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Black Bean Brownies (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Delicious and wonderful brownies that pretty much everyone can eat. Healthy? yes. Tasty? YES. Will you be making them in the near future? (Hint: the answer is yes).

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While this recipe is a fun part of my food journey, its credit goes entirely to The Minimalist Baker. One day last week, I was on the hunt for something chocolate (naturally). But I wanted it to be healthy and open to everyone to try. Finding a good dessert recipe that is both vegan and gluten free can pose a bit of a challenge, but don't be scared by this! I promise the brownies turned out AMAZING.

Recipe, instructions and all that fun jazz are included below. Don't be nervous to experiment. Just a few days ago, I made a batch that incorporated walnuts, pumpkin seeds and other brain power foods for my friends going through finals!

Recipe (serves 12)

•1 15 oz. can black beans, well rinsed and drained

•2 large flax eggs (2.5 T flaxseed meal = 6 T water)

•3 T coconut oil, melted (or sub other oil of choice)

•3/4 cup cocoa powder (the higher quality the better)

•1/4 tsp sea salt

•1 tsp pure vanilla extract

•heaping 1/2 cup raw sugar, slightly ground or pulsed in a food processor or coffee grinder for refined texture

•1 1/2 tsp baking powder

•Optional toppings: crushed walnuts, pecans or semisweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

•Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

•Lightly grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan (not mini).

•Prepare flax egg by combining flax and water in the blender. Pulse a couple times and then let rest for a few minutes.

•Add remaining ingredients (besides walnuts or other toppings) and puree – about 3 minutes – scraping down sides as needed. You want it pretty smooth…I found it took me about 5 minutes of intermittent pulsing/scraping down the sides/adding 1 T water to get the right consistency.

•If the batter appears too thick, add a Tbsp or two of water and pulse again. It should be something like molasses meets pancake batter…definitely NOT runny!

•Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tin and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger. Be sure to lick the spoon or your finger after. None of this deliciousness should go to waste!

•Optional: Sprinkle with crushed walnuts, pecans or chocolate chips. (or any other topping of your choice!)

•Bake for 20-26 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides. Mine took about 25.

•Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a fork. The insides are meant to be very fudgy, so don't be concerned if they seem too moist – that's the point. Plus, they're vegan so it doesn't really matter.

•Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. Refrigerate to keep longer.

There you have it! But I do have a few comments for you…I greased my pan with coconut oil. Maybe I didn't add enough, but the muffins were extremely hard to keep intact when I was taking them out of the pan, so….I'd recommend trying a different oil unless you want a pile of brownie bits at the end of this process. Or just use baking cups!

Also, I added walnuts to half of the brownies and man, let me tell you. YUM. There was definitely a better half to the batch. **Side note: if you're not sure when the brownies are done, I would say just take them out when the tops have all cracked and look fully cooked. :)

Serving recommendation: add just a small scoop of chocolate coconut ice cream on top! WARNING. Results in an addicting explosion of flavor and combination of textures. Not recommended for people with full pan of brownies, tub of ice cream and little-to-no self control.

**If you're having a day where you need a pan of brownies and a tub of ice cream (hey, we've all been there) please disregard the warning above.

Buon appetito!

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