These brownies are a delicious mix of indulgence and healthiness. Black beans slow the blood sugar spike and add fiber, protein, and minerals. Yet, chocolate chips and some crushed candy cane contribute that festive special-occasion flair. The last thing on your mind will be that they are plant-based, gluten-free, oil-free, and have significant nutrition.
I tried making these brownies even healthier–less fat and a small amount of dates. You’re free to do that, but I wanted to create a treat that I’d be proud to serve to people who are used to butter-sugar brownies. Even though chocolate chips and candy canes are definitely NOT whole foods, I figure they fall into the 10% of calories that can be flexible. You can leave off the candy canes and they’ll still be pepperminty from the extract.
Make sure to let these brownies cool completely to get the best texture! Making them even a day ahead of time is perfect.
If you like to make treat plates to deliver to neighbors and friends, here are some other ideas of healthier-but-yummy treats from my blog:
Mostly wholesome ingredients make delicious and decadent brownies!
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (1.5 cups cooked beans)
- 3/4 cup almond butter
- 3/4 cup maple syrup (or 1 cup packed soft dates)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp peppermint extract or 1 drop essential oil
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1-2 candy canes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out an 8x8 inch square pan or a slightly larger pan (9x13 inch will make thin brownies but will also work). No need to grease it, but you can line it with parchment paper if you want easier clean-up.
Add all the ingredients except chocolate chips and candy canes to a food processor. Process until completely smooth. If using dates, you might need to add a few tablespoons of water to make it blend.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spread the batter into the pan. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top. Let your soul tell you how many.
Bake for 25-28 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. While the brownies are baking, crush the candy canes. You can put them in a food processor or blender and pulse for a just a few seconds, or put them in a ziplock bag and hit them with a heavy spoon or mug.
As soon as you pull the brownies out of the oven, sprinkle the crushed candy cane on top. Let cool 30 minutes, then refrigerate for 30 more minutes. This is important for the best texture.