Saturday, December 3, 2011

Black Bean Turtle Brownies

My intern is leaving!  For several months he has shared same workshop and helped to keep me sane.  In honor of his last day, and as a thank you to all of the hard work done during the last three months, I crafted this spin on a recipe he first introduced me bean brownies.

This gluten free, protein laden sweet is topped with toasted pecans, slathered in homemade caramel and drizzled with high quality chocolate.  If you couldn't sell others on the original black bean brownie, this version may be the key to winning them over.

adapted from my intern's recipe.

yeilds one pan (12 to 16 brownies)

The Ingredients:
for the brownie
1 - 15 oz can of black beans (preferably low or no sodium)
1/3 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup sugar substitute (truvia or splenda)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 eggs

for caramel:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup granulatewd sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

for the topping:
1 cup toasted pecan, coarsely chopped
8 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 350.

Drain the black beans and rinse thoroughly. Add beans to a food processor and blend on high until a smooth puree is formed. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in agave, sugar substitute, oil, cocoa powder, instant coffee, baking powder vanilla extract and salt, and blend until just combined. Gently beat in the eggs, one at a time. The batter will be runnier compared to other brownie batters. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour the batter into a lightly greased, 8 x 8 inch baking pan.

Bake in preheated oven 30-35 minutes until the brownies begin to pull away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

While the brownies bake, prepare the caramel.  Warm the heavy cream in a saucepan to a gentle simmer ans set aside.  Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the honey and sugar. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has mostly dissolved.Turn the heat to medium low. Using a candy thermometer cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches the firm ball stage about 246.  Remove from heat and slowly stir in the cream and vanilla.  Allow to cool slightly.

While the brownies and caramel cool, toast the pecans in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.  Stir frequently...these can burn quickly if left unattended.  Sprinklr toasted pecans evenly over the brownies.   Pour the still warm caramel over the top of the pecan and gently spread into an even layer using a spatula.  Melt the chocolate in the micorwave or with a double boiler.  Spread over top of caramel.  Allow the brownies to completely cool, allowing the chocolate to set.

The Review:
Those who weren't easily fooled by health food parading as brownie couldn't get enough of these!  The pecans, homemade caramel, and chocolate gave the brownies just enough naughtiness to be indulgent and forgave the fact they were full of fiber and protein.  My gluten-free co-workers loved that they could share in this treat.  The pastry chef among them claimed he would friend me on facebook for the sole purpose of getting this recipe.  And the intern for whom the brownies were made claimed they were better than his...a true honor seeing as he was the one to provide the original recipe.  

Seriously.  Try these brownies already!

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