• July 24, 2014

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Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 4:30 am

A few weeks ago, I was out with friends, and we started talking about Valentine’s Day plans.

While our ideas varied from special meals at home with family to a night on the town, we all agreed that the best way to say “I love you” through food requires chocolate.

Lots of chocolate, but with as little fat and calories as possible. Looking and feeling good is important, too, we agreed.

That, of course, led several of my friends to ask me for low-calorie chocolate dessert recommendations that are big on taste and fairly simple to make.

Since I love to bake, and have been working more the past couple of years to eat better and manage my weight, I had a few ideas, including black bean brownies.

Despite their name, the brownies really are big on chocolatey goodness and a healthier way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than your average fudge brownie.

No matter how you spend Valentine’s Day, be sure to tell those who matter most that you love them, since that’s really the best, guilt-free treat of all.

Black bean brownies

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray, flour-variety recommended
  • ½ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup black coffee, strong
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9- X 13-inch pan with cooking spray; line with aluminum foil and coat foil with cooking spray.
  2. In a blender or mini food processor, process beans with coffee until smooth; set aside.
  3. In a double boiler over very low heat, melt butter and chocolate. (Note: You can also melt them in the microwave. Heat in 20-second intervals and stir until smooth.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low speed, add melted chocolate to eggs; incorporate well.
  5. Add black bean mixture, vanilla and salt; mix well. Add flour; combine thoroughly on low speed.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a tester inserted in center of brownies comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack.
  7. After 10 minutes, remove brownies from pan by pulling up on foil and placing brownies on cooling rack to cool more.
  8. Cut into pieces and serve.

Makes: 12 to 24 servings depending on size of squares.

Note: To be a little more indulgent on Valentine’s Day, top a warm brownie with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

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