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black bean browniesIt doesn’t happen often, but I have just rendered my daughter speechless. Not that she’s particularly loquacious, but she will speak her mind as necessary. And pass honest judgement on her old Mum’s cooking. More particularly my modest attempts at baking. Ouch.

When my Rachel was young I would make a good effort at donning a ‘pinny’ and doing a spot of after-school baking with her. But even then it was mostly breadsticks, flatbreads, or making something for a bake sale: we would lick the spoon and tidy the edges of bean browniesAs most of you are aware I am much more attuned to savoury foods than sweet. This is a particular handicap that translates itself into a general lack of enthusiasm for baking cakes and cookies. I do get a hankering for sweet things, but when it hits it is sudden – perhaps hormonal? – and readily assuaged with a hefty snap of dark chocolate, or even a fat Medjool date (sad to admit).

Mostly I crave the salty and the crisp. It could be seeded flatbreads, kale chips, popcorn – even plain tortilla chips (always bought; usually the cheapo supermarket-own ones. I know. I know.). But of course I am not a complete weirdo. I appreciate good home baking. Just yesterday I was tempted by the freshly baked-on-the-premises cakes at the fab Whitmuir The Organic Place cafe, but time and a full stomach nixed me getting a slice. So, I am not averse to cake. And more importantly, as a good American – albeit an ex-pat one – I can’t say no to a good brownie. My favourite ‘normal’ brownie is this one, but minus the mint. It is beautifully chewy and deeply chocolatey, even though it is made with cocoa and not chocolate. And this gluten-free flour brownie, studded with raspberries, is pretty awesome too.

But why be normal?

Many of you will already be well aware of the black bean brownie and of its many iterations. I don’t know about you, but a number of the recipes I have road-tested over the years haven’t been that great. It may have been my interpretation or liberal way with a timer, but still. Normally I will give up on a baking recipe if it doesn’t please me – us – but I knew that with just a little tinkering around I might be able to crack it. Or rather, softly pull it apart. Cracking is not what you want in a brownie!

I am not sure who first came up with the idea of subbing flour for beans but I would like to shake their hand. They are a genius. I just hope you like my little spin. Before I give give you the recipe, a few side notes. Some of the photos were taken in the summer when raspberries were in season (yes, I have been keeping this from you for that long!). We love berries with chocolate so if you have some good ones available I can heartily recommend popping some on top as a a perky  garnish, or even pushed into the brownies just as the pan emerges from the oven (like I do with my lemon polenta cake and the gluten-free flour brownies). Today I made this up using Aduki/Adzuki beans, those little reddish almost sweet beans used in Japanese and Chinese cooking (as in red bean paste).

gluten-free flour brownie

gluten-free flour brownie

Today’s images are the rather funky ones made on my phone. I wasn’t planning on using them here on the blog so they are all rather messy in their presentation, but I don’t think you’ll mind. Gooey brownies can’t be tamed anyway. 🙂 My other tweaks today were that I lessened the fat a smidge and subbed in some peanut butter; I also decreased the sugar and used some decadent caramel milk chocolate drops (Silver Spoon, if you are interested). The latter is what rendered my most honest critic speechless: the shop bought add-in. Oh the shame. And I have to admit I too liked the goo. So, in light of this I give tips for both the healthy-ish version and the wannabe healthy version. Your choice!

black bean browniesFudgy Aduki Bean and Peanut Butter Brownies

Last year: Quick Hot Chocolate Sauce with Iced Berries ( I make this for my weight management classes)

Two years ago: Savoury Beetroot and Cheese Loveheart Scones; Lentil Bolognese

Three years ago (Food To Glow turns 3 on February 14th): Quinoa and Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes (we still make these!)

Miss R’s track of the week: Tensnake’s cover of Nile Rodgers and Fiora’s Love Sublime

Grain-free but not taste-free! I use the peanut butter more as a fat replacement and to aid the texture than for its taste, but do add more for a proper nutty taste, or use all oil. Although black beans are more common in recipes like this, aduki (or adzuki) beans are actually sweeter and perhaps better. I prefer them.

