Thursday, April 17, 2008


Best Blog Tips

Just another day at the (home) office: Tina regards me doing overtime on the computer, from her "bed" in one of my file boxes. (Update Oct 2010: poor little Tina passed away abut 2 years ago. We miss her!)

Have you heard about Black Bean Brownies? I just heard about them last week. There's a recipe (which just happens to be vegan) making the rounds of the Internet, and I heard good things about it. It sounded intriguing, even though it used packaged products. Here is that recipe (there are other versions online, but most contain eggs, and the only vegan one I found looked too gooey for my taste).

The recipe is just a can of black beans, pureed, mixed with a box of brownie mix. So, I bought my first box of (organic) brownie mix, and a can of black beans. You puree them with the liquid in the can. I was a bit leery about this, as I usually don't like the taste of canned bean liquid and, if I use canned beans, I rinse it off. I should have listened to my instincts!

It was easy to make and I baked them as usual. Here's what they looked like:

...that is, before I dumped them! Yes, as you can see, we only tried a little bit of them, but DH and I agreed that they were awful! The texture wasn't bad, but it tasted so beany. But not "nice beany"-- it was "nasty beany"! I was right about the liquid. Yuck! I honestly don't know why they are so popular.

Not to be deterred, I devised my own from-scratch vegan version (using home-cooked beans, BTW), very chocolatey, and we loved them, omni friends loved them, and no one could tell there were beans in them!

The recipe is the same as my Okara Brownies, except that you omit the okara and instead use 1 cup UNSEASONED home-cooked black beans (or very well-rinsed canned black beans), with a little water (it should all fit in a 1 cup measure). DO NOT use the canned bean liquid, please!  Follow the recipe here, substituting beans for okara as instructed in the preceding sentence.

My own Black Bean Brownies

Have a good weekend!


Anonymous said...

Yuck, black black bean liquid?

Have I told you enough times that I'm so glad I'm a Newsletter subscriber?
Can't wait!

julie hasson said...

Oh Bryanna, I can't wait to try your black bean brownies. They look great.

Congratulations on the top 10 list!

Jan Scholl said...

I made black bean brownies using a recipe I found online that used coffee and the people at work went crazy for them. I thought they were too strong with the amount of coffee tho.

Sheree' said...

First and foremost, CONGRATS!!

I am with you on bean liquid in brownies or much of anything for that matter. Gross!! I am excited to get you next newletter and make the brownies for my DH and son-in-law. They are the brownie lovers in the family!!

Anonymous said...

Ok I admit, I'm puzzled. Why the beans? I mean I take the No Pudge clone on the net and simply use Soy Yogurt and if I want eggs, I use Ener-G for the cakelike version. Vegan Brownies in a blink.
I admit I am missing the point here of using beans. And it isn't just this, it is all the ones floating around with beans in desserts.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

philocrates, "why beans?" Why not? Why limit yourself?

I have other brownie recipes that I love, using a variety of egg replacers. But I am interested in variety, and also in how things work in foods. I like to experiment and I like a challenge.

I read a science abstract about using pureed beans as a fat substitute. Since everyone needs to use more beans in the diet-- they are high in both kinds of fiber, have many other nutrients, are cheap, you can even grow them yourself if you like-- this would be an interesting way to consume them.

Beans are actually traditional in desserts in some cultures-- in China and Japan, and also in the Middle East. In areas of North America where many beans are grown, growers have developed interesting ways of incorporating beans into desserts for many years.

My homemade recipe was a keeper!

Brenda W. said...

Bryanna ... I can't WAIT for that newsletter!! I had just run across this vegan version of this recipe myself on the web, and while the aspect of beans as an ingredient did not bother me (as long as it tastes good and is vegan, I don't care WHAT's in it!), but I was put off by the lack of any leavening. I pictured heavy, wet brown things!

Congrats on your inclusion in's top 10. That recipe of yours is one of my all time favorites!! Guests literally swoon over them!!

Anonymous said...

I have tested the Black Bean Brownie with several mixes just because I do like to experiment. My results were mixed. Two tricks for success: Always use a "double fudge" type mix. I liked Nature's Path brand best. Definitely rinse the beans, adding extra liquid if needed to puree and thin batter. Better still, use your own home-cooked beans and then add water as needed. This produced moist brownies and no bean-y taste. I really like the idea of using beans in this application, but I would definitely prefer no mix. I have used white beans in cookies with mixed results.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks for your feedback, Cyndi!

healthy ashley said...

Hi! I randomly found your blog today and love it! That recipe for brownies just sounds horrible! I actually worked up a recipe of my own fro Black Bean Brownies and the came out SO good- fudgy and moist (and vegan!). Here's the link to the post I wrote about it:

Good luck!

spiceislandvegan said...

HI Bryanna,

Never heard of black beans brownies...he he... This is strange! But I will try your version and can't wait for your new newsletter.


JohnP said...

I have been wanting to try these - and I am so happy you did the hard work! I will anxiously wait for the newsletter

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your wonderful achievement in the top 10! That is really great.

I've also tried the bean brownies mentioned by Brenda W. above. I decided to play with the bean idea and came up with my own vegan, gluten free version . Interested to see how yours are made!

Binx said...

wow! your brownies are beautiful-- i want to subscribe to your newsletter just for this recipe. i'm drooling, honestly.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Hi, Binx! For personal reasons, this will be the last newsletter. However, I hope to make individual issues of past newsletters available for sale in the near future.

Unknown said...

Hi Bryanna, please do try to make individual issues for sale. I was anxiously waiting for this one when I saw your post about the nanaimo bar recipe! It's been too long since I've had one.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

I will do that as soon as possible, C!

Anonymous said...

Oh shoot. I just found this page while searching for vegan brownies that hopefully taste better than the ones I just made. How do I get this newsletter? Those look good!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

meatless in Seattle-- that issue is available from this page:

There are also Texas Chile Brownies, Grown-up Nanaimo Bars, Peanut Butter Molten Lava Cakes, and a whole lot of other sweet and savory goodies in that issue.