I was intrigued by the black bean brownies that Heidi Swanson posted about on 101 Cookbooks. What would brownies made using puréed beans in place of of flour be like?
Before I tell you about the bean brownies that I made, I have to admit that, instead of following the original recipe exactly, I tweaked things to accommodate my appetite and the ingredients I had on hand. I knew that I would never manage to get 45 brownies out of an 8 x 11 pan -- if disciplined I might manage to eek out 9 servings -- and so I reduced the amount of butter and sweetener in the recipe. Since my version contained less melted butter, I used brewed hazelnut coffee instead of the dried instant coffee called for in the original recipe, to balance out the liquids. I also switched out the black beans for azuki beans, which are used to make the sweet red bean filling in my beloved daifuku manju, and which I happened to have in my pantry.
The result? Kind of a brownie, kind of a baked pudding. Surprisingly (and pleasantly) spongy. Does it taste like beans? Actually, no. The flavor is all chocolate.
While I previously refrigerated an "Indian" pudding before serving, I have to admit that I ate some of this brownie/pudding right out of the oven - delicious - and think it's best served warm. Good with ice cream, just like a traditional brownie.
2 cups cooked azuki beans
3/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces chocolate (I used about 7 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brewed hazelnut coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Brush an 8 x 11 baking dish with canola oil.
In a food processor, blend the azuki beans with the agave nectar and salt until smooth.
Transfer the bean mixture to a large mixing bowl.
In a glass measuring cup or a small glass bowl, microwave the chocolate and butter for 1 minute 30 seconds.
Stir the chocolate and butter until smooth, and add the coffee and vanilla.
Blend the chocolate mixture into the bean mixture.
Add the eggs to the chocolate-bean mixture, and stir to combine thoroughly.
Pour the batter in the 8 x 11 pan and bake for about 45 minutes.
Increase the temperature to 350 F and bake an additional 10 minutes (the brownie/pudding should be well set).
Remove from oven and serve warm, or refrigerate to cool completely before serving.