Black Bean Brownies

A few months ago I bought a bottle of agave nectar to use in this recipe from 101 Cookbooks. The idea of black beans in brownies didn’t bother me as much as the idea of using agave, which I thought I would not like. Luckily, I was wrong. The agave tasted quite pleasant in the black bean brownies. Thanks Heidi and Ania, who developed the recipe for Baking with Agave, for the recipe. Also, thanks to Katrina for convincing me to buy a bottle agave nectar.  It was worth the $7.00.

Below is how I made Heidi’s brownies. It’s a half batch, and I baked it in a 9 inch square straight edge pan. I think a 9 inch pan with rounded edges or even an 8 inch pan would have been a better choice because my brownies were a bit thin, but I love the flavor. I wish they didn’t have half cup of butter, but if agave nectar is as healthful as the say it is, then the brownies have that going for them…..and of course there are the black beans, which you can taste if you try, but which go oddly well with the coffee and chocolate. If you like brownies and are interested in whole foods recipes or just want to try agave, I recommend this recipe. If you are willing to make an 11×18 inch pan, I’d say follow the recipe on Heidi’s page. If you halve it, you can use this one. If you use an 8 inch pan, shoot for the longer cook-time (40 minutes). Deeper brownies (as opposed to wider and thinner) usually take more time.

This is a half batch version based on HS’s recipe. I did a few things differently in terms of technique,

Agave Black Bean Brownies

Black Bean Brownies

1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 oz)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped up
2 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
1 cup drained black beans, from a can – -rinsed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup agave nectar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 or 9 inch square metal pan with parchment paper or nonstick foil.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Add the coffee crystals to the melted chocolate and stir well; set aside.

Process beans, 1/4 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a few spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture in food processor; Process for about 2 minutes or until smooth and thick. Add the bean mixture to the mixing bowl with the melted chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, until very light (about 2 minutes). Beat in the agave nectar. Add ******all but ¼ cup***** of the egg mixture to the brownie batter.

Pour batter into the pan. Using the mixer, beat the reserved 1/4 cup egg mixture for another 30 seconds. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Using a toothpick or a knife, pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 33-40 minutes or until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)

Makes 24 (2-inch) brownies.

Notes: The flavor was delicious! The texture was odd – not incredibly sturdy, but just sturdy enough to pick up and eat. The brownies were also kind of slimy at first, but the taste made up for it. I used a 9 inch square pan and took the brownies out at 35 minutes (about 5 minutes after they started to smell brownie”ish” and pulled away from the sides of the pan. Some of the marbled egg mixture still appeared on top of the baked brownies, so I tapped with a spoon and it disappeared into the brownies. I let the brownies cool on a rack then chilled them for a few hours before cutting. I think they will be even better after a full night in the refrigerator.

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  1. says

    Wow, I hope that I’m as brave as you one day. I tried a recipe for black bean brownies when I was doing South Beach last year. The garbage can got that batch.

    I’ll try to muster up the courage to try this. Who knows? Maybe the agave syrup will be the difference. For sure though, I’d try your half batch recipe rather than the full amount.

    Now, just to get my courage up.

  2. says

    Ooh, now I’m excited to get to work on them. Went and bought the beans! Baby is sleeping….hmmm. I hear the kitchen calling.
    They look great!

  3. says

    Hey, just wondering, even though I’m still going to use agave, if you think these would still work fine if you just used sugar instead?

  4. says

    These sound interesting! Here you are going healthier and my husband just found some old Guinness in the basement. He’s a beer snob and was busy pouring it down the drain when I said “Wait! Save at least one so I can try Guiness Cake!” He is very doubtful that it will be any good. This is the same man who didn’t want me to add cranberries and walnuts to a recent loaf of bread and every time he eats a slice he raves about it. I think he has a pleasant surprise coming his way with the Guinness Cake even if the beer is old.

  5. says

    How funny! I just posted about this same thing today. Unfortunately my experience didn’t work out, but that was due to my own fatal mistake! However, I could tell that they would have been really great otherwise. I wound up making a different brownie, using some of the things that I liked in the black bean brownie, and it turned out awesome. I’m not sure I’ll be able to muster the courage to go back to the black beans any time soon. 🙂

  6. says

    Oooh, along with Katrina’s version, these are a must try. Ever since the fad of adding black beans to a store-bought brownie mix started I’ve been waiting for some good homemade recipes. I love that these are flourless and Katrina’s version is low-fat but you can simply add no oil to hers and they should turn out well. I think I may combine the two and try to make a flourless nonfat brownie! I may get a Nobel Prize for this one…

  7. says

    Go Nick, Go Nick! Can’t wait to see (at least let Anna and I know) how it goes! That’s exactly what bummed me out–these have a lot of fat, where mine don’t, but these don’t use refined sugar and no flour! I’ll be waiting, Nick. Will there be peanut butter in yours? 😉

    Mine are in the oven–these that Anna posted. Seemed like a lot of different steps, bowls, etc., so they better be good! 😉

  8. says

    I’ve been wanting to try this recipe. I’m very curious, plus I want to give these brownies to people and be all, “Guess what you just ate!?”

  9. says

    I haven’t told my kids about the beans and probably won’t, they probably won’t eat the brownies anymore. But I will enjoy telling others!

  10. says

    I like agave nectar. I havent baked with it though. I use it in my oatmeal and smoothies. I get it a lot cheaper on amazon( I buy 6 bottles at a time).

  11. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" says

    I clipped this recipe for my brother’s girlfriend, who is gluten-intolerant. After reading your description though, I’m worried they won’t impress her. Darn, and I just bought unsweetened chocolate today for the recipe. I’ve also been eying this chocolate chip cookie recipe ( The author is adamant about using shortening, since butter will make the cookies spread. That’s the only thing keeping me from trying the recipe (I’m a butter girl all the way). I also made really rich bean brownies ( The concept seems popular nowadays.

  12. Muffy says

    Agave—baby that is what tequila comes from!

    I have an agave and 2 silver thorns (agave-like plants) in my front yard. The down side is, once they bloom and sprout their stalk, they die and will have to be dug up.

    More agave trivia: Just before the stalk reaches maturity, you can dig up the plant and roast the root ball. At least, that it what I am told the ancient Sonoran residents did.

  13. says

    I made HS recipe for Amazing Black Bean Brownies recently. The egg mixture that I swirled on top in the last step never sunk in to the batter, so my brownies had a slimy white-ish top. They still tasted good, but I think if I make them again I’ll add all the egg mixture to the batter and stir it in completely, eliminating the last step and the weird white layer on top.

  14. says

    I made these, and they are awesome! Despite only having two ounces of chocolate in them, they are extremely chocolately and rich. I think the coffee adds some of that flavor.
    Don’t be scared of these brownies! You’ll probably love the

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