When my husband Anthony makes a food request, I will always oblige. This is rare and he is my favorite person to cook for. I asked him what dessert he wanted for Valentine’s Day and his request was brownies. Now, I’m not sure if you have ever made a classic brownie but they are full of an inappropriate amount of butter and sugar and will basically make your teeth fall out :). So this left me to the task of a new and improved brownie, but still healthy-ish. So I set out to make an version that would sweep him off his feet.

This one takes the cake (or the brownie as it were) and suffices to say it just might have been breakfast this morning. This delicious ooey, gooey treat also happens to be totally plant-based, gluten and refined sugar free…but I’m not telling!

Gooey Fudgy Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

1-15oz can black beans, rinsed well
2 large flax eggs*
6 Tablespoons brown rice syrup or maple syrup**
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup hazelnut flour***
1/2 cup cocoa powder (raw is highest in nutrients)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Makes 10-12 decadent squares

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Place all ingredients up to the cocoa powder in a food processor and blend on high for 10 seconds. Add remaining ingredients except for the chocolate chips and blend until smooth. If you do not have a food processor you can blend the beans and the liquid ingredients first and then transfer to a bowl to fold in the dry.

Add the chocolate chops and pulse gently just to incorporate. Pour into greased 8 x 8 pan or scoop into muffin tins lined with baking cups. Bake for 20-35 minutes (depending the size) until a toothpick comes out mostly clean and the sides start to pull away from the pan. Let cool, then cut into small squares. They will be tender, so remove gently with a fork.

Tips & Notes~

Add 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries or cranberries for a tart sweetness and/or 1/2 chopped walnuts or pecans.

*To Make a Flax Egg- Place 1 Tablespoon ground flax or chia seeds to 3 tablespoons filtered water in a small bowl and mix well. This makes one egg and can be used as a vegan substitute in many baking recipes. You will need two for this recipe. If you prefer you can use pastured chicken eggs instead. 

**To keep this recipe gluten free use maple syrup.

***Hazelnut Flour is made of ground hazelnuts and can be found with other specialty flours. You can use almond flour as well but the flavor is more neutral.