Black Bean Brownies? Blacklisted

Over the weekend I decided to look into some recipes that maybe weren’t exactly healthy, but weren’t teenaged-boy unhealthy. Somehow, somewhere along the way, I encountered black bean brownies.

I’ll let that sink in. Black. Bean. Brownies. Maybe your response is a little like mine: Nausea. Consideration. Intrigue. Nausea. And, finally, why-the-hell-not? derringdo.

It kinda made sense. I mean, you can use applesauce as a moisturizing fat substitute, right? People use sour cream in sweet items. Chudge is fudge made with Velveeta. Maybe black beans could work? They’re high in fiber and not THAT flavorful? Right? And I do, without question, love all forms of bean.

I started looking up recipes. Every recipe and review seemed to insist that the bean flavor was entirely imperceptible. They all said that they simply added a depth of texture (and fiber). Those recipes fell into two categories: There are the gluten-free black-bean brownies, that use the beans as a flour replacement. And there are the low-fat brownies, that use the beans to replace the lipids. Ordinarily, I would go for the latter. But the latter called for unsweetened cocoa, and I wasn’t ambitious enough to go to the store. So I found a gluten-free recipe that took advantage of only items I had in my pantry. Then, I started mashing those beans.I scrambled them with egg (shudder). I added in butter and Ghiradelli chocolate and chocolate chips and vanilla and a bit of cayenne pepper and sea salt (my own decision, not the recipe’s instructions). And I put them in the oven. Nervous.

I told Neil that I made brownies, and that there was something in them that’s unexpected but I’d rather he try them before I told him. We tried them. My first bite was sweet, fudgy…. and beany. Neil’s first bite was sweet, spicy and, essentially, “not bad?” Then, I told him there were beans in there. It was akin to taking away Christmas. His face fell. He smacked his lips, regretfully. He avoided eye contact.

My second bite was less beany, but only because after the first encounter I opted to cut the crisp, buttery edge of the pan and avoid the frijole mash. I told myself I liked these black bean brownies. Neil’s second bite was non-existent.

My third bite was disgusting. I got away from the edge again, delving into what should have been fudgy deliciousness, but coming away with only a musty sweet bean disappointment. My stomach started having psychosomatic reactions. Sweet and savory is one thing. This was a whole new level of wrong.

Within a half hour I was pouring water over the pan, washing them away like a bad memory. What a waste of chocolate.

I’m not even going to share the recipe. And I don’t plan on eating chocolate or beans any time soon. Which is kind of sad, really. Try them yourself, if you must, but I hope this bean fad passes quickly.


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