An interesting twist on a classic chocolate brownie, made with black beans and given a lift with a little chilli and coffee kick!
Please don’t be put off by the whole bean thing, give them a go. You would never be able to tell and these brownies have a lovely rich texture and all the benefits of black beans, meaning that they’re healthy and gluten-free.
They’re also pretty fuss-free creations, pop all the bits in your trusty blender, blitz, bake, enjoy! Dessert sorted!! I don’t know who originally started to make cakes with beans, but I hope you’re very proud of your genius.
Rich and very chocolaty, they’re a real favourite of ours at the minute. We normally served them with our Dulce de Leche, it compliments the dark chocolate perfectly with its sweet caramel. If the Dulce de Leche is warmed, even better, then, a nice bit of vanilla ice cream. That’s some kind of perfection right there disguised as a gorgeous dessert!
I feel these brownies have a hint of Mexico about them, with the cinnamon and chilli. I just like a little chilli tickle, but I know some of you are chilli heads, so add as much as you fancy. A friend recently tried these with chipotle chilli flakes and enjoyed them, a little smokiness that could be interesting, but I’m not convinced. I’m going to try it soon, but smokiness in desserts seems like a taste bud twister to me.
There is a lot of cocoa/ cacao in these brownies, which gives them a lovely deep and rich chocolate flavour, with a nice bitterness. We prefer dark chocolate, this is definitely one for the dark chocolate lovers and when served with dulce de leche, you’ve got the whole sweet and bitter chocolate combo going on, which is a sensation! (So good, I mentioned it twice;)
Black beans are one of the most incredible plant based foods based nutrition wise, and they taste mighty fine too. Some people call them ‘turtle beans’ because of their hard shells.
I talk about their nutrition properties below in the ‘Foodie Fact’ bit, but they trample all over beef for example in almost every conceivable nutritional way. All we need are beans! We use a load of black beans in the Beach House, you can see by the recipes at the bottom of the page.
What’s your favourite bean? That’s a tough one I know. I’m definitely going through a black bean phase, with occasional butter bean relapses and a week rarely goes by when I don’t fall for a kidney bean. The world of beans are diverse and, in my eyes, there is no downside to beans.
I was once on BBC Radio Wales with Eleri Sion, how lucky am I! One of the first questions about us vegans was if we fart all the time!! Due to the bean thing. I don’t really get windy with beans, but I think the presenter was a little sensitive to pulses. I wasn’t expecting this question on national radio, it was a laugh and led to a chuckle of an interview.
These brownies are delicious without the chilli, if you’re not a big fan. The nuts and chocolate are luxury touches really, again, without them, the brownies still rock!
I think pecans are my favourite nuts for these brownies, but really, most nuts would love this brownie.
You can dare to slightly under bake these brownies. Much better that than over baking them.
Dark Chocolate & Chilli Brownies – Vegan & Gluten-Free
The Bits – Makes 12 Brownies
235g or 1 tin black beans (rinsed and drained)
2 tbs ground ﬂax (mixed with 5 tbs water)
3 tbs coconut oil or vegan spread
75g dark brown sugar
75g cocoa/ cacao powder
¼ teas sea salt
1 teas vanilla extract
2 teas instant coﬀee
1 teas cinnamon
1/6-1 teas chilli powder
1 teas gluten-free baking powder
½ teas g.f. bicarb soda
35g dark chocolate (chopped into small chunks)
35g chopped pecans/ cashews/ peanuts
Preheat fan oven to 180°C. Oil and line a small oven tray with baking parchment.
Mix your ﬂax seeds with the water and leave for 5 minutes to thicken.
Add all the ingredients to a food processor (except chocolate and peanuts), blitz for a minute. Scrape the sides of the blender down and repeat blending until a smoothish mix is formed.
Now add the chocolate and nuts, pulsing a few times to combine. Pour/ scrape the batter into your lined tray and press down flat, around 2/3 inch thick.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops and edges are just crisping up. Test with a toothpick or skewer; the insides should be a little sticky still. That’s what brownies are all about! Leave to cool in the tray and they will firm up.
Serve topped with dulce de leche, vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of nuts. Or as they are with a nice cuppa or if you fancy, serve with some whipped coconut cream for a real treat.
This is the low down and figures on the super charged hero that is the humble black bean. They’re full of healthy surprises!
Black beans contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc and can help to maintain strong bones and lower blood pressure. They are very high in fibre and protein, with much more protein and iron than beef, and they also contain selenium which is a quite rare in the plant world and very, very good for us. Eat beans, be merry!!