I was trying to decide what to do with the extra black beans I had on hand when I remembered a mouthwatering recipe for vegan black bean brownies by Chocolatecoveredkatie. I’d been wanting to make these treats for awhile and this felt like the perfect opportunity. I love baking with healthier ingredients and you’d never suspect there were black beans in these brownies. Getting a protein boost from the black beans removes the guilt but not the pleasure.
These utra rich decadent brownies emerged from the oven soft and gooey. Chocolate melted on my fingers and warm, soft brownie filled my mouth with creamy yumminess. I cut them into irresistible brownie bites after they hardened in the fridge. How easy is it eat brownie bites???
My Approach to Sweets
There is a lot of confusion about sugar these days which makes it trickier to eat a healthy diet. Many people wrongly assume that being vegan is healthy, but from what I see on Instagram, sweet treats still get more likes than kale salads. Sugar (or a form of it) is popping up in just about everything which makes avoiding it, challenging even when you are careful.
Dr. Lustig from the University of San Fransisco, has several informative films on sugar that are worth watching (see The Bitter Truth). After my husband and I watched them, we felt more knowledgeable about sugar and changed how we ate. I am disciplined about avoiding sugar but I indulge occasionally. Especially, when I’ve baked it myself.
Here are my thoughts on sweet treats:
- If it’s one of my FAVORITE desserts like brownies, hot chocolate, peach cobbler or Swedish fish (I know! Aren’t these the best?), then I have little willpower and accept that about myself.
- If I’ve baked it myself, I enjoy eating it more. I know it’s made healthier ingredients, lower sugar, and lots of love.
- If it’s a special occasion like a wedding or birthday, I’ll celebrate by eating a few bites of cake.
- If I’m sharing a desert, I enjoy it as a bonding experience.
- When I’ve indulged enough, I throw the rest away. (It’s hard to throw out desserts but it’s harder on the body to keep eating them).
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to eat sweets completely guilt-free but I found that avoiding all desserts (unless medically necessary) can be very isolating. So, I indulge mindfully and in moderation.
Baking Vs. Buying
Homemade sweets are special. Anyone can buy a cake or cookies from the store, but baking it yourself adds a nurturing element that makes you feel fused over. I remember the time the wife of my husbands friend baked him a birthday cake from scratch (something I’d never done) and how I watched his face light up with delight. He felt so honored by her gesture. I learned something…..
If you are not convinced to turn on your oven, then contemplate these reasons (or just think about licking the bowl)……
Why baking is better than buying baked goods:
- Vegan desserts tend to use healthier ingredients such as buckwheat flour, chia seeds, coconut oil, maple syrup and almonds and avoid unhealthy ingredients like white sugar, eggs, butter, white flour and canola oil.
- You can cut a recipe in half to limit the quantity but you can’t purchase half a cake.
- Baking is a form of science. Stay connected with science.
- Baking is a great way to use your hands which helps lower anxiety.
- Your house smells heavenly.
- You control the amount and type of sugar you use (I prefer coconut sugar or sugar in the raw).
- Hot treats from the oven are irresistible.
- My personal favorite: Licking the bowl (raw vegan batter is always salmonella free).
- You’ll be proud of your healthy desserts such as avocado chocolate mousse, black bean or sweet potato brownies or red velvet cupcakes (made with beets).
- You’ll feel excited to share these treats with others (non-vegans can be resistant to using alternative ingredients and you will feel certain they don’t know what they are missing).
Now, try these amazing brownies!
Because I have zero discipline around brownies, I limited myself to making half the batch in the likely event that I would eat ALL of them (which didn’t take long AND made photographing these decadent treats rather difficult due to the click-click-bite situation).
I also used rolled oats instead of quick cooking oats which may explain why they came out soft before hardening in the fridge AND I used a hand blender to blend the wet ingredients together since I don’t have a food processor. They were delicious and I will make them again.