Bean There, Done That - Healthy And Egg Free White Bean Brownies
No, the “bean” in my post title isn’t a spelling mistake. Yes, these chocolate brownies are made with white beans! I am thinking that most of you will be going “yuck” at the thought of beans in a brownie. I know I did when I first came across it but please give this brownie a chance. I wouldn’t have posted about it if it had been a total loss.
I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth though I do have a liking for certain sweets and desserts. Brownies are definitely a weakness with me and it is quite possible I love them because they contain chocolate, as blondies do not have the same attraction for me. I prefer brownies that are cake-like in texture a bit more than the fudgy variety though I am not too fussy as long it tastes good and chocolaty like a brownie should.
On the flip side, most brownies bring with them an awful lot of fat and calories which we don’t need. So I usually make brownies with cocoa powder and tell myself that I can afford to occasionally indulge in these as the cocoa make it easier to deal with the guilt.
Sometime back, I came across a brownie someone had baked using black beans. While that caught my attention I wasn’t too sure I wanted to be chewing beans in my brownies which would have been better showcased in a soup, curry or some such dish.
I am almost always a sucker for recipes which feature ingredients in an unusual manner.
While looking up brownies made with beans, I came across a study that concluded that pureed cannellini beans can replace as much as 50% of the fat (by weight) in brownies, while yielding an acceptable and more nutritious product.
This one bit of information swung it for me, and I had to try putting beans in my brownie. I came across an eggless bean brownie at The Mad Chemist which looked promising. This particular recipe is also very low in fat as there is no added fat in this recipe except the little that comes from the yogurt, walnuts and chocolate chips. And yes, this brownie is made with neither butter or oil.
I adapted that recipe slightly making changes which I thought would give me a less fudgy (I mean less wet/ moist and more cake-like) brownie as I was a little apprehensive about ending up with a mouthful of mushy beans in the guise of a brownie! I also spiced it up a bit with some chai masala.
I have never seen black beans here, so I used the white beans I had on hand. I soaked the beans overnight, rinsed the beans and pressure cooked them till soft and done. I then measured out 1 1/4 cups of the cooked beans and puréed them.
So how does this bean brownie compare with a regular brownie?
I personally think that after substituting for essential ingredients which make a particular food what it is, expecting the adapted version to taste like the original, is asking for too much. So while this is not quite your regular kind of brownie, it still is pretty good. It is a bit cake-like in texture and yet fudgy too. No one would know you put beans in it, unless you told them so as you cannot taste the beans in it at all.
These brownies will not replace my regular brownies, but I am definitely going to be making these again. We all liked them though my daughter didn’t think much of them, but then she doesn’t like brownies much. She was rather surprised to hear these brownies had beans in them after she got all three guesses wrong to “Guess what’s in these brownies?”
If you are looking for a very low fat brownies (with a healthy dose of protein) then these brownies are worth trying out. While this recipe does not use eggs, if you would like to add an egg to it, I’m sure the texture of these brownies would be more like those of regular brownies.
These brownies are really not very sweet, so if you would prefer a slightly sweeter version please use 3/4 cup sugar instead of the 1/2 cup mentioned above.
I don’t usually have applesauce on hand so I tend use puréed apple instead. I cored and then chopped one Fuji apple (with skin) and puréed it in my blender. I put the purée in a strainer and let the juice drain out for about 15 minutes and then used the drained purée to make the brownies.I would be happy to hear from any of you, if you try this out.
- ut the puréed beans, whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar and chai masala in a large and deep bowl. Beat this together, using a hand held mixer, till well blended while scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
- Add the puréed apple (or applesauce), yogurt and vanilla extract and beat again, on medium speed till the batter is well mixed and smooth. Fold in the walnuts and half the chocolate chips.
- Scrape the batter out into a greased and parchment paper lined 8" by 8" square cake tin. I used a 7" by 7" tin but an 8" by 8" tin would be better as the brownies would be thinner and cook better.
- Smoothen the top and sprinkle the remaining half of chocolate chips on top. Bake at 190C (375F) for 20 to 30 minutes till done. Allow to cool completely, at room temperature before unmoulding and cutting into squares, or the brownies will be "squishy".
- Serve as they are, with custard sauce, or low fat, eggless ice-cream or ice-cream of your choice. If not serving immediately, place in a lidded box and refrigerate. I found these brownies tasted better the next day.