390g tin* (1 ¼ cup) aduki beans or black beans, drained and rinsed

60g (1/3 cup) dark brown sugar or coconut sugar (the latter whizzed up further in a food processor) + 3 fat Medjool dates, chopped OR 85g (1/2 cup) dark brown sugar/coconut sugar

1 tsp best quality vanilla extract (Ndali is my preferred one)

30g (1/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder

¼ tsp salt (can use ½ tsp)

2 tbsp nut butter of choice (or use a total of 4 tbsp of oil instead; see just below)

3 tbsp rapeseed oil OR melted coconut butter

2 medium eggs OR 2 ‘chia eggs’ or other vegan egg substitute of choice

A few tablespoons dark or plain chocolate chips, for the top (you can also add some to the batter but this makes it more calorific) OR 100g pack of caramel chocolate drops (or similar) to stir in – luxury option

50g chopped nuts – optional for in the mix or on top

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Oil muffin cups, use muffin cup papers or line a small square baking tin (8 inches square) with baking parchment – loose-bottomed is best

2. Pop everything but the chocolate chips into the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Remove the blade and fold the chocolate chips in with a spatula, if using. The batter will seem impossibly liquid. Really rather alarmingly so. Don’t worry. All comes right in the baking. I promise.

3. Pour the mixture into the muffin cups or the tin. Top with chocolate chips or nuts if you like. If you are using the caramel chocolate drops anything on top is definitely overkill…

4. Bake 12 minutes for muffin-sized brownies, and about 20 minutes for the square tin. Bake a little longer for firmer, cakier brownies, but as written they firm up on cooling. Still fudgy though, especailly if you add something like the caramel drops. Anyway, let the brownies cool on a wire rack in their tin for about 10 minutes before popping out the brownie muffins or pulling up and out by the parchment paper.

Makes 12-16 small brownies or 9-10 muffins. Eat warm from the oven, or store in the refrigerator. Pop in the oven or microwave to warm.

*235g drained weightDSC_0003black bean brownies

Like this recipe? Check out this 2016 version, Tahini Swirl Chocolate Brownies (immune-boosting & grain-free + vegan option)

70 thoughts on “Fudgy Aduki Bean Brownies (grain-free + vegan option)

  1. Reblogged this on Sugar Addict 365 and commented:
    This looks like an awesome substitute for the sugar and white flour bad-for-me brownies. I want to make them with the coconut sugar a dates. Then I want to freeze them individually to have when a craving hits. Mmmm. Good.

  2. I love the idea of subbing beans for flour, I haven’t tried it yet though so thank you for the reminder, time to try it out 🙂

    1. Do!! Any recipe you already use may be ripe for a beamy sub. I would love to know if you try something like this, Elaine. I only wish I could see your reaction 😉 Maybe a selfie??!!

      1. An action photo as I stuff my face you mean??? 😉 I don’t eat sweet things, although I do love reading the recipes and seeing what everyone creates, so I need to figure out what to try it out in? I shall plot and plan…x

  3. Cool! ! I will try! !

  4. These look incredibly yummy Kellie, I’ve never tried baking with beans before but if these taste anywhere near as great as they look….and I trust Rachael on this!….I must try. I will add the caramel drops of goo I think 🙂

    1. Trust Rachel! If I can hold back making beamy mains or salads for work then I will deco make these for my groups and yours and D’s. But if you find a spare moment and an empty food processor…And get the Silver Spoon caramel drops – Sainsburys. Naughty but nice 😉 See you tomorrow

  5. Oh my gosh. I was just thinking of working on a recipe for bean-based fudge brownies! Now, I don’t think I’ll have to. Yours look very stream-lined and uncomplicated, just like I would want it. Will definitely be trying this, thanks Kellie!

