Black Bean Brownies

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I have heard about this idea from several places but I was hesitant to try it because I didn't want to potentially ruin an entire box of perfectly good brownies by adding bean puree to it. The verdict was positive all-in-all so I will share them with you but I am still going to see if I can improve the flavor by making my own recipe instead of from a box. (I would like to enhance and deepen the chocolate flavor.)
We will start with the batter: The batter doesn't taste like beans, it is pretty good just as batter and it is easy to eat because you know there are no raw eggs in it.
The cooking process: I cooked them just like a traditional box of brownies, no time adjustments or anything. As the brownies cooked they smelled like beans cooking, not brownies; that was disappointing because I wanted that mouth watering brownie aroma wafting through the house.
The final product: The texture is fudgy and moist. Neither my husband nor myself could taste any bean flavor in the final product and we both knew it was in there. I used a dark chocolate brownie mix. I prefer the strong chocolate flavor of dark chocolate so it was surprising when the beans seemed to balance that flavor out and the result was a little bland; lacking any strong flavor at all, bean or chocolate. I ate one brownie that night but did not feel tempted to go back for seconds. I went to bed that night thinking I probably wouldn't make them again. However, the next day I snuck another bite and they were so much better. It was surprising, but truthfully after sitting for a day at room temperature I liked them quite a bit and the texture was even better, too. If you decide to try this recipe I would recommend eating the brownies the day after you bake them for maximum satisfaction.

Serves: 9
Start-to-Finish: 40 minutes (more or less time depending on how long the brownie mix you purchased needs to bake)

Recipe By:


1 box brownie mix (I like to buy dark brownie mix)
1 (15-oz) can black beans
(or if you are starting with dry black beans: you want approx 1/2 cup dry beans that will turn into 1 2/3 cups of prepared black beans and you will add 1 cup water, blend together and follow the directions below for the bean puree.)


1. Rinse and drain the black beans. (Rinse well; it cuts out a lot of the sodium in the beans)
2. Then spoon the beans back into their can and fill the can with fresh water.
3. Pour beans and water into a blender and puree until smooth.
4. Add the bean puree to the brownie mix and stir.
5. Pour into a lightly greased baking dish and follow the directions for baking as printed on the back of the brownie mix box. also shared this fabulous idea for introducing food storage to your friends and family. (All you visiting teachers out there should have a light bulb going off right about now.) An assembled gift basket with a copy of the "black bean brownie" recipe, a box of brownie mix, a can of black beans, a few bananas, and a pint of ice cream. This will be a basket the whole family can enjoy.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yes, it is less convenient than the bottle variety but very tasty and has a deeper chocolate flavor than the off-the-shelf option. I have used this to make chocolate milk for my boys, as an ingredient to bake with, and to pour over ice cream. It is delicious and it a perfect substitute for the name brand.

Serves:4 cups
Start-to-Finish:15 min. cook time + 30 min. cooling time
Recipe By:


1 cup Hershey's Cocoa Powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 tsp vanilla
dash of salt


1.  Combine cocoa, sugar, and salt in a saucepan.
2.  Add water and mix until smooth.
3.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat (Stirring frequently, if not continuously).
4.  Allow to boil for one minute, be careful it does not over boil.
5.  Remove from heat and allow to cool (Sauce will thicken as it cools).
6.  When cooled, add vanilla.

Bird's Nests

Sunday, April 3, 2011

With Easter coming this is the perfect time to share these cute candy-filled, bird's nests. Similar to rice crispy treats, these bird's nest are made with marshmallows, but also have chocolate chips and butterscotch chips to give the nests a warm brown color. A marshmallow chick would make them even more complete. I used Jelly Belly "Cold Stone" jelly beans for the eggs because the colors were just like bird's eggs but any jelly beans or egg shaped candies would work.

Serves: 12
Start-to-Finish: 40 minutes + cooling
Recipe By: Amber Brunson


1/4 cup butter, cubed
4 1/2 cups marshmallows
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/8 cup chocolate chips
1/8 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup coconut flakes
2 cups chow mien noodles
2 cups rice crispies
24 jelly beans (approximately 1 cup)
marshmallow chicks (optional)


1.  In a large saucepan, melt butter and marshmallows over low heat until smooth, stirring occasionally.
2.  Add the peanut butter, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips.
3.  Stir continually for 2 minutes or until smooth.
4.  Remove from the heat.
5.  Stir in coconut flakes, chow mien noodles, and rice crispies until well coated.
6.  Divide into 12 mounds on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. (The mixture will be very warm; greasing your hands with butter will help with the heat and keep the nests from sticking to your hands.)
7.  Using your fingers, shape each mound into a nest; press an indentation in the center of nest. (For those of you wondering how rice crispies treats could possible take 40 minutes to make ... well, it happens in steps 6 and 7.)
8.  Fill each nest with three or four jelly beans or candy eggs.
9.  Refrigerate until cool.