black bean brownies

I'm not a huge brownie fan, but when I saw some recipes using black beans instead of flour I had to try for myself. Some of the recipes contain sugar or agave nectar, but I chose to use brown rice syrup instead.

Agave nectar is very popular now for people who want sweets without raising blood sugar. However, agave nectar is still a highly processed sweetener that contains anywhere from 45 - 75% fructose. Fructose, unlike glucose does not raise your blood sugar so people really dig this. I don't trust it. Anything containing that much processed concentrated fructose is equivalent to using high fructose corn syrup. Scientists are now beginning to recognize that actually fructose is worse for us than glucose and raises triglyceride levels, has a negative impact on the liver and will actually cause us to secrete insulin causing us damage.

Brown rice syrup on the other hand is a sweetener that is actually a complex carbohydrate and needs time to be broken down by the body thus slowing the insulin response.

How are the brownies? They are a super yummy treat. Okay, I wouldn't consider them a health food per se, but if you have a yen to bake a chocolatey snack this would be it. Each square is less than 1/2 the calories of a regular brownie, plus you get all the goodness of black beans (which I can't say enough), and it is much higher in protein and lower in carbs.

Yield: 48 brownies
Prep time: ~30 minutes

113g unsweetened chocolate (cannot find in Israel so I used 70% dark chocolate chips and it was fine)
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (canned is okay)
4 large eggs
1 cup unsalted butter (I prefer coconut oil)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups brown rice syrup (or honey)
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Optional: 1/8 cup (granulated) natural coffee substitute (or instant coffee, for gluten-sensitive) for a richer taste

Method: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 11- by 18-inch (rimmed) baking pan with parchment paper and lightly oil with coconut oil or butter.

Melt chocolate and butter in small heavy saucepan until melted. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee substitute, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown rice syrup and beat well. Set aside.

Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.

Add the egg mixture. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated). Keep refrigerated.

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