Not too long ago, I told you guys about how I have gone vegan since April 2013... and how it justified part of my dissapearing act of many months from Swirl & Scramble. During this time of living off a non-animal based diet (yes, I survived and am still alive! Doing great thank you!!), I've been enjoying a lot of savoury dishes but haven't explored the sweet side as much. Having always been a very traditional baker (read: eggs & butter!!) I had no idea how to approach vegan sweets. I've certainly read all sorts of recipes, but was never motivated to test them out. That was until.......
Ta daaaa!!! Yes black beans!! What does this have to do with the cookie picture earlier up there? Well, quite a lot actually. I don't know how this all happened, but one night I got very curious and started researching vegan desserts. Vegan baking is really a concept of its own because you end up losing the binding, thickening, and other properties that usually come along with eggs and butter. It truly requires a whole different, creative approach. For instance, I've recently been reading about "flax eggs" as a substitute for eggs (flax seeds + water combined, I'll have to try that one day). Anyway- that is how my brain started to wander off into the land of dried legumes. Having made hummus countless times, I thought of the texture you get when you puree chickpeas...and how that could possibly serve as a base for desserts. Hold that thought, I told myself. A little more Googling and that is where I discovered that there was this whole world out there of people using black beans to make chocolate cookies (and brownies too!). Amazing, who knew! I studied a bunch of recipes, tried to connect the dots and brainstormed my very own recipe.
Some of the ingredients required- including pureed black beans, almond meal, unsweetened cocoa and more. I had some concerns around the batter and how easy it would be to manipulate- but the dosages I worked with resulted in just the right texture!
If you didn't know, this could pass for "regular" chocolate cookie dough :)
I decided to make a small test batch and here is how they turned out! I can guarantee that there is no way in hell that you can even detect a pinch of taste of black beans... Furthermore, one of my favorite things about these cookies is the texture, which turned out to be even better then "traditional cookies" made with eggs and butter. They were just perfect, a slightly crunchy exterior with a rich soft interior. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least :)
Black Bean Chocolate Cookies- Vegan and Good For You!
This quantity is based off my small test batch, making 6 cookies
1 cup cooked black beans (organic canned beans is fine)
2 tablespoons almond meal (which is nothing more then finely ground almonds)
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar*
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon nut butter (almond, peanut butter, etc)
1 tablespoon almond milk (or soy if you prefer)
A sprinkle of baking powder
Chocolate chips, vegan (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F / 180C.
If you are working with canned beans (which is OK, just get them organic) rinse them well and let drain. You'll need just a cup for this recipe.
In a food processor, puree the black beans. You might need to add a tablespoon of almond milk if they're not blending so easily and smoothly.
In a large bowl, add the pureed black beans, nut butter, almond meal, brown sugar, cocoa and a PINCH of baking powder. Cinnamon too if you'd like. Mix everything real well.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Form small cookie balls, place on try, flatten them out just lightly and top off by placing just a few chocolate chips on top (press well so that they stick in the dough).
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 mins.
*Sugar: If you are watching calories, then use Stevia instead. My recommendation is to adjust sugar quantity by tasting as you go.
Beans: If you don't have black beans, I would assume red kidney beans should work fine too- the cookies might not just turn out as chocolatey dark in colour.
Nut butter: You can use smooth or crunchy nut butters. At the time, I only had a crunchy almond butter on hand.