Friday, 22 June 2012

Black Bean Brownies

I found this recipe on line and thought it would be worth a try. I did, however, alter the recipe greatly to fit in with the Slimming World plan and to make it as low syn as possible. I tried making it once (almost) following the recipe, but didn't find it sweet enough, nor the taste of coffee strong enough, but pleasant enough to give it another try – doing it my way. It has a slightly unusual consistency, but I certainly can't taste the beans.

My version has 6 syns for the whole cake – which I divided into 24 (which makes ¼ syn per slice!), however, the original version would be much higher.

I will first give you the original recipe, then tell you what changes I made. My cooking is rarely an exact science, so I just added a bit of this and some of that as per usual. Next time I bake it, I shall weigh and measure everything and make a note of it! Just for you guys!

Original Recipe
makes 16

15oz can black beans (drained & rinsed well)
4 large eggs
½ cup sweetener
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp strong coffee (or 1 tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Prepare a 8x8 baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Add the beans last and make sure you blend VERY well. Bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.

OK, so this is what I changed

  • I used dried black beans soaked overnight. I didn't weigh them before soaking but after cooking they were about 550g.

  • I cooked the beans with the sweetener and instant coffee powder, and used at least twice as much sweetener as they suggested and probably around 4-5 tbsp of instant coffee. I just kept tasting the beans towards the end of the cooking time (you want to make sure they are VERY well cooked, at least an hour) and kept adding more sweetener and coffee until they tasted right. In fact, the sweetness and coffee taste did diminish a little after cooking, something worth bearing in mind: if you think it tastes just so, then add some more!

  • I left out the cocoa powder completely

  • Instead of olive oil, I used 4 tbsp of apple sauce.

  • As I had more beans, I doubled the amount of baking powder they suggested.

  • I blitzed the eggs, baking powder and apple sauce in the food processor (I forgot to add the vanilla, and it was just as nice without) until quite frothy. Added the beans and continued blitzing until the mix was very smooth.

  • I didn't have an 8x8 baking dish, so used an 8x12 inch dish instead – but I did have more beans to start with so that was probably about the right size.

  • I baked mine for 15- 20 minutes instead of 30.

  • I cut mine into 24 instead of 16 pieces.

The brownies taste quite nice on their own – I find they have a lovely coffee after-taste which is quite moreish. And at 6 syns for the whole cake, you can afford to have another slice...

I also tried making them into mini Blackforest Gateaux by slicing each piece in half horizontally and spreading them with quark mixed with plenty of sweetener and adding a few halved cherries before replacing the top layer and spreading some more quark on top of that again.

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