My favourite recipe for heart-healthy chocolate fudge brownies

 by Carolyn Thomas

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There are enough surprising ingredients in this recipe to make you suspect that the more of these brownies you eat, the healthier you’ll actually become.  Just kidding about that last part, dear Heart Sisters.  But who puts black beans, coffee, cayenne pepper, and the kitchen sink into a heart-smart brownie recipe? It’s a hybrid of a number of different recipes – a bit from here, a bit from there.  Even vegans will love these unique chocolate brownies. Hint: don’t spill the (black) beans when you serve these to family or friends. Let people guess in advance what the secret ingredients are. So far, we’ve never had anybody guess correctly!

Carolyn’s Heart-Smart Chocolate Fudge Black Bean Brownies

First, preheat your oven to 350 and lightly spray or oil an 8 x 8 baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine:

  • 1 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 c. raw sugar
  • 1/4 c. strong coffee, cooled

In a large bowl, combine:

  • 3/4 c. flour (I use 1/4 c. whole wheat, 1/2 c. unbleached white)
  • 1/3 c. cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder (reduce to 1 tsp. if you prefer fudgier brownies)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. ground flax seeds
  • cayenne pepper to taste – warning: start low, go slow: my first try was too *hot*

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the applesauce mixture. Then add:

  • 1 c. mashed, cooked (or canned) black beans

Mix until just combined, then gently fold in:

  • 1/2 c. semi-sweet or dark vegan chocolate chips – from your health food store
  • 1/2 c. cup coarsely chopped unsalted natural almonds (optional)

Spread in prepared pan and bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes, until centre is firm and not sticky. Cool completely before slicing into squares.

Enjoy, and smile!  And for more of my other favourite heart-healthy recipes, visit:

Have you tried this recipe yet? 


     This article ranked as one of the Top 10 Most Popular Posts here on Heart Sisters  in 2011 (#7).

27 thoughts on “My favourite recipe for heart-healthy chocolate fudge brownies

  1. Pingback: About Food and Health
  2. I read interview and I think. That you are one lucky woman, you are also lucky that your family and friend’s gave you all the support that you needed, am sure that this recipe that you have given out most be great.


  3. Does anybody have any idea how many carbohydrates and calories one serving of these delicious brownies contain? I’m diabetic and this information would help me greatly!


    1. Hi Celia – my best rough guess (based on a similar recipe I found) would be approx 20 gr carbs and 80 calories.


  4. Could I add hemp hearts to increase the oil and protein – perhaps would it increase the “crinkle” on top? These sound delish!!


  5. how in the world did you get your brownies to come out like that?! I just made this recipe and it came out almost black looking and dry on top. I baked it at 350 for 25 minutes.


    1. Hi Jenn – “dry on top”? I’m stumped! Mine turn out great every time. Some possibilities – did you use a glass pan instead of a metal pan (glass requires lower oven temp) Beans very well mashed so they’re nice and moooshy?


      1. I guess I’m looking for that nice shiny crinkly top on the brownie like the picture! Mine were definitely cakey. However, they tasted pretty good. I’ll try again!


        1. Remember that this recipe has no butter, oil or eggs, any of which helps to improve a crinkly top! Also, try cutting the baking powder down to 3/4 tsp if you prefer less cakey brownies. Good luck!


          1. PS Jenn – just got an email from a reader who suggests giving a light spray of Pam or something similar just before baking to give a shiny and slightly “crispy” touch.


    1. Hi Maryanne – I’ve adapted this recipe from a few different recipes, but here’s my best-guess rough estimate of the nutritional breakdown, per serving: 77 calories, 3 g fat (0.7 sat fat) and 2 g of fibre. Hope you enjoy them…


  6. These brownies are so delicious and nutritious that I may well start eating them for breakfast!
    Thanks for sharing, Carolyn 🙂


  7. Pingback: Nat
  8. Thank you for giving us such an informative site. Your website is not just knowledgeable, but also very creative too. We keep looking for content like this!! Can’t wait to try this out in our own kitchen.


  9. This has become our newest family favourite dessert, and because it’s so high protein, we don’t even feel guilty enjoying it. We even served it last weekend as my son’s birthday cake and it was a hit. Do you have other great heart-smart chocolate recipes or a good resource to recommend? Please run more of these great healthy recipes. I’ve often thought that special once-in-a-while treats for my kids don’t all have to be 100% junk to taste good, and these brownies prove that to be true. THANKYOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  10. Love, love, love, love this recipe! Such a creative and unusual mix of ingredients – keeps the family guessing right to the last chocolatey crumb. They all loved it too.


  11. We made these yesterday to take to a potluck dinner and they were the hit of the party. Definitely a keeper. Nobody could believe what your “secret ingredient” was! Thanks for this – We’re forwarding to all our friends who love to bake but still want to stay healthy.


  12. I tried this recipe and it is fabulous! Nobody guessed what the ‘secret ingredients’ were. Not only delicious but actually healthy. Thank you for this – I will definitely be distributing this recipe to others.


  13. Many feel that chocolate is not good for health. But some are good for health like, unsweetened chocolate, bitter-sweet chocolate, raw chocolate bar. One can add ground cacao beans to smoothie preparations, sweet dishes, tea or beverages, yoghurts, granolas, ice-cream. One can even make a beverage by blending the powdered cacao with hot water or with milk substitutes like hemp milk, multigrain milk, or coconut milk. Also chocolate sauce can be made.


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