fudgy adzuki bean brownies

adzuki bean brownies // the muffin myth

One time while I was at a party that I had made most of the food for, including a few chocolate cakes (this cake, to be specific), a girl came up to me and asked if there was sugar in the cakes. I told her of course there was sugar in the cakes. They’re cakes! Chocolate cakes! She gave me the most bewildered look. It was as if she couldn’t possibly comprehend the words that had just come out of my mouth. Finally she spoke, “but I thought you were a nutritionist?!”

I think there are a few schools of thoughts when it comes to treats.

The first, is that treats should be treats and one should enjoy the ‘real’ thing from time to time in all it’s refined sugared and saturated fatted glory. The second, that we can make some small modifications to our treats in order to make them slightly more ‘healthy’ – subbing in a natural sweetener or a whole grain flour perhaps, yet still enjoying these things more or less in moderation. Then there are those who are in the these-cookies-are-whole-wheat-so-it’s-cool-to-go-gangbusters or this-cheesecake-is-raw-and-organic-so-I’munna-demolish-that-sucker camp.

(this, by the way, is a favourite topic of debate between my beloved sister-in-law and I)

adzuki bean brownies // the muffin myth

I mostly tend to favour the first camp. Treats should be treats, and I’m going to indulge occasionally (like most weekends) in something I really enjoy. I do also frequently visit the second camp. I’ll use pretty much any whole grain flour in any recipe, and I’m always up for an adventure with a natural sweetener so long as it meets my criteria for being ‘real’ and ‘good’. It should also be noted that what I consider to be a treat has really evolved over the years. However, I am a chronic and unapologetic eye-roller at the last school of thought.

(You’ll noticed I haven’t addressed artificially sweetened or low-fat treats. That’s because I don’t consider them to be in the ‘real’ or ‘good’ food categories.)

And so here we are, with brownies made from beans. Brownies made from funny little adzuki beans, and sweetened with nothing but a handful of soft, caramelly Medjool dates. Brownies that had me reaching for the pan again and again for just one more slice, not because I was throwing caution to the wind since they’re made from beans and dates, but because, you guys, these brownies are the BOMB!

adzuki bean brownies // the muffin myth

These brownies are everything a brownie should be. They’re dense and fudgy. They’re deeply and darkly chocolately. They’re soul-satisfyingly good. And I hope that since we’ve known each other for a while now, you believe that I wouldn’t be pushing some socks-and-Birkenstocks hippy food on you unless it was genuinely really really tasty. Trust me. You want these.

But before you go eating the entire pan, let’s talk about nutrition. Yes, these are grain free. Yes, these are naturally sweetened (aside from a smattering of very dark chocolate sprinkled over the top). No, you shouldn’t eat the entire pan.

nutrition facts bean brownies // the muffin myth

Medjool dates are wonderful things. They truly are nature’s candy. They’re sweet and caramelly, and they are jam packed with sugar. 100g of Medjool dates (about 4 pitted) contains roughly 265 calories, 75g carbohydrates, 2g protein, and only traces of fat. Of that 75g carbohydrates, about 90% is sugar, which is mostly in the form of glucose and fructose. This means that of those 265 calories, about 240 come from sugar. So when we’re baking with dates and saying ‘this recipe has no sugar!’ what we’re really saying is ‘this recipe has no REFINED sugar!’.

But don’t let the calories stop you from eating dates! They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber (about 7g in that 100g serving), and dates are especially rich in soluble fiber, which is the kind that helps maintain healthy blood cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels. Plus dates are rich in a host of different vitamins and minerals (more info after the recipe), so eat ‘em up! In moderation.

I ran this recipe through a nutrition calculator for those who are curious. The above nutrition label is for 12 servings, which is what I sliced my brownies into. So you can see they’re pretty good – good enough to not feel guilty about reaching into the pan for just one more brownie. But I’d keep it at that. To me, these are in that second camp; made from beans, naturally sweetened, and definitely a treat to enjoy in moderation, albeit in relaxed moderation.

I do hope you enjoy them as much as I did! Now go make some brownies!

MM_Know_Icon_FINALAdzuki Beans are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, protein, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin K.

