12 September 2013

I've Got The Bean Brownie Blues (GF)

I have been tweaking an adzuki bean brownie recipe -- I've tried several variations, and I still have the same problem.  I keep reading about bean brownies and all these blogs say they don't taste beany.  Even my most unhealthy version seems a little beany.  They don't taste like beans, but they have a beany texture, no matter how much pureeing and mashing I do.  These brownies are good -- my 5 year old has been gorging himself on all my attempts and my recipe is similar to a few other highly touted recipes out there, so they can't suck that badly, but I still think they kind of have that dry beany feel to them, even though they are really moist. 

So anyway, here's the recipe.  It's very forgiving.  All the versions taste pretty similar, but do play around and see what you like.  The banana versions tasted a bit bananery (in a good way), and the one with more sugar tasted sweeter, and the oaty ones had an oaty texture to them (I think I prefer the oaty versions), but I couldn't taste much of a difference between the versions that did or didn't have tahini or flour.  Optional ingredients are italicised and in parenthesis.  You can put in a lot of sugar or a little.  I've put down a range, so go with what you like.  The full amount of sugar makes them taste as sweet as traditional brownies.  I like my stuff less sweet, so I went with half that.  There is also a range for the amount of cocoa or carob powder you can use.  I think 3 tbsp is perfect, but you might want yours more or less chocolaty/caroby.  (I also tried this with and without cornstarch to see how it would bind everything up and there really wasn't any difference in the texture, so I say don't bother.)

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF.

Mix all this together:  
  • 250g/1-1/2c mashed or pureed beans (adzuki, black, or white)
  • 1/4-1/2c sugar or agave nectar or maple syrup or what have you
  • 2-4 tbsp cocoa or carob powder
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (omit if using self-raising flour)
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla and/or almond flavouring
  • (6 tbsp self-raising flour or plain flour, see note above)
  • (50g/1/2c porridge oats)
  • (a banana, mashed or pureed)
  • (1-2 tbsp tahini, peanut butter, or another nut butter)
Your mixture should be spreadable and sticky, not pourable or doughy/stiff.

Spread on a lightly greased baking tray or cake pan (skip the grease if it's silicone, obviously, but I swear, even non-stick pans need a little oil or something).  Bake for 15-20 minutes and then let everything cool for about 10 minutes.  You can cut and serve straight away, but it is still rather soft and mushy straight from the oven and things solidify up a lot better if you can wait.  Dust with some powdered sugar to make 'em pretty.

Do you have a secret to un-beany-textured brownies? 

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