Sunday, July 21, 2013

HEALTHY Brownies?! Naturally Sweet...Sugar free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Flourless

You read that RIGHT. "Healthy" and "Brownies" in the same title... how can this be?

A while back I remember reading something about brownies made out of black beans. My initial thought was, well, probably what everyone's was..."What the heck?!"

After many recipe readings and reading reviews, however, I decided to give it a shot. Most everyone was saying they tasted great, and heck, I am always up for a challenge in the kitchen.

That being said, I REALLY wanted to health-ify this recipe up. I do not eat sugar, so I knew using any would be out of the question. I don't even use stevia, so that made things even trickier! I turned to my trusty friend, the beloved dried date, for my all natural sweetness.

My best friend Taylor spent the night last night, so I kind of made these especially for our movie date! She also is a health nut, so using black beans in brownies came as no surprise to her. She makes healthy desserts frequently and loves trying new things, so I already figured she would dig these... but boy, I still was surprised when she chowed down on nearly half the pan!

No worries there, chicka. These babies are protein packed, and honestly guilt free. Plus my sister and mom did not want any... I am glad she loved them so much, otherwise I would have been tempted to eat the whole thing myself! ;)

I really wanted something that was going to be delicious, fudgy, sweet... but nutritious too. I read many different variations before finally coming up with one that worked for me! So yes, people... you are reading this correctly, no need to rush to the eye doctor.


Healthy Brownies
Yields 9 small brownies, one small-medium pan 

15 pitted dates
1 can black beans (I actually used black soy beans)
1/2 cup 100% cocoa powder
1 TSP baking powder
2 TBSP vanilla extract
1 TSP nutmeg
1 TSP cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1) Preheat your oven to 350. Soak the dates in warm water for a few minutes.

2) Place the dates, the beans, and the cocoa powder in a food processor and blend until smooth.

3) Add in the remaining ingredients, besides the walnuts, and blend until mixed.

4) The mixture should be very thick and fudgy. You do not want little specks of bean or date in the mix, so make sure they are blended smooth before transferring your mixture into a relatively small-medium sized brownie pan. I used a rubber spatula for this.

5) Smooth down the mix so that it is evenly spread. Top with walnuts, if desired.

6)  Cook in the oven for about 35 minutes, checking to make sure it does not burn. You may have to leave it in longer... you want it to feel slightly firm, but the sides should not be burnt.

NOTE: I nearly died when I first took these out of the oven, I thought I had burnt them!! Turns out, the top layer turns nearly black while cooking. This has no effect on the flavor what so ever, and the texture of this 'layer' is not crisp or anything.

My mom had a hard time eating these brownies once I told her the main item was beans... so maybe you shouldn't reveal your "secret ingredient" to just anyone. Let it be something personal to the chef! ;)

I only used 10 dates in my recipe, but that is because I am used to no sugar so 10 was plenty for my sensitive taste buds. If I were to make them for anyone else, I definitely would use 15-20.

I also would love to point out how thick this brownie mix is! I expected it to be different than store bought, but this surprised me. It was already fudgy and delicious before cooking! Usually, the boxed stuff you buy is really liquidy.

Anyways... you have seriously GOT TO TRY THESE OUT. I am sure you could also find a healthy icing recipe (perhaps I will create one soon?), or you could just do what I did... top it with some all natural peanut butter and sliced strawberries, and call it a day. YUM ;)

Whats the craziest "secret ingredient" you've heard of?
Any favorite desserts you have- or wish you could- make healthy?


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