Don’t be frightened away by the incongruous thought of using black beans to make brownies. The beans provide starch to take the place of wheat (flour), for a delicious gluten-free dessert. The small amount of molasses and vinegar react with the baking soda to help the batter rise when baked.
There are a few things to remember when making this dessert.
- Read the ingredients! Refried beans come in many variations–some with garlic, onions, chili, etc. You want plain no-fat refried beans made with water and possibly some salt. It’s best to use no salt or low sodium versions, but those can be difficult to find. We usually use the regular salted version simply because that’s what’s available (it depends on where you shop). If there are a few brands to choose from, select the one with the lowest sodium content. And, make sure you use REFRIED (which are smashed, not whole) black beans. Also, do not use refried pinto beans–only black beans for this dessert, please.
- When using salted refried black beans, the salt will be more noticeable when the brownies are warm and fresh out of the oven. We recommend allowing the brownies to cool completely, then covering and transferring them to the refrigerator. The texture becomes almost fudge-like, and the sweet flavors intensify.
- We also like to use mini chocolate chips if possible, because they can be more evenly distributed throughout the brownie. However, we’ve used regular chocolate chips and even chocolate chunks with good results. It’s just a matter of preference. Also, the brownies cut more easily with smaller chips and more finely chopped nuts.
- If you can, line the dish with parchment paper as shown below, so you can lift the whole thing out of the pan when done. The brownies are very fragile and can be hard to remove otherwise.
These amazing gluten-free brownies make wonderful little brownie bites for parties, children, or anyone who wants just have a small amount of dessert. We cut the brownies into 9 squares then cut each square into 4 to 6 small pieces. When planning to make brownie bites, it’s important to use the mini chocolate chips and finely chop your nuts. Enjoy!