Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

Black beans and chocolate, you ask? Oh, yes. It is, in fact, a nice combination. Other cultures have been using beans and sweets together for a long time (think red bean ice cream), and we Americans are just beginning to catch on. This recipe is gluten-free and potentially dairy-free. The black beans are a stand-in for the high amounts of butter that are usually found in brownies, and they also add some extra protein and fiber to these dense little treats. For the best flavor, use high quality cocoa powder that hasn't been sitting in your cupboard for a year. If you prefer more cake-like brownies, you can add half a cup of whole wheat flour. One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you just throw everything in the blender or food processor and then pour it into the baking dish. I usually love to add walnuts, but I wanted to focus more on the fudgy texture of these brownies. However, if you have to have nuts, go ahead and add them. They won't ruin the final product. Enjoy these much-more-healthy-than-the-original brownies!

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

15 oz. rinsed black beans
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons plain, low-fat yogurt (or low-fat sour cream, canola oil, or butter)
1 teaspoon instant powdered coffee
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
pinch salt
1/2 cup chopped semi-sweet or dark chocolate

Put everything except the chocolate chunks in a blender or food processor. Blend until the beans are pureed. Add the chocolate chunks (and nuts, if you want them), and pulse a couple of times until it's incorporated. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 square glass baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean. Let cool for a bit, and cut into 16 small squares.

Nutrition Information: Calories - 100; Fat - 3.6g; Saturated Fat - 1.6g; Trans Fat - 0g; Cholesterol - 40.5mg; Sodium - 58mg; Carbohydrates - 16.9g; Fiber - 2g; Sugar - 12.4g; Protein - 2.9g.