Dates are a great source of natural sweetness. They are calorie dense, but also rich in antioxidant polyphenols, dietary fiber, potassium, copper, and manganese.

adzuki bean brownies // the muffin myth

One year ago: Cauliflower Pea Soup with Mint and Lemon
Two years ago: Cottage Cheese Muffins and Chocolate Raspberry Torte
Three years ago: No (refined) Sugar Chocolate Coconut Granola 

fudgy adzuki bean brownies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Little brown adzuki beans are slightly on the sweet side, making them a great choice for this recipe. If you can't find them or don't have them on hand, you can substitute the same amount of black beans, another popular choice for grain-free brownies. I bring the entire thing together in my trusty food processor, which makes this recipe one bowl and easy as can be. A small amount of chopped dark chocolate scattered over the top isn't necessary, but is totally delicious.
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cup cooked adzuki beans
  • 100g pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4Tbsp coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 40g (4 squares) 85% chocolate, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line a 8x8 or 8x9 baking pan with parchment paper, or grease well.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor combine the pitted dates and adzuki beans. Pulse until they're broken up and well combined. Add the vanilla, cocoa, oil, and eggs, and run the food processor until the batter is very smooth. Don't be surprised by how liquidy it is.
  3. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, and then scatter the chopped chocolate over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges are set but the middle is still just very slightly jiggly. You can bake them a bit less for fudgier brownies if you like. Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes before you cut into them.

 

Comments

  1. says

    oooooo…bean brownies. This are quite possibly the best looking ones I have ever seen as well as being made with adzuki beans…awesome! I really to make some of these!

    • says

      Thanks Sandra! The adzuki beans are really lovely in these. They add another layer of sweetness, and you’d never guess they’re made from beans and dates. I hope you make them! Let me know how they turn out.

  2. Cammy says

    Oh I could feel every which kind of reply brewing to this post! And then I read your shout-out to our tendency to debate this subject and I broke into laughter instead. There is one thing we can agree on, if it’s delicious, lets eat some. :)

    • says

      Ah yes, one of our two favourite topics of debate. I’ll definitely agree with you, if it’s delicious, let’s eat it! And these are definitely delicious. Give them a try!

  3. says

    I’m definitely in that first camp too (in case it’s not obvious!) but I think it’s always worth sneaking in a couple of better-for-you ingredients if you can do it without compromising on taste. What’s the downside? Definitely going to try these!

    • says

      I’d say, based on your blog, you span the first two camps. You do so much whole grain and a lot on the naturally sweetened side. But yes, only if you can do it without compromising taste. I hope you try these and let me know what you think!

  4. says

    Oh my, these look delicious! I am all about the bean desserts lately. They seem to keep my blood sugar more stable. I can’t wait to give these a try! :-)

  5. Dean Sarnowski says

    Tried this recipe tonight. Wasn’t able to find adzuki beans, so I used black beans. For the sake of time, I used canned (less sodium version), but rinsed/drained well (don’t hate me!). Upped the date qty slightly though. Also, threw in some of the chopped chocolate into the food processor with the batter.

    Smells good. We’ll see how they taste tomorrow..fingers crossed! : )

    • says

      I’d never hate you for using canned beans! I use them from time to time – don’t always have the time to soak and cook dried ones. However, adzuki beans are pretty quick cooking compared to some others, and I usually make extra and stash some in the freezer for next time. How did the brownies turn out for you? I assume with extra dates they’d be extra sweet and fudgy. Yum!

      • Dean Sarnowski says

        They turned great. Really fudgy too! Just curious..instead of the oil, have you ever considered using plain applesauce/unsweetened apple puree? I’ve used this replacement in cakes, and still turn out moist, and you can’t taste the apples.

        • says

          I’ve also done that with cakes and muffins. Truthfully I haven’t considered it with these brownies because with the beans and dates I think they’re already ‘healthy’ enough, and a little fat probably does wonders for the texture. And 4 Tbsp isn’t very much oil for 12 brownies – only 1 tsp each!

  6. Tina says

    I find these to be quite bitter,so i think next time I might try a not so dark chocolate with orange. yum yum. My 21month old really like it thou, so that makes me happy.

    I always have canned beans. rarely have to to cook and soak as i usually don’t plan my meals ahead. I can find all sorts of beans at my local supermarket, organic with beans and water only so don’t see why I would cook them anyway. I don’t think it would turn out much cheaper if you think about the cost of electricity…

    • says

      If you’ve got a brand of canned beans you like and there aren’t issues with the liner, that’s great! I prefer to soak and cook mine, but always cook up a big batch and freeze the leftovers so I’ve got beans ready at a moments notice. Orange chocolate sounds lovely!

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