A few months back, I downloaded a recipe for Black Bean Brownies from a blog called "Chocolate Covered Katie." You make them by blitzing rolled oats and black beans in a food processor, with a little maple syrup or agave nectar, enriched with a healthy dose of cocoa powder; then you fold in some chocolate chips and bake. I thought: wow, that could be really good! Beans are creamy and toothsome, and they could be a fine vehicle for chocolate. I would love to try that!
You know that sound you just made? The guttural “BLECH!” emerging of its own accord from the back of the throat? That’s the sound that everyone in my family would make if I told them I was going to make brownies out of black beans. And that’s why I never got around to trying this recipe.
AHA! But none of them are home at the moment! And so last Friday I found myself at the cusp of the weekend, with a batch of black beans fresh from the slow cooker, and all the other ingredients ready to go in the pantry. What was to stop me? I whipped a batch right up!
Right out of the oven, they looked pretty much like regular old brownies:
And you know what? They were pretty good! I ate one with a cup of peppermint tea. And then, because six grams of fiber are better than three, I ate a second.
I liked them even better after a night in the fridge, with my morning tea.
I mentioned my culinary adventure to my friends Bob and Judy when I went to their house for dinner a couple of nights later. Bob is a terrific cook and an even better baker. "I have the world's best brownie recipe," he said. He sent it to me. It's from Maida Heatter's chocolate cookbook. It involves, among other things, three sticks of butter, a cup and a half of sugar, and seven eggs.
I'm thinking that maybe those brownies taste better than the black bean brownies. But Truly Healthy Brownies! What could be better than that?
Last night my 24-year-old daughter, Rebecca, came over for a cup of tea after we'd gone out for dinner, a meal that featured a big, shared plate of onion rings. Now, I'm sure that onion rings have plenty of fiber, along with a whole army of micronutrients that are doing wonders, even now, for my gut microbiome. Nonetheless, the Truly Healthy Brownies seemed like the right dessert offering. So I pulled out a couple.
Sadly, I was too slow pulling out my phone to capture the truly fabulous face that she made after her first (and last) bite. So I searched the family archives to see if I could find an approximation. It was pretty much an amalgam of these:
(To be fair, I'm pretty sure that middle one isn't actually Rebecca. Must be her sister.)
So we tossed the brownies and ate a couple of ice pops as a palate cleanser.
I guess I liked the black bean brownies initially because it's been kind of a long time since I've eaten one made with three sticks of butter.
As I say maybe a dozen times a week in my work life: it's all compared-to-what.
I still have four or five of the black bean brownies in my freezer. I'm not sure what to do with them.
But I will say this: I just ate an apple. And it was really, really good.