Brownies gone vegan (and flourless!)

So I know I don't usually post on Sundays, but I've created yet another wonder that I just have to share with the world. One of the non-vegan recipes I've always toyed with is variations of Heidi Swanson's Black Bean Brownies. I don't know that I've ever made the same recipe twice, but every time I've tried to make them, they've turned out wonderfully rich, fudgey and amazing. I've tried to make them as vegan as possible (and as healthy too) so I don't believe I've ever actually made them using eggs or butter, but the concept of black bean brownies so fascinated me it was something I've come back to over and over again. Tonight, I think I've nailed it for good.

It being Sunday, we took our usual trip up to my parents' place where it was time to make my dad some more vegan goodness. With no more flour in the house, and forgetting to bring my own ingredients, I had to throw together something with what I had available. Though I didn't really measure, here's roughly what came out:

Makeshift Vegan Black Bean Brownies
4 oz. of chocolate (I used Green & Black's 85%)
roughly 3 heaping tbsp. of Earth Balance Margarine
2 C black beans (soft-cooked or canned)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp coffee or coffee substitute (I think Teeccino would work great)
2 tbsp of apple sauce + 2 tbsp. of ground flax seed mixed with water as the egg replacers for 4 eggs
3/4 C mix of honey and maple syrup (the recipe calls for agave but I didn't have any, and ran out of maple syrup so used honey for the rest)
pinch of salt
1 tbsp of any flour
chopped walnuts, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Puree black beans until they makes a smooth paste
2. Melt chocolate and margarine
3. Mix everything but walnuts into the chocolate/margarine mixture
4. Add pureed black beans into the mix
5. Fold in walnuts
6. The batter should be thick-ish but not dry (if it's too wet, I would just add a little flour by the tsp until it feels right)
7. 'Pour' (or spoon in my case) into oiled pan (I used an 8'' round cake pan) and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until edges are crisp and knife comes out clean

Though not raw, I did taste it when I served it up to the family, and it was delicious. Like I said, it's a wonderful gluten-free and now vegan alternative to brownies, plus, black beans are good for you (see why here)! If I soak black beans and used the Vita-mix I'm SURE I can come up with a raw version, and will be testing that in the very near future. If making them just vegan again, I think I would also significantly cut down on the liquid sweetener which I didn't find that necessary in the end.

Up for tomorrow: some morning bikram followed by making 'raw' tofu pie for my protein man and raw chocolate chip-mint ice cream!


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