Makes 12 brownies

2 cans of cooked black beans (drained weight 18 oz) or 18 oz homecooked beans
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
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coffee extract or use extra vanilla extract
sea salt
4 1/2 oz chopped walnuts
Optional:
a few drops of stevia to sweeten

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease the inside of a 9 1/2 x 8 in china or glass baking dish. Rinse the black beans and leave to drain. Melt the butter/oil in a saucepan over a gentle eat, then set aside.

2. Place 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 the 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.

*For a mocha-flavored variation that’s caffeine free, use 2/3 cup of maple syrup and 2 2/3 oz of carob instead of cacao powder. Carob is sweeter than cacao and not bitter so you don’t need as much maple syrup.

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