Friday, May 14, 2010

Food Storage Friday: A brownies experiment

A few weeks ago, at my sister-in-law's wedding reception, I was talking to my husband's grandmother about  food storage.  She shared with me the strangest food storage recipe I have ever heard (ok, probably not the strangest... there are some pretty weird ones out there!).  But I couldn't stop thinking about it and wondering, Could it really work?  Would that really taste normal??

And so I decided to try it.  It's so easy and quick!  Key points when you have two littles ones at your feet and not a lot of time.

The ingredients: 1 box of brownie mix, 1 can of black beans.  That's it.  See, I told you it was strange!

Pour the entire can of black beans into your blender.  Puree until smooth (I mean, unless you like chunks of beans in your brownies.....)

Next, combine the brownie mix and pureed beans.  I'll admit, I hesitated a little bit at this part.  Did I really want to (potentially) ruin an entire box of brownies??  When my husband found out what this recipe entailed ("beans in brownies?? sick!!"), he tried to make me promise that I would only make half the recipe.  But, I decided against that.  Go big or go home, right?

Clearly I should have used a bigger bowl.  Anyway... I am a huge advocate for eating brownie batter (and cookie batter, cake batter... you get the idea).  However, I was a bit hesitant to try this bean-infused batter.  So what's a mom to do?
Yes, she liked it!  And once I tasted it, I realized it wasn't half bad.  Garrett's grandma had said to bake the batter according to the package directions.  That would mean 40 minutes for my 8x8 cake pan.  However, after 40 minutes it was still pretty gooey in the center, so I just covered it with tin foil and kept baking.  It ended up taking about an hour to be completely baked.
See those fork marks in the finished product?  That's me trying to see if it was done.  The nibble mark in the corner is also mine. :)

The verdict: We took the brownies to our friends' house and shared them with the people there.  Everyone seemed to really like them - they were very moist and heavy.  I personally didn't like them very much because since I knew there were beans in them, I could slightly taste them (they were incredible with fresh strawberries on top, btw.  Kinda masked the bean flavor).  After everyone was done eating I told them what was inside.  A few people were like me and decided that they didn't really like them very much after all (because like I said, once you know there are beans inside, you can kind of taste them!).  Another friend decided that he liked them MORE since they were "healthy" (note: I am not saying that they are healthy.  That's what HE said).

I would love to try making these again, but with white beans since they have a more mild flavor than black beans.  I think they would actually be very good.  If anyone has tried this, please let me know how they turned out!  I think this a great recipe during an emergency situation (i.e., you don't have eggs and/or oil).

Don't have electricity?  You can still make this recipe using a cardboard box oven.

Food Storage Brownies

1 can black beans (NOT the spiced variety!)
1 box brownie mix

Puree one can of (undrained) black beans in a blender.  Add to your box of brownie mix, and combine.  Bake according to package directions.

Don't tell anyone what is in them until AFTER they are done eating.  Or, you could just keep it a secret.  I won't tell.


(Apologies to my 3-year-old... someday she will hate me for posting a picture of her still in her pj's, and with her hair undone.) :)


Kristine said...

I have heard that it's better if you cook the beans from scratch and don't add any salt. I'm not sure - I haven't tried it yet!

Morgan Koji said...

I have done it where you drain the beans, put them back in the can, fill it up with fresh water and then puree it. We didn't notice a beany flavor and I wonder if it's 'cause we didn't use the bean water?

Hilary said...

It's already been said -- but rinse the beans, then refill the can with water, and you don't taste beans -- it is a different texture, but good with ice cream and fudge . . .

Brooke said...

I have also made these where you rinse the beans and add water to fill the can. They were okay... not quite like REAL brownies, but not bad. Anytime you try to totally replace oil the recipe will be a little rubbery.

Lynn said...

Oh yes! I've done this for years. I used pureed beans in place of oil for all kinds of cakes, cookies, etc. It makes them LOW fat and SO good for you.

Just use white beans in place of black when you are making light colored cakes or cookies.

YAY! Another food storage believer of beans. ; D

Jessica said...

Yeah I've done this!!! Doing weight watchers I can totally put these in brownies.

You can also do kind of a parfait sort of thing with the batter by layering the batter and fat free whipped creme. I absolutely LOVED it.

germanjules said...

the only "drawback" we've found is that because they are heavy, you can't eat as many

JaCs said...

I stumbled across your blog today via Candace's blog. (I don't know if you know her personally, but I thought I would mention it in case you did)
In the Jessica Seinfeld cook book where you sneak veggies into the recipes. Her choc chip cookies use chick peas aka garbonzo beans. And we loved them. That would be another option to try, not sure how they would turn out, but they worked well in or choc chip cookie recipe. And I along with everyone else would not use the bean water.

Run, Bike, Knit said...

I've made these with black beans (from can and from scratch), but I prefer to make them with pinto beans. I make the beans from scratch and when they are done cooking, I rinse them really good.

I use 1 1/3 cups of beans and 2/3 cups of water and then puree them.

I also prefer the batter over the brownie. Yummy!!!!

Kathleen said...

I have made pinto bean pie aka pumpkin pie, and really there is not a lot of taste difference. And the color is spot-on! I prefer to make a "spicy-er" version of Pumpkin pie anyway, (just more of the basic seasonings) so the color of my pies is a little darker; I have made beans from scratch, canned and powdered; all require a final dance in the food processor or blender, but no one could tell the difference!

catnap said...

How ironic is this? The next website I looked at after this recipe had a recipe that mixes a box of devils food cake mix, a can of black beans and 1/2 cup of applesauce in a food processor for a minute or two, then bake as muffins at 350 for 15-20 min. Maybe you'd find this version a little more appealing. The author, who is only identified as Tamara K, says she partially drains the beans, but not draining works, too.

Anonymous said...

You can do the same with a regular-sized can of pumpkin, and much less YUCK!

Sandra said...

Another thing that you can do to improve the texture of the brownies is to use half beans and half oil. This will improve the texture and make a chewy brownie.

Twinmomwv said...

I've had these before when a friend heard about it at Weight Watchers (the brownies are only 3 points each). I had no idea at the time. She told everyone after we had eaten them.

I think you have to let them cool completely before you eat them for the bean flavor to be gone.

Adrianna said...

I agree with Twinmomwv. I was inspired by your blog to try this recipe 2 days ago. I also used black beans. I did rinse the beans and replace with fresh water. I could slightly taste the bean flavor when the brownies were warm, but could not taste it at all the next day when they were cooled to room temp. Thanks for the great food storage recipes!!! I will be using this one again.

Shandra said...

Great tip--I have heard you can do this with a cake mix as well?? I will have to give it a try!

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Julene said...

I use canned beans as well and you can't taste them at all. I do make the recipe as the box says with eggs and water. (I do use powdered eggs), so maybe that is why your's came out heavy with no water or eggs. I would rinse them as well as others have done. Good luck and try them again.