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)


Ingredients
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
 Procedures

  • 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.
 Notes:
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.
 Ingredients
  • 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
Procedures
  • 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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