These chocolate brownies, made from black beans and maple syrup, are proof that grain- and gluten-free baking tastes amazing. You can replace the walnuts with dried cranberries if you have a nut allergy.

Play around with the sweetness − less maple syrup is better for you and gives a slightly more crumbly texture – we don’t add extra sweetness if we don’t need it. If you have a sweet tooth, start with 3⁄4 cup and gradually decrease whenever you make it, adding a few drops of stevia for added sweetness until your taste buds adjust.



  • 2 tins of cooked black beans (drained weight 18 oz) or 18 oz home-cooked beans (dried weight 7 oz, soaked overnight)
  • 8 oz butter or coconut oil at room temperature, plus extra for greasing 
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 oz unsweetened cacao powder
  • 2⁄3 - 3⁄4 cup maple syrup
  • 11⁄2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coffee extract or use extra vanilla extract
  • sea salt
  • 4 1⁄2 oz chopped walnuts
  • a few drops of stevia, to sweeten


  1. Preheat the oven to fan 325°F. Grease the inside of a 9 1⁄2 x 8 inch china or glass baking dish. Rinse the black beans and leave to drain. Melt the butter/oil in a saucepan over a gentle heat, then set it aside.
  2. Place the drained beans, eggs, cacao powder, 2⁄3 cup of the maple syrup, the vanilla extract, and coffee extract, if using, into a food processor with a pinch of salt. Pulse a few times, then blend until smooth.
  3. Add the melted butter/oil, very slowly so as not to cook the eggs, while the machine is running. Taste the batter, adding more maple syrup or a few drops of stevia if need be, then stir in most of the chopped walnuts, reserving a handful.
  4. Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and gently tap the baking dish on a kitchen counter to even out the mixture. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts on top and bake for 40–45 minutes, until the brownie feels firm but springy and its surface is cracked.
  5. Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares. Refrigerating the brownies makes them wonderfully fudgy.

Have You Used Beans In Baking Before?