A Cancer-Fighting Dessert? Black Bean Brownie Bites

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When you think of black beans – or any other bean – you probably think of rice, burritos or soup.

But think of beans in a new way and try this brownie recipe that uses pureed black beans and ground almonds instead of oil or butter.  A modest serving won’t break your calorie and fat budget and these confections contain some fiber as an extra bonus.

One of our readers sent us this recipe – she revised an old AICR recipe, entered a contest and won an award (see photo).

We also have a black bean brownie recipe in the AICR Test Kitchen and even the most skeptical members of our tasting panel loved the brownies.

For more information on beans and how to cook and use them, check back tomorrow for our “Spotlight on Foods that Fight Cancer” video in the January 2011 eNews.

Mexican Chocolate Black Bean Brownie Bites

By Robin Bourjaily

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup black bean puree, divided (see note)
1/2 cup recently boiled water (very hot)
2 cups sugar
1 cup ground almonds
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt.

Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine cocoa and baking soda in mixing bowl. Blend in 1/3 cup of the bean purée. Add hot water and stir until thickened. Stir in remaining bean purée, sugar, almonds, cinnamon and eggs and egg yolk until batter is smooth. Stir in flour, vanilla and salt, mixing until well blended.

Lightly spray cups of nonstick mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.

Using one tablespoon cookie scoop or soup spoon, place batter in mini-muffin wells making each no more than half full. Bake 12-13 minutes until brownie bite just springs back when touched. Cool on rack.

Note: To make black bean puree, use one 15-ounce can of black beans, drain and rinse in colander and add to food processor or blender with 1/4 cup hot water. Purée into smooth paste. Extra black bean paste stores in refrigerator and is delicious added to soup, spread on crackers or rolled into a tortilla.

Note on Ingredients: I used non-Dutch processed cocoa powder and strong Vietnamese cinnamon, both from Penzey’s Spice.

Makes  30 servings (5 dozen brownie bites)

Per serving: 114 calories, 3 g total fat (< 1 g saturated fat), 21g carbohydrate,
3 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 60 mg sodium


    Author: Alice RD

    Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.

    3 thoughts on “A Cancer-Fighting Dessert? Black Bean Brownie Bites”

      1. Hi Renee,
        Here are a few ideas for substitutions: 1. equal amount of ground hazelnuts 2. 1 cup ground rolled oats plus 1 tsp canola oil 3. 1 cup flour (preferably use part whole wheat pastry flour) plus 1 tsp canola oil. The oil in the almonds helps make the brownies moist, so if you use a lower fat substitute, add a little oil. Do other readers have ideas?

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