Black-bean peppermint brownies

Photo Credit:

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Welcome to the Christmas season. This means cookies, cakes, cocoas, pies, cobblers and crumbles. Regardless the form, you’re likely to consume some sort of sweet (or 10) between now and the return of semester. To help avoid the post-holiday blues of sugar crashes and pulling out your large pants, I’ve remodeled one of my favorite desserts: brownies.

The secret ingredient? Black beans.

Now, don’t stop reading yet. Black beans are a healthy addition to an otherwise unhealthy treat. When added, they’re essentially flavorless and create a smooth and creamy texture. Blind test these on your friends and I guarantee they won’t be able to tell the difference.

And, they replace the flour—making these gluten-free and easy to take to large gatherings where food allergies may be lurking. Try these this holiday season and you’ll easily be hooked. Brownies for breakfast? Why not. These do have protein, after all.


food processor or powerful blender
rubber spatula
8x8 brownie pan
measuring cups


1 15 oz. can unsalted black beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
2 eggs (make this vegan by substituting eggs by mixing 2 tbsp of flax + 5 tbsp water)
3 tbsp melted coconut or vegetable oil
1/4-1/2 cup cocoa powder depending on your like for chocolate
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely granulated sugar or maple syrup
1/4 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (you can find these dairy-free)
2 tbsp finely crushed candy canes

Get to work

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8x8 brownie pan. Add ingredients besides candy canes, peppermint extract and chocolate chips to the food processor.  Puree until smooth.

2. Add in peppermint extract a little at a time, pulse, sample and adjust until it's to your liking. Then stir, don’t puree, in chocolate chips. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin or brownie pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

3. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides. Remove from oven and let cool for 20-30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a butter knife or fork.

The insides are meant to be very fudgy, so it’s okay if they’re slightly moist. Dust with crushed candy cane and serve.

Not ready to eat them? Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or move to the fridge.

What are your favorite holiday treats? How do you make them healthy? Share your recipes with me at

Emy Wood is a junior communications major specializing in public relations and emerging media. She loves cooking vegan and gluten-free food, reading, writing, playing guitar, learning Spanish and seeing people spell her name with just one "m." Emy grew up on a farm and has owned every creature from llamas to a wallaby. She considers baby animals the best thing on earth.