These chocolate brownies, made from black beans and maple syrup, are proof that grain- and gluten-free baking tastes amazing. You can replace the walnuts with dried cranberries if you have a nut allergy. Play around with the sweetness − less maple syrup is better for you and gives a slightly more crumbly texture – we don’t add extra sweetness if we don’t need it. If you have a sweet tooth, start with 180ml and gradually decrease whenever you make it, adding a few drops of stevia for added sweetness until your taste buds adjust.
- 4 eggs
- 85g unsweetened cacao powder
- 150–180 ml maple syrup
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp coffee extract or use extra vanilla extract
- sea salt
- 130g chopped walnuts
- 2 tins of cooked black beans (drained weight 500g)or 500g home cooked beans (drained weight 200g, soaked overnight)
- 230g unsalted butter or 230ml coconut oil at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
- a few drops of stevia, to sweeten
1. Preheat the oven to fan 170°C/Gas mark 5. Grease the inside of a 24x20cm china or glass baking dish. Rinse the black beans and leave to drain. Melt the butter/oil, in a saucepan over a gentle heat, then set it aside.
2. Place the drained beans, eggs, cacao powder, 150ml of the maple syrup, the vanilla extract, and coffee extract, if using, into a food processor with a pinch of salt. Pulse a few times, then blend until smooth.
3. Add the melted butter/oil very slowly so as not to cook the eggs, while the machine is running. Taste the batter, adding more maple syrup or a few drops of stevia if need be, then stir in most of the chopped walnuts, reserving a handful.
4. Pour the brownie mixture in to the prepared dish and gently tap the baking dish on a kitchen counter to even out the mixture. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts on top and bake for 40–45 minutes, until the brownie feels firm but springy and its surface is cracked.
5. Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares. Refrigerating the brownies makes them wonderfully fudgy.
For a mocha-flavoured variation that's caffeine free:
Use 150ml of maple syrup and 75g of carob instead of cocao powder. Carob is sweeter than cocoa and not bitter so you don't need as much maple syrup.