    1. Oh, please do your own! Don’t let me inhibit you; this is just my own way of doing them. There is plenty of room for other ideas. But if you do make these, I would really value your feedback. Thanks so much for your kind words. I really appreciate it ;D

      1. Oh yes, I’ll certainly let you know! Had hopes to share mine in time for Valentines but that’s just not going to happen. 😉

      2. That’s usually me. Holidays sneak up on me. I’ll look out for your take though 😉

      3. These turned out great, thanks for the inspiration Kellie! I made some substitutions as I mentioned I was already starting to write up my own version. Subbed cannelini beans, 1/2 avocado for the peanut butter/oil + 2 Tbsp applesauce. And I used all dates. In the end I would have liked them a little firmer, in other words still fudgy but with structure if that makes sense! .I can tell yours were set in the right way but still fudgy. Baked for 20 in convection, maybe needed 25. Do you think too many dates and omitting sugar could do this, or maybe no need for the applesauce next time?

      4. Hi Katie, all dates should be okay – I did them like that (and vegan too) this week for my niece while I’m here in Florida – but perhaps the applesauce wasn’t needed? Maybe also, if all dates turn down the oven by 20/25 degrees but leave them in longer. We love them with just a little of the peanut butter or almond butter but the avocado sounds great, esp for anyone with nut allergies. Btw, why not just call it a healthy chocolate fudge pudding and eat with a spoon! Certainly straight out of the oven even with my ones they do need time to firm up but we are happy to be greedy and eat with a spoon. 🙂

      5. I like the fudge pudding idea, good one!! Thanks for the suggestions. I agree no applesauce next time and a lower, slower bake time should work. Thanks Kellie!

      6. You are very welcome Katie. I hope those changes work for you

  6. Yum, Kellie… you always come up with the most interesting recipes!

  7. Wow, Kellie! You know, I’ve been very anti bean brownie without ever having actually tried them. It’s something about sneaking the beans in and faking a treat as a ‘healthy’ version – you know my nutrition logic well. But these ones look so actually good and gooey you’ve got me wanting to run out and buy some adzuki beans asap! I will definitely try and let you know how they go.

    1. I know what you mean, Katie. But I think these stand on their own merit. We really like them even though we know what is in them! They seem to go down well in my nutrition groups too, although I don’t make them for these groups that often as beans usually feature in the main. We can’t have too many beans at once! Do let me know if you make them and how you did it. When you have the time, that is! Good luck with the final push with your thesis 😀 Almost there!

  8. It is hard to believe that those light, deep, intensely inviting bites came from aduki Beans…but I can see how the oozy and juicy deep bean would lend to these beauties. I am most impressed (again) xxx

    1. Aduki beans really rock in this recipe. Incredibly versatile and undersung.

  9. such a clever idea. The texture of the brownie looks so soft and fudgy. I love that this is grain free Kellie. Great recipe.

    1. Thanks so much, Miss Nazima. I am a pretty lazy baker – unlike yourself! – so the bung it in the food processor and pour it in a pan scores highly with me. That they taste quite good is of course also good! Glad you approve 😉

  10. narf77 says:

    This is my kind of delicious. I feel the same way about food and savoury food is where I excel, mainly because that’s where my heart leans but I do love the occasional slice of something dense and delightful and this looks just the ticket. For a “sweet” and I to get along it has to be nutrient dense AND full of flavour and you appear to have nailed both asks in one. Now I am thinking about messing about with other beans. I have seen some very interesting recipes for sweet creations using lentils and potatoes lately so I am going to add this one to the equation :). Cheers for the delicious share 🙂

    1. Gosh, lentils – that IS creative :D. Not encountered any recipes using lentils. I have done ones with kale and with sweet potatoes (not in the same recipe, I should add) – sweet potato ones are pretty good but need help in the texture department, imo. I can heartily recommend using aduki beans. The natural sweetness and the protein-fibre balance seems to really work in this kind of batter. But I would LOVE to hear of a lentil version. Cool beans. So to speak. PS Hope it is cooling down for you and Serendipity Farm.

