Almost vegan brownies

Sweet baking made with alternative flours, liquids and sweeteners appeals to me these days even though none of my household needs to eat gluten or dairy-free, plus my sixty year old digestive system seems to prefer these products.

On the rare occasion I eat a commercial white flour, white sugar-based bakery product, not only do I get the dreaded sugar spike and crash, I have a vague sense of my digestive system working too hard. Such products leave me feeling tired and almost de-energised whereas alternative ingredients have the opposite effect.

Having had success with cakes and breads using zucchini, beetroot, spelt and non-wheat flours I’m always up for a different baking challenge. These refined sugar-free black bean brownies from Dana at the Minimalist Baker looked delicious so I thought I’d try them for this week’s morning teas.


I sourced the black (turtle) beans down at the Fruit and Nut Deli, I soaked them overnight then cooked them briefly on Sunday.

The date caramel simply requires dates and water in your food processor, I used our Vitamix. This seems to be a potentially versatile healthy ingredient.


In this recipe the date caramel is used as a cooked topping, next time I think I’ll try it as an icing afterwards, I certainly didn’t know that dried fruit and water could look and taste so delicious!

The ingredients in these brownies are both dairy and wheat free in addition to containing no refined sugar. The batter betrays no evidence of this, it was as lickable as any good fudge batter.


As always, I made some substitutions. I used real eggs rather than make the flax seed eggs, I subbed macadamias for pecans, rapadura sugar for the coconut sugar and Callebaut chocolate chips for the vegan ones in the recipe. On this first try I decided not to top the brownies with the extra coconut, nuts and chocolate chips but I will next time.

My finished brownies were typical of my baking — poorly shaped, a bit overcooked but one bite proved them to be everything Dana claimed them to be — moist, fudgey, rich, tender and insanely delicious.


Recipe here.

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