Beautiful black bean brownies

I’ll admit I’m a little (OK, a lot) late to the Deliciously Ella party, but I have officially joined in. When I spotted her latest cookbook in the library where I work, I had a quick flick through, then a proper look…followed by page marking, and then scribbling down a shopping list. It’s safe to say I’m now hooked.

One of the things that really appeals to me about Ella’s recipes is how suitable they are for babies. Low in refined sugar and full of superfoods, I found myself looking at a whole host of baby-friendly ideas for mealtimes.

But for my first foray into Ella’s recipes, I wanted to try something sweet. I inherited my sweet tooth from my dad and am used to baking with butter, chocolate and vanilla sugar, so I was really curious about using more unusual store cupboard ingredients to make a dessert.

So I merrily set about gathering ingredients for brownies…you know, cocoa powder, milk, apple purée, chia seeds, black beans… Yep, the main ingredient in these brownies is black beans. And yes, it totally works!

I treated my husband and various friends to these brownies, and they were a hit. What’s more, they’re gluten free and vegan if you use plant-based milk (I cheated and used cow’s milk). The chia seeds are soaked first so become gelatinous and help to create the lovely gooey texture, and raisins add a great plump chewiness. Oh yes, and Kitty loved them too.

I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily more tasty than a traditional chocolate brownie (because not much can beat that!) but they are very interesting, and extremely moreish. Plus, it’s great to feel kind of healthy while eating a delicious dessert…because when does that ever happen!?

Gooey black bean brownies
From Deliciously Ella: Every Day

2 tbsp chia seeds                          
400g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
200g ground almonds
200g apple puree (I cheated and used shop-bought)
200ml plant-based milk (I used cow’s milk)
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp honey
8 tbsp maple syrup
7-8 tbsp cocoa powder
100g raisins

– Soak the chia seeds in 140ml water for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C).

– Place all the ingredients – except the raisins – into a food processor and blend until smooth. Stir in the raisins until evenly mixed.

– Line a baking dish with baking parchment, then pour in the brownie mix and spread it out.

– Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife comes out almost clean. Let the brownies cool for about 45 minutes in the tin; this is really important as they continue to set during this time. Cut into rectangles.

– Store in an airtight tin for up to 5 days. But chances are they won’t last that long!

Note from Ella: It’s very important that you leave the brownies to cool as that’s when they set. They’re not totally solid when they come out of the oven, so please have patience!