      1. narf77 says:

        Happy to oblige :). The first one is a chocolate lentil brownie bake and the second one is just plain bonkers but in a delicious healthy way 🙂

        (Note the blog below is in Russian but if you scroll down there is an English translation at the bottom of the post)

      2. Thanks for introducing me to the graceful kitchen. She’s fab! I read the whole thing about body image and she is so down to earth. The recipe is amazing too. I recently did my chocolate beetroot cake with all dates instead of any added sugar. I’m so glad I did. I was really concerned that the texture would be affected but it was fine. More than fine. And she does the all date thing too. Perfect for fudge texture. Again, thanks, Fran. Haven’t looked at the Russian one yet.

  11. These look heavenly! Funny how in my household, I (the daughter) am the one with the innovative cooking. You’re cooking always gives me new ideas, and always looks delicious!

    1. Aw, thanks! I’m so honoured to read this from you. Keep up your own good work with your innovations 😀

  12. OMG! These brownies look amazing and what a fabulous idea to use beans! Will being baking these beauties with my girl Luna at some point this week! Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. I hope you and Luna (what a beautiful, romantic name) enjoy them very much!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Mmm yum! I’ve only just recently discovered the wonderful world of bean brownies (I just blogged a black bean one myself!) but yours look so much lovelier with their gooey centres.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Great to hear from you (readers: she has a stupendous blog – droolworthy). The goo is from a cheaty addition of caramel drops, but hey ho, they were dead tasty. I will check out your version soon. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

  14. These look sublime! How can you take such good shots on your phone, you are a seriously clever lady. Thanks also for introducing me to the Whitmuir Organic Place – we rarely go South of Edinburgh (normally North & East) so I think we need an investigation towards the borders, thank you!

    1. Oh you are sweet, but they are a bit rubbish and ‘muddy’. I found I hadn’t taken enough varied shots in the summer so I popped the Sony ones on, and plus the gooey brownies were such a hit that I felt I needed to depict them in all their runny glory. When I return from warmer climes we will have to go to Whitmuir to eat and shop. Bring your credit card for the gallery. You have been warned…

  15. They look incredible! Will definately give them a try- and I have never heard of the beans substitute before- brilliant! Thankyou!

    1. The beans are really a fabulous sub for flour. The batter looks terribly unpromising – so runny! – but trust me, it will work 😉

  16. Choclette says:

    I’ve used black beans with good results but now really want to try your recipe with aduki beans, especially as you’ve managed to make them properly fudgy. The peanut butter sounds rather good too.

    1. Oh,the aduki beans are really good. Please trying swapping them in with your own tried and true recipe and let me know if you spot the difference. The gooeyness in mine is down to the ‘naughty’ addition, but I think the timing I have suggested and the dates and peanut butter did help with the fudginess. With your blog handle I expect you are quite the chocolate expert so I will defer to you!

  17. thespicyrd says:

    Beans, and chocolate, and phone photos…oh, my….Great cooks do think alike! Dying to bite in to one of these yummy creations, and if you pop on over to my blog, you’ll see we speak the same language 🙂 xoxo

    1. LOL! I have seen and commented, Miss EA. What are we like? I think we need to check our birth certificates and see if we are related? Me being massively older of course ;-).

  18. cheri says:

    What a great idea, love the idea of subbing black beans for flour. They look gorgeous!

  19. Isn’t nice to be able to incorporate healthy foods into indulgent treats?!

  20. What a wonderful batch of brownies which I know will taste as good as they look. I do think you should carry on with the sweet bakes if they are going to be as good as this and as interesting!

    1. Aw, thanks Laura. But I can’t hope to ‘compete’ (if you know what I mean) with all of you proper bakers. I really don’t do it enough to pass muster really. I am glad you like these though. They do seem to work somehow. I also have a black bean chocolate frosting on the blog. But that would definitely be overkill. Probs one of the chocolate-avocado frostings would be amazing.

