I’m a brownies-from-scratch sort of girl, but mixes are popular, and it’s nice when mixing up a batch to be able to boost the fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals without affecting taste or texture. You may have heard of black bean brownies – although there are few from-scratch recipes I really like, I’ve just discovered how easy it is to puree some canned black beans along with the liquid ingredients called for on the back of a box of brownies, upping their nutritional ante.
The great thing about beans – black, white and kidney especially – is their neutral flavour. You can puree canned beans and add them to anything from pancakes to brownie mixes, and no one will be able to detect them.
I use canned beans when I’m baking because of their soft texture; simmered dry beans are more difficult to puree to a completely smooth consistency. Rinse and drain canned beans well, and puree them with the liquid ingredients from your recipe – or the instructions on the packaged mix – it will look grey and sludgy, but will work out beautifully in the oven.
This was a Duncan Heinz brownie mix; the instructions called for 1/3 cup water, 1/4 cup oil and 1 egg, and I pureed them in a food processor with 1/2-1 cup of rinsed and drained canned black beans and baked them as directed. (You could use navy or kidney beans instead, if you like.)
The end result? A delicious pan of brownies no one guessed contained beans – with a boost of 19 grams of protein and 13 of fiber in one pan!