With kids heading back to school this month, school activities and fundraisers will start filling up the calendar. J. Leone wrote us with a request for a gluten-free recipe for brownies, always a crowd pleaser at school fundraisers. I love a good food challenge. In addition to making a gluten-free brownie, I wanted to create a version with good protein, healthy carbohydrates and fiber - and, of course, it had to taste delicious!. With many gluten-free baked goods, you'll find starches and flours in the ingredients that have virtually no fiber or protein, so I didn't want to go that route. I needed a secret ingredient instead.
Here's the part where I tell you what the secret ingredient is and I kind of don't want to because I'm afraid you won't try the recipe! If you were here, I'd say "here, try a brownie" and then listen to you ooohhh and aaahhh about how delicious it is before I tell you what's in it. Here's hoping that you will trust me on this. The secret ingredient in these brownies is: black beans. Check out the full recipe for our delicious, you'd-never-guess-the-secret-ingredient Flourless Brownies.
The brownies are very simple to make and they turn out very moist and dense - almost fudge-like. Make and test your tasters to see if they can name the secret ingredient. While this may sound odd to us, over the years I've actually sampled a number of baked goods from various parts of the world that use beans as a main ingredient. I've tried breads made from navy beans, Asian pastries made with black beans, and desserts and pastries made with tofu (from soybeans). All these ideas inspired me to create this version of Flourless Brownies. When you compare these brownies to more traditional ones, you'll see that ours have fewer calories but more fiber and only 12 grams of sugar per serving versus 21 grams in a traditional brownie. And here's some good news for people watching their carbs: Ours have 17 grams of carbs per serving, compared to 36 grams for the traditional version.
If you like these brownies, try some bean experiments of your own. Maybe white beans baked into cupcakes or muffins or pinto beans baked into chocolate cake? While kitchen experimentation is required, you can start with drained, rinsed, pureed beans in place of flour...start out with 1 can of beans for 1/2 to 3/4 cup flour.
If you have some ideas or tips for using pureed beans in baked goods, I'd love to hear them! Please let us know in the comments below! Did you miss the link for the full recipe? Here is the complete Flourless Brownies recipe. Got a recipe that needs a natural makeover? Post it in the comments section below! If we select your recipe for a healthy makeover and publish the improved version on our website, we'll send you a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card.