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Black bean brownies: A gluten-free Valentine's treat

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Being gluten-free during Valentine's Day is not always easy if you have a sweet tooth; cakes, cookies, and other decadent treats belong to the realm of wheat flour, where a nibble of heaven can cause you gastrointestinal hell if you're gluten-intolerant.

Fortunately, some baked goods translate well into gluten-free, and black bean brownies is one of them. Black beans are excellent sources of fiber, and coconut oil is full of medium-chain fatty acids to support memory and brain function. Most importantly, these brownies do not taste like your Super Bowl dip and are possibly the fudgiest, most moist brownies you'll ever have. All you need for this recipe is a mixing bowl or a food processor, a square cake pan or muffin pan, and you're on your way to chocolate bliss.

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies (adapted from mylittlecelebration.com. makes about 12 brownies, 350 degree oven)

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz. can (1 3/4 cups) of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2.5 tbsp. flaxseed meal and 6 tbsp. water (omit if using 2 regular eggs)
  • 3 tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raw or brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease an 8 inch square cake pan or 12-slot standard muffin pan, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine flax and water in your bowl or food processor. Mix briefly and let rest for a few minutes to hydrate.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and blend well until batter is very smooth. Add water by the teaspoon until the batter resembles the consistency of cake batter
  4. Spoon into batter into muffin tin or pan evenly.
  5. Bake until the edges pull from the sides and the top appears dry (about 20-26 minutes).
  6. Let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a fork. The insides are meant to be very fudgy, so don’t be concerned if they seem too moist – that’s the point. Plus, they’re vegan so it doesn’t really matter.
  7. Store in an airtight container or refrigerate to keep longer (they probably won't last that long, though).

These brownies run 140 calories each, and pack a lot of taste in addition to 163 mg of fiber, and 5g of protein. Granted, they aren't health food, but they are vegan, gluten-free and egg-free (which is a lot to ask for from a dessert that still tastes great). Even better, this dessert will pass the taste-test with your non-vegan, glutinous friends - which means you can still enjoy food with them, and not worry about intestinal distress later. Whip up a batch of these today for Valentine's Day, and put a smile on your honey's face.

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