Let's be straight, Valentines is kind of goofy right?
I mean the whole rigmarole of going out to a fancy restaurant, the chocolates, the purchasing of a dozen long stem roses. It all seems too much to me, and perhaps a little too phony to stomach. Maybe real people do this, but I'm rather convinced that its an act that only exists in the movies.
V-day in our house has always been super low key. I usually get out the art tote and cut out some construction paper hearts or paper doilies and whip out a card (any excuse to use glitter is a great day in my book). Maybe I'll trek to the nearest market and buy a house plant for Adam because I feel like buying a male flowers, and living ones at that, is somehow a feminist or rebellious act, but more often than not it's just a present for myself in disguise. And finally, like any sane human I use this day as an excuse to consume an excessive amount of chocolate because well, it's chocolate!
When it came time to think about what I wanted to make, it was a bit of a no brainer. After making both Sarah B's and Green Kitchen's recipe for black bean cookies this year, I felt inspired to add more beans to my chocolatey baking. And, since it is the Year of the Pulse, what better time than now. Adding beans to baking is a neat (as in like a "wow, this actually works?") way of subbing out flour but still giving baking body. The addition of chia and dates, along with the beans, makes for a fiber-full and dare I say healthy brownie. But unlike most "healthy" baking, this bar is far from dry and boring. It's fudgy and dense with the perfect amount of sweetness. For an extra special treat, I topped one of my many batches with whipped coconut cream and raspberries. If I had cacao nibs, I would have totally added them to the mix as well.
- 1 Cup Cooked Black Beans (just under 1/2 a cup when dry)
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
- 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 1/2 Cup Pitted Dates (I used Deglet Noor)
- 1/4 Cup Hot Water
- 1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
- 1 Tbsp. Chia Mixed with 3 Tbsp. Water
- 1/2 Cup Almond Flour
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Dark Chocolate or Mini Chips
- Sea SaltVanilla Coconut Cream
- Cacao Nibs
- Begin by mixing the chia seeds with the 3 Tbsp. water and set them aside. Combine the dates with the 1/4 cup hot water and let them soften for 15 minutes or so. Once they soften, mash them a bit with a fork.
- Combine the black beans, coconut oil, sea salt, maple syrup, and mashed dates with water, cocoa, and chia egg in a Vitamix or high speed blender. Blend until the mixture looks smooth and you no longer see any bean or date pieces.
- Empty the contents into a bowl and stir in the almond flour and chocolate chips.
- Spread the mixture into a parchment lined 20 cm (8 inch) square pan and bake at 175 C (350 F) for 40 minutes.
- Once cool, you can slice and eat the brownies as is, sprinkle with sea salt, or top with coconut cream and raspberries for something extra special. Left overs keep well in the fridge or freezer.