When I stumbled across a recipe for Amazing Black Bean Brownies on 101 Cookbooks, I knew one day I would give it a try simply for the weird factor. At that point in my life I didn't know I had diabetes and didn't even notice the inclusion of agave nectar as the sweetener. I've been playing around with agave in baking and have had good results. It's 25% sweeter than sugar, so if you're swapping one cup of sugar in a recipe, use 3/4 of a cup of agave. The glycemic index of agave nectar is 27, extremely low compared to sugar or honey. On top of that, these brownies contain no flour and instead are loaded with black beans. That means high fiber!
These brownies are dark and rich with chocolate flavor, but they're purposely not too sweet. I like my chocolate dark and with little added sugar or milk to dilute the flavor of chocolate, therefore its very important to use the best chocolate you can find when you make this recipe. I made enough changes to the recipe that I'm publishing my version here, but if you're interested in more baking with agave nectar, check out the recipe's origin in Baking with Agave Nectar by Ania Catalano.
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli Unsweetened baking bar, chopped)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups canned black beans (look for a variety that has no salt added)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
¼ cup instant espresso powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 cup light agave nectar
In a large microwave safe bowl melt the butter and chocolate at 30 second intervals until completely smooth.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, vanilla extract, almond extract, and about 1/2 cup of the melted chocolate mixture. Process until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. The mixture will be thick.
Add the remaining walnuts, the espresso powder, and salt to the remaining melted chocolate and mix well.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minutes. Add the agave nectar and mix to combine.
Add the bean mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until completely incorporated. Reserve 1/2 cup of the egg mixture and pour the remainder in the bean/chocolate mixture and mix well. Spread this batter into a 9 X 13 brownie pan that you've lined with parchment or non-stick aluminum foil. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup of egg mixture on high until thick and creamy, about 1 minute. Drizzle the thickened egg mixture over the top of the brownies and drag a toothpick or cake tester (I used a chopstick) through the batter and egg mix to create a marbled effect. (As you can see from the above photo, I probably didn't swirl my egg mixture in enough, but the end result wasn't totally unattractive, and the recipe still worked) Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Mine were done right at 30 minutes. When done the brownies will be slightly browned on top, but will still feel soft. In fact, these brownies will still feel soft until refrigerated for a few hours, and if you can wait overnight. Don't attempt to slice until refrigerated for at least 3 hours.
Makes 24 brownies.
Each brownie contains 14 grams of fat, 196 calories, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.