An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked



When is a brownie not a brownie? Sounds like a stupid question, but I might argue that the color is generally the key, and perhaps the richest, darkest brownies of them all should actually be “blackies.” However, there’s a different reason entirely why I might suggest that these humble bar cookies above get a new name. You would never guess from looking at them, or even tasting them, but these are indeed the infamous black bean brownies that everyone was talking about ages ago.

Upon first seeing this creation, I reacted in the same way that I would imagine most of you are right now; shock and horror. Beans, in sweet baked goods?! What horror, what torture! Flicking quickly away from the recipe, I tried to cleanse my mind of the idea. How could it possibly be any good, after all? Those poor, misguided food bloggers…

And yet, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. After turning the idea over and over in my head a million times, intense curiosity took hold and refused to let go. When I had an afternoon with a bit of free time, I decided that I would just try it out- Just to prove that they were no good, mind you- and put this concept to rest once and for all.

Watching the food processor pulverize those black legumes, it occurred to me that I was being unfairly critical. After all, I had been so bold as to put lentils in cookies, and those were thoroughly enjoyed by every last taster, of adventurous palates or not. Giving up my prejudice against the questionable recipe, I only altered it to reduce the amount of apple sauce, since it seemed that others had had trouble with them setting up. Doing so caused them to be a bit flat, but no less of a revelation.

No, I’m not going to lie, these are not the cookies you turn to when you’re looking for some serious chocolate indulgence, a mouthful of rich, sugary fudge; These are admittedly “healthy” tasty. But as some one who’s constantly stuffed with sweets, it really was a nice change of pace. The beans are really impossible to detect, and warmed for a few seconds in the microwave, they’re definitely a worthwhile treat that won’t have your conscience up in arms.

Even if you’re not prepared to take the leap and try making some blackies for yourself, just remember that bias has no place in the kitchen; It could prevent you from getting a bite of some seriously delicious dishes.

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

38 thoughts on “Blackies

  1. I made another batch of these [my version, though] and honestly? find myself going for them even more than I do for other more conventional baked goods. count me in as a big fan of these babies!

  2. I think it’s a great idea. And really perfect name. Sometimes you only need to eat something that seems a sweet but better if if it’s not! Always on diet!
    Great picture!

  3. I’ve been very curious about these as well. It would be nice to find a “healthy” brownie-type-snack that’s yummy!

  4. I’ve been meaning to make this one (recipe from week 1) ever since I heard it during the play…

  5. These are delicious! I’ve made them before and they were a huge hit in my house.

  6. I’ve been quite intrigued by that black-bean brownie recipe… I really must try it!

  7. black beans can do no wrong!!

  8. you know, I’ve seen these before but have never made them….after all the marshmallows and other very sweet things we’ve had lately, these might be what we need. I spy a red target plate!! I put my white one in the microwave (since I can’t read apparently) and it totally cracked in a million places. The blackies look delicious!!

  9. I tried one version of these brownies and they didn’t come out very good. I think I tried to make them “too” healthy. The recipe above was the one I wanted to try, but I found one that had healthier ingredients….I keep forgetting they’re still supposed to be brownies!

    The Peanut Butter Boy

  10. Have you tried the recipe from 101 Cookbooks with vegan-friendly substitutions, of course? I have been meaning to give it a go, but have yet to have a chance. Yours intrigue me as well.

  11. You make them LOOK very indulgent and decadent, even if they are “healthy”!

  12. I think I’d better try them, too! Do you remember how much applesauce you used?

  13. Red bean paste is often used in Chinese deserts – it’s made from azuki beans. So why not black beans?! They look fab!

  14. I’ll add this to the list of recipes I’ll make for people other than my husband, along with avocado fudge, because he’s squeamish about wierd food things. Even though the fudge was absolutely amazing and you would NEVER know it had avocado in it.

    I’ll give them a try when we move into our new house! Thanks for the tip about the applesauce.

  15. I love your new name for these “blackies.” I never thought of trying the oh-so-famous black bean brownies before since I never thought they would be very good (I, like you, have been unfairly critical), but now I’m trying to cut back on sweets a tad so these sound perfect! Thank you for proving to me that these are worth trying!

  16. It sounds like a neat idea, but I’m not sure “blackie” is such a wise choice of name, given certain racial connotations it may have. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is the first thing I thought of when I read the name….

  17. I’m definitely going to try making these. Maybe they could be called Brownies from the Black Legume (Creature from the Black Lagoon)? LOL. Who cares what they are called as long as they are good and yummy!

  18. I keep seeing these around, but I can’t see myself trying them in the near future, hehe.

  19. Cause I can’t find any guestbook I’m going to write it here. I really love your blog. Never thought that it’s possible to bake so many yammi things without any of the normal products like milk, eggs and that stuff. But it looks like it’s really delicious! Going to try some of your recipes … hoping that I’ll get all the stuff I need here in Germany, too!

    Argh … hope you unterstood my bad English, I haven’t used my Englisch for a while, so I’m out of practice. -_-

    Greetings from Germany, Nadine (Azrael)!

  20. hmmmmm, maybe this one I should try. we love black beans!

  21. These look delicious! Ah, of course I stumble across these on day one of a five day cleanse! Ah well, I can look forward to making these Tuesday!

  22. They look lovely — it’s like using beets in cake or zucchini in squares. People would never guess they were in there. I should try this with beans…

  23. The Chinese actually use beans for a lot of their desserts. Looks like western culture is catching on!

  24. Wow… What an interesting idea! I must admit that I’m a bit curious, as well… They certainly LOOK delicious!

  25. Oh, I have to try that sometime! I’m always looking for healthier options.

  26. I completely agree that bias has no place in the kitchen. Everything deserves a try.


  27. Ah! These have been on my mind since I saw them over 101 cookbooks. I was like …beans? But the more I thought about them, them more I want, no need to try them. Your brownies are certainly tempting me to bake with beans.

  28. I think you convinced me! I was very sceptical at first but now I find this more and more convincing. More beans in brownies!

  29. I have this recipe bookmarked. Your post is a reminder :)

  30. Love this! Way to sneak in a little protein and fiber. It reminds me of that cookbook “deceptively delicious”.

  31. I must admit, I have had the same bias as you when it comes to these black bean brownies. In my mind, brownies just aren’t worth it unless they’re bad for you! Still not sure I’ll try these, but glad you did and were honest about it!

  32. They look great! I do agree with Kate, I think you might want to rethink the name. It has some serious racial undertones that I’m sure you don’t intend.

  33. It would take some doing to get me to eat these. lol.

    I do love black beans, though, almost as much as chick peas.

  34. How do you make something so black, look so good on photos? =D

    First comment here, though I have lurking around your blog for some time already. I love your photography and your wonderful crafts! I’m trying to crochet a simple pouch but it’s taking me forever :(

  35. Black beans + brownies = infamous? When Asians have been using sweet bean paste forever? Hrm. Odd.

    These look fab and, as a Cuban-descended American, I can’t wait to add another black bean recipe to my repertoire!

  36. Oh, also, as a current resident of a state that considers itself Southern, I gotta say that “blackies” is not a very socially sensitive name, though I understand why it would spring innocently to mind.

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