Friday, August 16, 2013

Chocolate Truffle Brownies

[Edited on 8/19/2013] - These were originally titled "Healthy Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies" but this new name of Chocolate Truffle Brownies more accurately reflects their rich taste and fluffy texture. They're like the inside of a chocolate truffle.  

I've wanted to make black bean brownies for a long time, like years.  Yep, it's exactly what you think, brownies made from black beans. I know it seems weird, but it's a pretty common way to make gluten-free or healthy/Weight Watchers baked goods since it removes the standard flour and replaces them with fiber- and protein-rich beans.  I've been curious about them forever but never really found the motivation to actually make them. I was pushed more to make this when my coworker Kate made a similar chocolate-chip cookie pie (made with garbanzo beans) and gave me a piece to taste.  Hers were incredibly delicious, and I was thoroughly impressed. I decided I should finally try my hand at them. 


Ridiculously Healthy easy super low calorie brownies
Chocolate-Covered Katie black bean brownies
Summer of Pie healthful vegan chocolate brownies (my coworker Kate's blog!)

I combined these three recipes to make mine.  The first two are more what I was going for because they didn't have flour and I wanted to keep mine gluten-free, but I compared flavors and other ingredients with the last recipe to see how she enhanced hers. Plus Kate's recipe is vegan, and I thought that was yet another restriction, and I didn't need to restrict these even more since they're already made with black beans, no flour of any sort, and oil-free. I was afraid if I made any other modifications, they wouldn't turn out at all.


makes 16 brownies, 100 calories each
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (recommend Ghiradelli semi-sweet)
  • 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute (or 3 whole eggs because an egg is 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules, optional but it really enhances the chocolate flavor
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I'm using the homemade stuff)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar


Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with cooking spray.

Put the chocolate chips in the food processor and chop them up.  You don't want fine granules, only a few pulses to make them about 1/3 of the original size for better distribution.  Mine were frozen so they didn't chop too well. When you've got them chopped to the size you want, put them in a bowl off to the side to be incorporated later. 
Mine aren't too chopped, hopefully yours go better.

Once the chocolate chips are out of the food processor, put in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until smooth. 
beans and cocoa powder.
You'll probably need to stop and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and ensure there aren't any bits of bean missed. 
blended up smooth.
As you can see from the photos, the chocolatey batter oozed from the food processor bowl and came out everywhere.  So if you've got a small food processor, you can blend it in batches.  I would recommend mainly processing the beans (or most of them) with the egg and cocoa powder, the rest of the stuff can get mixed in by hand.  The cocoa powder definitely needs maximum hydration time. 
Messy batter.
If you use egg substitute, you can taste the raw batter since the eggs are pasteurized.  It tastes like chocolate pudding, quite nice. 
Tasty pools of chocolate.
When you've got it all processed smooth, add your chopped chocolate chips and pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 
Finished pan.


A moist, fluffy brownie with rich chocolate taste... and NO hint of bean flavor.

Husband Jeff tried them (not knowing they were made of black beans) and he declared them to be the best brownies I've ever made.  Even a day or two later he was proclaiming them to be so amazingly good.  He might have gotten a little shy about eating them after I told him they were made of black beans, but I wasn't really paying attention. Sonny D wouldn't try them when I first offered him some, but he finally did taste it and as he scampered up into his chair to eat it, he said "thank you, mama", which was awesome. 

Wow, it really helps to use good quality chocolate.  This was my first time using Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips and they are wonderful.  Of course Sonny D and I had to taste them as soon as we opened the bag, and then a few more to verify their deliciousness.  They didn't have any of the bitterness I usually associate with Hershey's chocolate chips.  I also used high-quality Callebaut cocoa powder, which I don't think is necessarily much better than the Hershey's natural unsweetened cocoa powder but I guess for homemade brownies that truly depend on the flavor, it might matter here. 

The texture might have a little of the bean graininess, but I might think that because I'm looking for it.  They're fluffier than a normal brownie, which is fine if you're used to cake brownies since it's pretty similar, but if you prefer them fudgy, you might want to underbake them a bit.  I gave a brownie to a coworker and he said there is no way you would be able to tell it was made from beans.

I love them, I think they're great, but definitely a little different than a standard box brownie mix.  They might be a little closer to a homemade brownie, but since I don't prefer homemade brownies, I haven't eaten one in a long time to really remember what they're like.  But like I said, the high quality chocolate chips and cocoa powder probably really help a lot to make them taste richer and more decadent.  They're certainly not going to taste like a full-fat brownie since there's no fat added to keep them low-calorie.  If you don't mind adding a bit of calories, you can replace the applesauce with coconut oil or butter. 

So if you're curious, I highly suggest you try them with an open mind.

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!