Black Bean Brownies

I’ve been wanting to try black bean brownies for a long time now. Everyone says you can’t detect the beans at all, and gee whiz, now that I’ve had them I can say … they’re right! I created this brownie recipe after researching tips from other recipes online and struck gold.

They taste even better than they look, and I’m fully aware of how good they look.

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Dense and fudgy with an intense cocoa flavor, these brownies are incredibly addicting and that’s ok – because they’re good for you too. If you’re like me, and always seem to have a can of black beans and bananas on-hand, make these immediately. This is not a drill. Go!

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Put all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a blender or food processor. Process until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and fold into batter.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared pan and sprinkle more chocolate chips on top.
  5. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out mostly clean and there are cracks in the top of the brownies.
  6. Cool the pan completely and then refrigerate until chilled. If you used parchment paper, you should be able to lift the brownies out of the pan easily. Cut the brownies as you like. I got 16 squares out of my pan.

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Black Bean Brownies

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Tangerine Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Tangerine Cake
For my Dad’s birthday, I didn’t want to make him the same ole’ tired yellow/white/chocolate cake that everyone has. I wanted to make something that I really thought he would like.
For as long as I can remember, my Dad has leaned towards the tart, had a fondness for the sour, an affinity for the tangy. While limes are a big deal in his universe, tangerines are too. As a kid, I distinctly remember my Dad ordering tangerine-flavored snow cones, which I always found bizarre because, who doesn’t want Tiger’s Blood? (If you don’t know snow cone flavors, then you won’t get this. I’m not a psycho, I swear, it’s a cherry/coconut-based flavor!)
Harkening back to memories of tangerines, which just happen to be in season right now, my gut told me to go with that. Now to find a suitable tangerine cake recipe …
Tangerine Cake 3
I really, really love recipes that embrace the whole fruit. I’ve made an orange cake before where you blanch and blend the citrus fruit whole, and it turned out wildly successful, so, why mess with success?
Tangerine Cake 2
(What is that pattern on the plate, you ask? Oh that’s just the impression my hungry fingers made in the chocolate when I swiped them with abandon through the excess ganache fallen on the plate. Worth it.)

Flourless Tangerine Cake

Recipe adapted from The View from Great Island
Ingredients:
  • 3 large tangerines (or tangelos), to make about 1 cup of puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 cups almond meal/flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)

Instructions:

  • Set oven to 350F
  • This is the most time-consuming part of the cake. Wash your tangerines and put them in a saucepan covered with cold water. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain the pan, refill with cold water, and boil again for 15 minutes. Then one more time, drain the pan, refill with cold water, and boil for 15 minutes. This boiling process removes the bitterness in the citrus skin.
  • Rough chop the tangerines and remove any seeds. (Tip: Do this in a bowl so you don’t lose any juice.) Put the tangerines in a food processor and process until completely smooth. You will likely have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. You will die over the aroma that rises from the processor.
  • Set aside the pureed citrus.
  • Beat the eggs and coconut sugar until light and creamy. Fold in the almond meal, citrus pulp, and baking powder. Mix until combined.
  • Pour the batter into a greased (with coconut oil) 9″ pan (can use spring-form or whatever you have – I used a pie pan).
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes, until lightly golden and a toothpick, when inserted in the center, comes out clean.
  • Cool the cake on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan to finish cooling.
  • At this point, you can dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar, decorate with some citrus zest, or pour a bowl of cascading ganache over the top as I did. (Tip: The last option is strongly recommended!)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 12 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet)
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil

Place both ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring each time until smooth and fully melted. You can also melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Pour the ganache over the warm cake, spreading to cover the entire cake. Devour immediately.

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Lemon Chia Seed Muffins: 2 Ways

My brother is spoiled rotten. He gets treats every dang time I visit him. As much as he enjoys getting edible gifts, I enjoy giving them. So I guess it all works out.

This time, it was cotton candy cookies (per his request) and lemon chia seed muffins. I’m not a big fan of the cotton candy flavor, accomplished with help from Duncan Hines flavor packets, but the muffins … my god, the muffins.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin

I’ve always loved lemon poppyseed muffins, but since I’ve discovered chia, it just makes sense to swap in the nutrient powerhouse that is the chia seed. I’ve mentioned before how terrible my oven is, but for whatever reason, these muffins always come out perfect. They have a sort of buttery brown and slightly crisp exterior, while the inside is soft and delicate. Both versions of this recipe, the healthy and … less-healthy, turned out beautiful. 

I think there is some sort of chemical reaction at play between the lemon juice, yogurt and baking soda, because the batter literally fluffs and foams up when you’re mixing at the very end. It almost reminds me of a soft and fluffy tempura batter. These muffins are an absolute must-bake. They’re nice for a grab-and-go breakfast or snack. I’m a purist myself, but I bet these would also be great with blueberries or walnuts if you so desire. 

I made regular ole’ sugar and butter muffins for my brother, because he’s a growing boy. I made a healthier version, sans frosting, for myself. I added in Greek yogurt, fiber-rich whole-wheat, flax meal, coconut sugar and coconut oil. Both were delicious in their own ways. I love that rich and nutty flavor and texture you get from using whole wheat, so the healthy muffins were right up my alley. My brother is a sweet-buttery-delicate cake kinda guy, so these were right up his … 

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 3

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 large lemons (yielding ¼ cup zest and ⅓ cup juice)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup milk or cream
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine lemon zest and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release flavor from the zest. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice, vanilla, eggs, oil, butter, milk, and chia seeds. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into greased muffin tins; you should be able to get 12 muffins. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.
  4. For the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar and juice together until smooth. Heat the butter over medium heat until melted; add the glaze mixture and stir until bubbling and warm, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and glaze muffins immediately by dipping muffins upside down into the glaze saucepan or spooning the glaze over the tops. Glaze should set quickly.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 4

Healthy Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 large lemons (yielding ¼ cup zest and ⅓ cup juice)
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine lemon zest and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release flavor from the zest. Add the flour, flax, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice, vanilla, eggs, oil, yogurt, milk, and chia seeds. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into greased muffin tins; you should be able to get 12 muffins. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 5

 If you’re trying to decide which to bake, I say, when in doubt, frost yo-self!