  21. Gila Hiker says:

    Hi Kelli, these look good! I was wondering…. do you ever give nutritional info for your recipes? Calories, sugar, fat? Thanks! -Linda

    1. You know, I probably should. I have done it once or twice for sweet things but 1) I don’t have a quick way of doing it (it takes me nearly 3/4 of an hour) as I don’t have fancy plug-ins, and 2) at least for the people I see at my nutrition classes we don’t emphasis calories and such like, more about portion control, listening to your body’s needs etc. Hope this isn’t too disappointing. I think it would probably be very similar to black bean brownies that you mights see on the Internet, bearing in mind the addition of nut butter 😉

  22. stacilys says:

    Ummmmm yummy. My hubby loves brownies. I’ve tried another type of brownies before using black beans, but my daughter didn’t like them. This one looks so much better. Gonna give it a try and try it out on my family.
    Thanks =)

  23. Sian White says:

    Wow, these looks so gooey and delicious!

    I love that you provide vegan options for a lot of your recipes – I’m having a lot of fun perusing!

    1. Thanks so much, Sian. Like I say in my wee bio, I am no longer vegan (I found I had more energy with small amounts of animal protein), but I still speak vegan! Let me know if you try anything 🙂

  24. Sandra says:

    Thank you for the interesting recip! my turned out a bit too gooey. I used currants instead of dates but kept to the recipe otherwise. I used chia seed eggs (2 eggs worth). Any thoughts as to why this would happen? They taste really good but it is way too gooey for public presentation.

    1. Hmm, just wondering if the beans were a but too wet? I’ve not had this problem but maybe also it could be oven temperature. My oven runs hot and I always have to adjust so things don’t dry out . Sorry about that, but glad you like the taste anyway. Maybe if you make them again do it for a bit longer, maybe covering until the last 10 minutes to ensure even heating. I’m making these for a couple of nutrition groups this week so I will pay close attention and report any enlightening findings.

    2. Wondering if the chia eggs were too ‘large’ Maybe try slightly less water. Chia eggs are usually 3:1 water to seeds but if seeds aren’t as absorbent as usual, or not been soaked first, then the water is ‘free’. This may be the issue. Hope this doesn’t sound too bossy!

      1. sandranista says:

        thank you for your quick reply! You may be right, the chia eggs actually seemed too dry so I added a little more water. I’ll try again!

        On Sun, Jun 29, 2014 at 5:11 PM, food to glow wrote:

        > kellie anderson commented: “Wondering if the chia eggs were too > ‘large’ Maybe try slightly less water. China eggs are usually 3:1 water to > seeds but if seeds aren’t as absorbent as usual then the water is ‘free’. > This may be the issue.” >

  25. Sandra says:

    Hello and best wishes from Belgium. I tried the brownies today, as I had a tin of Adzuki Beans that I planned to use for filling japanese sweets. But now I saw this recipe and I tried it right away. I added a little flour (50g) and took 80g sugar instead. I added Walnuts to the pastry as well and I have to say: They are delicious!
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for the lovely feedback, Sandra!

  26. Amira arzi says:

    I made the azuki brownies today, and as scepticle I was, I must agree they are great!!

    1. Thanks for the lovely feedback. I’m so glad they turned out for you. We make them quite a lot. I haven’t made “regular” brownies in years!

  27. Moondance says:

    I made these and they never formed up. Even put them
    In the fridge for an hour and they were basically pudding. Disappointing😕

    1. kellie anderson says:

      I’m sorry they didn’t work for you. I have never had this issue in the years I have been making them for my cancer workshops and family. Sometimes I have accidentally over-baked them (ugh). I’m wondering if you made any substitutions, or change any steps? I’d love to help figure out why they didn’t work for you. 🙂

  28. Maria says:

    I really loved it! How long can I have in the fridge or at room temperature? 😅

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Hi Maria. I’m so glad!! I’ve made these

    2. kellie anderson says:

      That’s great, Maria! I’ve made these a lot over the years. I keep them in the fridge in warmer weather and they will keep for up to 5 days. Sitting out I think it would be about 3 days at a coolish temp (18C). I hope this helps.

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