Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Black Bean Brownies

 Black bean brownies are today’s brownie buzz. I responded to a question on MixingBowl.com today about making a black bean brownie with no flour using agave nectar. A Mixer had tried one that was best described as unsweetened and awful tasting.
I took on the challenge to try to make the brownie. Some of the question that arose are:
  • How does agave measure in sweetness to sugar?
  • Are all agave nectars the same in sweetness?
  • Is there really a fool proof measurement cup for cup to sugar?
  • Should a baked dessert use all agave nectar as the sweetener?
 I gathered my ingredients as follows:
  • Can of black beans
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Vanilla powder
  • Rum flavoring
  • Brown sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Butter
  • Unsweetened chocolate
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Egg
I wasn’t sure if I would use all of the flavorings or the cornstarch, but wanted to have it handy.

 Black Bean Brownies (no flour)

1 egg
-----Puree in food processor-----
1 16 ounce can black beans (rinsed and drained) yields -- 1 1/2 cups
1 cup amber agave nectar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp rum flavoring
1/2 tsp baking soda
-----Melt together-----
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp ginger
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 Tbsp Hershey's Special Dark Syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

  • Process black beans, agave, brown sugar, cornstarch, rum flavoring and baking soda, together in a food processor until pureed.

  • Melt the chocolate along with butter, ginger, Hershey’s Syrup, vanilla powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper
  • Add the Chocolate mix to the food processer and pulse until blended. Add egg and pulse until blended. Stir in nuts.

  • Pour into a greased 9x9 cake pan.

  • Bake at 325 F for approximately 30 minutes. Check for doneness with toothpick

  • Let cool completely before cutting.
Servings: 20
Some bakers recommend baking goods containing agave nectar at a lower temperature. Oven temperature was reduced to 325 F for this recipe.
One tablespoon of cornstarch was added to guarantee that the brownie would not be too brittle. It possibly could be omitted, if all agave nectar is not used.
I do not recommend using all agave nectar in a recipe. The taste does not match the ‘sugar’ taste most of us are familiar with.
To reduce calories, try 1/3 non-calorie sweetener, 1/3 granulated sugar and 1/4 agave nectar. This will be my next version of this brownie.
Nutrition (calculated from recipe ingredients)
Calories: 111
Total Fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 13.6mg
Sodium: 68.2mg
Potassium: 77.4mg
Carbohydrates: 6.5g
Fiber: 1.8g
Sugar: 14.6g
Protein: 1.9g
My rating: Could be sweeter, 3 of 5 points  I have since modified my recommendation of this one.  After sitting overnight on the counter, the flavors melded a bit and it appeared sweeter.  I will make it again and double the cinnamon.
This is one of my usual black brownies modified to substitute one-half of sugar with agave nectar.
Black Bean Brownie with a Kick (agave)
One half of the sugar was replaced with amber agave nectar.
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed, drained (yields 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup amber agave nectar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; prepare a 9 x 9-inch pan with an oil spray like PAM.
  •  Rinse and drain beans until water runs clear. Blend beans, ginger and egg in food processor until smooth.
  • Melt chocolate, vanilla powder, cinnamon, cayenne,sugar, agave nectar and butter in a microwave safe bowl or pot on stove top until starting to melt. Remove from heat. Do not over heat. Stir until fully blended and smooth. Set aside.
  •  Pour bean puree into a large bowl. Fold in chocolate mix until blended, fold in flour until combined.
  • Stir in nuts. Pour mixture into pan. Bake 20-22 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into 20 bars.   forgot to stir in nuts, so sprinkled on top and pressed in
Servings: 20
  Nutrition (calculated from recipe ingredients) ---------------------------------------------- Calories: 160 Total Fat: 6.3g Cholesterol: 13.6mg Sodium: 51.7mg Potassium: 111.7mg Carbohydrates: 18.7g Fiber: 2.3g Sugar: 16.6g Protein: 2.7g
My rating: Cake like, light texture, the cayenne flavor comes thru and is not too overwhelming, 5 of 5 points

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