Vegan Black Bean Brownies

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So I’ve been trying to make vegan and gluten-free brownies for a while now. There are A LOT of recipes out there and I’ve tried quite a few. However, what I’ve found is that most do taste different, as in not as sweet or chocolatey as regular brownies. And as my main audience for these brownies are my kids, that is a problem.

Saying that, I may have cracked it with this vegan and gluten-free recipe, courtesy of the excellent food blog Minimalist Baker. The recipe advocate flax eggs – ground flax seed or chia seeds mixed with water – that will bind the ingredients together in place of egg. Follow the link to their very informative website for more info on how to make flax eggs instead of using real eggs.

In our family we normally experiment with a sweet recipe on Sundays as everyone is tired and slow – baking together is doing something without the commitment of leaving the house.  Just the way we like it. Which is why I was extra excited when the brownies were a hit. They came out goey and very chocolately. My daughter loved them, especially with a dollop of coconut ice cream. Top tip! Add the black beans into the food processor when children are looking away – sometimes the knowledge of an ingredient can be offputting, no matter how delicious the final outcome may be.

The brownies are baked in a muffin tin so it is easy peasy to make and clean after. The good news is that black beans, raw cacao,  flax seeds and chia seeds are loaded with anti-oxidants and protein. So dig in! These brownies are positively healthy without compromising on flavour. Add your own toppings, such as nuts, coconut, berries and serve with coconut ice cream or yoghurt. We used desiccated coconut and blueberries for our topping but the world is your oyster.  Here is how we did them:

 Vegan Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies (by Minimalist Baker)

Ingredients (makes 12)
1 can black beans, well rinsed and drained
2 large flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax/chia seeds dissolved in 5tbsp water – leave for 10 min. until swelled)
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup raw cacao powder (the higher quality the better)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup palm sugar (unrefined and organic)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Optional toppings: crush walnuts, pecans or raw chcolate nibs
How to:
  1. Pre heat oven to 175C. Grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan. Make sure you’ve rinsed and thoroughly drained your black beans at this point.
  2. Prepare flax egg by combining ground flax/chia and water in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a couple of times and then let rest for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients , bar toppings, and puree – about 3 minutes – scraping down sides as needed. You want it pretty smooth. If the batter appears too thick, add a tbsp or two of water and pulse again. It should be slightly less thick than chocolate icing but nowhere close to runny.
  3. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tin and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger. Optional: Sprinkle with crushed walnuts, pecans or chocolate chips.
  4. Bake for 20-26 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides. I found mine took about 25. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a fork. The insides are meant to be very fudgy, so don’t be concerned if they seem too moist – that’s the point. Plus, they’re vegan so it doesn’t really matter. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. Refrigerate to keep longer. Enjoy! x

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