In an effort to be a good little social distancer, as well as to save money during these uncertain times, I’ve been going to the grocery store less often than I usually do. But my family is still eating just as much as – or more than – usual.
To fill the grocery gap, I have spent time rummaging through my pantry to see what delights await among the canned and dry goods I’ve purchased over the months and years.
One point of interest: No one has as yet found the giant bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs that I stashed on the highest shelf in the pantry three weeks ago, which is a bona fide Quarantine Miracle.
But my pantry digging also has turned up another interesting fact: Over the years, I have amassed a ridiculous amount of dried beans. What does one do with this many beans, you ask?
If you’re me, you’ll use them to make a fair amount of Mexican-inspired meals. But then you’ll also turn them into something decadent, soothing, delicious and a little off-the-wall: fudgy black bean brownies.
I know what you’re thinking: “No way! Why would anyone subject themselves to a black bean brownie? Isn’t there enough suffering in the world right now?” Hear me out. These brownies are perfect for the quarantine situation in which we currently find ourselves.
For one thing, the recipe calls for no flour or eggs – as in zero. That’s a welcome thing since both of those ingredients have been in short (or no) supply at grocery stores for the past few weeks.
And as for the taste, I kid you not: If I hadn’t made the mistake of mixing the batter in full view of my children, they would have had no idea there was anything bean-y in their brownies at all.
In fact, after the brownies had cooled and I cut them into nine fudgy squares, my bean-hating oldest daughter bit into one and actually uttered the words, “These are good! Can I have another one?”
These brownies are inoculated against any offensive black-bean flavor by the generous amount of chocolate chips gently mixed in after the rest of the ingredients have been well-blended in a food processor.
The bits of chocolate give the brownies the street cred they need to convince full-blown chocolate connoisseurs like myself that they are in fact eating something decadent.
If your pantry is as bean-plentiful and flour-lacking as mine, give these black bean brownies a try. And if you top one off with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle of caramel sauce, then you are a kindred spirit who I’d be happy to share my bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs with at any time.
Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
Adapted from chocolatecoveredkatie.com.
1 1/2 cups black beans (or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed very well)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup chocolate chips, plus a little more to sprinkle on top of brownies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-by-8-inch pan and set it aside.
Combine all the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor and blend until completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and then pour the batter into a greased pan. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top of the batter.
Cook 18-24 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the middle comes out with only a few crumbs on it.
Let the brownies cool completely before cutting into bars.
Yield: 9-12 brownies
Julia Ditto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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