chili-cherry protein brownies

1 12 2012

brownie bundles 2

i wanted to share a recipe that i’ve been perfecting over the last few weeks… what a rough life i lead, having to make multiple batches of brownies to taste test! in all seriousness, though, i’ve finally got this recipe down, consistently producing the texture and flavor that i personally think is the ultimate in deliciousness.

i was inspired by chocolove’s “chilies & cherries in dark chocolate” bar, but wanted to create a protein-packed brownie that would be lower in calories and higher in beneficial nutrients. i tweaked a few of the black bean brownie recipes floating around on the web, and added my favorite protein powder, and after adjusting the ratios a couple of times, i’ve got these fudgy babies…

click through for recipe!

chili-cherry protein brownies - makes 12 brownies

  • 1 can organic black beans, drained (i use westbrae organic brand)
  • 2 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil (i use spectrum brand); does not need to be melted to liquid state
  • 25 g. (5 tbsp.) organic unsweetened cocoa powder (i use rapunzel brand)
  • 2 tsp. organic vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp. ground chipotle powder
  • 1 cup sugar or sugar substitute (i use splenda essentials granulated baking sugar with extra fiber)
  • 60 grams vanilla protein powder (i use perfect fit, which is an organic, non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free brown rice-based vegan protein powder)
  • 1/3 cup dried tart montmorency cherries
  • 3/4 cup (12 tbsp.) sunspire chocolate chips (or regular chocolate chips if you aren’t trying to keep this recipe vegan)
  • 4 oz. (e.g. one individual serving-sized plastic cup with foil lid) applesauce (i used santa cruz brand)
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling
  1. in a food processor, blend the beans, coconut oil, vanilla, and applesauce very well (e.g. until completely smooth).
  2. add the dry ingredients (cocoa powder, protein powder, sugar substitute and chipotle) to the food processor and blend again until completely incorporated.
  3. add the cherries and pulse a few times — you don’t want to blend them into a puree, but rather have them stay a bit chunky, adding some chewy texture to the brownies.
  4. transfer the mixture into a bowl and add the chocolate chips, mixing gently.
  5. grease/spray a 9 x 13 in. pyrex baking dish and add three strips of parchment paper (one the long way, two crossing over the first stip perpendicularly, e.g. the short way), grease/spray again (these will help you lift the brownies out of the pan to cut them without cracking them once they’re done baking).
  6. carefully spread the batter over the bottom of the dish and sprinkle with a touch of sea salt.
  7. bake at 340 degrees for 40 minutes or until the top looks dry and has some slight surface cracks — you will not be able to do a toothpick tester for this recipe because the center is still “gooey” even when they are totally cooked — also, because there are no eggs in this batter there is no safety issue with not cooking “completely.”
  8. remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes; then, using the parchment strips, lift out of the baking dish and onto a cutting board (alternatively, flip the brownies out of the baking dish onto a cutting board so that the strips are on the top).
  9. cool for at least 1 hour more in the refrigerator (or even overnight) before removing parchment strips and cutting. cut into 12 pieces and return to the baking dish for service, or store in a sealable container in the refrigerator.

brownie with milk 3

these are wonderful with a glass of almond milk, and even better with a full-bodied red wine… the spicy/tart and deep chocolate flavors really hold their own against a big red. because they are flourless (making them a great option for our gluten-sensitive friends!), they don’t have the cake-y texture of a traditional brownie… they are really much denser and more fudge-like, and best served fresh from the refrigerator so that they stay firm.

brownie cross section text

i’ve tried to give you a good shot of the cross section so that you can see the texture… rich and studded with chips and chewy cherry bites. the sprinkling of sea salt on the top is the perfect counterbalance!

go ahead and indulge yourself healthily this holiday season. and while you’re at it, make an extra batch or two — these were a hit at the “friendsgiving” party i attended, and would make a lovely hostess gift. i brought one, prettily wrapped in a paper pastry bag with bakers’ string, to surprise a friend at a yoga date today…. who could say no to these fudge-y and fiber-ful wonders?

nutritional info, per brownie:

  • calories: 130
  • fat: 5.2 g. [3.5 g. saturated]
  • sodium: 48 mg.
  • potassium: 38.2 mg.
  • carbs: 19.3 g. [7.8 g. fiber, 7.4 g. sugar]
  • 6.3 g. protein
  • 4% daily value vitamin A, 1.7% vitamin C, 1.2% calcium, 4% iron

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