix? Won’t the stuff be dry?

    Innz, yeah – using unsweetened chocolate is awesome because I just sweetened it with agave nectar and it was still sweet but not processed… and agave nectar has a lower glycemic index. Perfect! 😀

    Jenny, go make them now! 😆

  • #8 - Jasmine (Sweet and Fit)

    these just look soooo good! I have always wanted to make black bean brownies, now I have one more reason!

  • #9 - Annabel

    Umm did you know that I LOVE & ADORE black beans?! GET IN MY BELLY!

  • #10 - Boston blogger potluck dinner

    […] Eating chocolate during the CLC – amazing black bean brownies […]

  • #11 - Lara (Thinspired)

    Can’t wait to try these. I’ve seen them on a lot of blogs lately. Do you think I could make them without having a Kitchenaide? I wonder if a blender would work on the almonds/beans.
    Your photos of these look magazine-worthy!

  • #12 - Elina

    Lara, you can definitely make these without a kitchenaid (just whip up the eggs by hand) but I don’t know about making it without the food processor. The almonds may be a little tough on the blender, but I’d give it a go if I were you. They were seriously to-die for. I’m going to make more soon (and I don’t often repeat recipes)!

  • #13 - Alison

    Those look great. I wonder if it would still taste good without the coffee. I don’t drink coffee and don’t really want to go to the trouble of buying some. But I have heard that coffee really helps chocolate dishes.

  • #14 - Elina

    Alison, I bet they would still taste great without the coffee, although you’re right – coffee usually intensifies the chocolate flavor :)

  • #15 - ttfn300

    i can’t believe i hadn’t commented, these were fabulous my dear!

  • #16 - Baking, walking, singing, eating

    […] blog then?). The idea of baking with agave really interested me, and my first recipe from the book, amazing black bean brownies, was nothing short of […]