It’s been an odd 2015 so far. Five days in and I feel like those charmingly clumsy and awkward girls you see in TV shows and movies. Minus the charming part. Not only did I briefly forget about vegan month minutes after we hit 2015, I also managed to forget to take my cool 2015 calendar to work which seriously threw off my productive vibe (no nerd jokes, please. And yes, the calendar was cool!). I didn’t pick up my wallet the other day we went to the gas station. Then I hopped over a puddle to jump into my brother’s vehicle and hit my knee so ridiculously hard that there’s a disgusting purple bruise on my knee. Then my forehead decided to have a one-on-one with his elbow. And now I’m battling a bitchy kind of flu that has me irritable because it won’t develop into a full blown flu, nor will it subside. Commit, dammit!
My less than stellar state has prevented me from making my patented OCD-type menu for the week. Which is bad for a neurotic gal like me, plus I get super mad when I’m hungry. Ask Rabin if you don’t believe me. I’ve been craving comforting meals and the vegan thing has been particularly hard over here for us, even on a regular day. There’s been a limited availability of tofu, no avocados, and no vegan substitutes for stuff like butter and cheese. I don’t want to repeat meals nor do I want to eat curry nonstop, and I want to eat healthy stuff…not just fill my stomach with pasta. Plus I’ve broken up with quinoa.
One thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve had to think about breakfasts and snacks as well as the larger meals. Toast topped with Kala Chana Hummus & sunflower seeds has been a saviour recently, but I keep craving something chocolate related. Milk chocolate has dairy in it of course and I realized that my kitchen has a shocking lack of dark chocolate.
Which brings me to cocoa powder – it’s vegan! It’s actually a loophole in my no-egg-no-dairy-no-unhealthiness commitment! Armed with that knowledge, I decided to make Black Bean Walnut Brownie Bites. I’ve tried a few variations of this in the past and I’ve been quite satisfied with the results.
I know what you’re thinking. Black beans? In a brownie?! But bear with me a second and think: why are foods like chickpeas, nuts, cauliflower and white beans so popular in a number of other dishes? Because their mild flavor makes them adaptable to lots of different spices and cooking styles. Now think about what black beans taste like…hearty and chewy and no overwhelming flavor, right? Which makes it perfect for a brownie texture! Eureka! Sliced bread who?
Today I’m adapting Chocolate Covered Katie’s Flourless Black Bean Brownies. I always feel that walnuts need to be a part of brownies and I decided to play up the coconut oil by topping with sweetened coconut flakes. I also reduced the amount of sugar and took out the chocolate chips. You’re more than welcome to put them back in.
If you’re looking for a block of sugar studded with chocolate blocks of sugar, this recipe isn’t for you. If want something that isn’t overly sweet, still gives you a chocolate-y taste and won’t make you feel guilty for eating it with your coffee or tea for breakfast, then this is the recipe for you.
Black Bean Walnut Brownie Bites
1 ½ cups cooked Black Beans (or 1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed)
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
½ cup quick cooking Oats
¼ tsp Salt
1/3 cup Agave Syrup (or maple syrup if desired)
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
¼ cup Coconut Oil
2 tsp pure Almond Extract
½ tsp Baking Powder
¼ cup Walnuts
Coconut Flakes, sweetened, for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and toast Walnuts for 7 minutes until browned. Remove from oven, let cool and finely chop. While walnuts are toasting, lightly grease two mini muffin pans.
In a food processor, add all ingredients except for walnuts & coconut flakes. Process until thoroughly combined. Stir in walnuts. Drop spoonfuls of batter into prepared pans until each part is about ¾ filled. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top of each and press lightly to ensure that flakes stick onto the batter. Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes.
Remove and let cool before removing the bites from pan.
There ya have it. I hope that my clumsy streak ends soon although I can’t say that the week has been all bad so far. My TV shows are all back this month, the premiere of Galavant was wonderfully campy and entertaining, and I have hope for Agent Carter. Coupled with the vague sense of renewal the new year brings, I’ve decided to follow the Buzzfeed “Rememeberlutions” idea that instead of (or in addition to!) resolutions, you keep a jar going with all of the great things that have happened to you this year. I think it’s a cool idea and will definitely help ease the failure I’m sure I’ll feel at the end of 2015 🙂