Showing posts with label chocolate brownies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolate brownies. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Black Bean Brownies: No flour, No butter, Just Chocolate Fudgy Goodness by Cleo Coyle

These chocolate brownies nearly qualify as magic. There is no white flour in the recipe. The structure comes from nutritious black beans, which add fiber and protein, but you won't taste the beans. You'll taste only the delicious fudgy chocolate. My previous recipe for Black Bean Brownies started with a brownie mix (to see that recipe, click here). Today's "from scratch" version is still easy, yet it's healthier and tastier. 

Quick Tips

The batter for these brownies can be whizzed up in a food processor or a blender/processor. That's what you see in my photos, an Oster Fusion blender. I'm not sure a regular blender would be able to handle this, but if you have a very powerful blender, it might work. Either way, here are my quick tips for getting the best out of this recipe...

(1) The better quality your chocolate, the better your brownies. 

(2) Chopped, block chocolate is the way to go. Chocolate chips just won't give you the same brownie, which is why I strongly suggest not attempting to make this recipe with chocolate chips. You can, however, tart the brownies up by stirring in chips and/or toasted, chopped nuts just before baking.

(3) Be careful when melting the chocolate. Once chocolate is burned, there's no saving it, and the burned taste will be in your brownies. So be sure to follow the directions in the recipe.

(4) As for the black beans, they should be "low sodium" (or no salt), and be sure you rinse the beans well before draining. I suggest soaking them for a minute in cold water and then draining well, just to be sure they're cleaned and ready for processing. 

(5) Finally, don't over-bake the brownies. I think all brownie recipes are better if they're slightly under-baked. This one is no exception. 

Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

My Coffeehouse Mystery readers may recognize these brownies from A Brew to a Kill. They're a bonus recipe from the book. 

To view the book's recipe section, click here.  

To download this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here

Makes one 9x9-inch square pan of brownies 


8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped (do not use chips)

2 tablespoons canola oil (or vegetable or corn oil) 

¼ cup brewed coffee or espresso 

   (deepens chocolate flavor, you won’t taste it)

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans
   (low sodium or no salt),
rinsed, soaked, drained 

4 large eggs, lightly beaten with fork

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

½ cup white, granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon table salt or finely ground sea salt 
     (if using coarse salt, increase this amount to ¼ teaspoon) 

1 teaspoon baking powder

Optional additions:

½ cup toasted and chopped nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts)

¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips


Step 1 – Prep oven and pan: First preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Create a sling with parchment paper (see my photo) and lightly coat the paper and sides of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Step 2 - Melt the chocolate: Place the chopped chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl. Pour the canola oil into the mixture. IMPORTANT: Chocolate burns very easily and once that scorched taste is in your chocolate, your brownies are ruined. To prevent burning, heat the oil and chocolate in 20- to 30-second increments in your microwave. Stir between each session until everything is melted and smooth. Once melted, set aside. (I like to place the bowl on top of my pre-heating oven to keep the chocolate warm.) 

Step 3 – Prep the beans: Drain the canned beans, place them in a bowl and cover them with water. Allow them to soak for a minute, then drain them well. 

Step 4 – Make the batter: Combine the beans, coffee, and eggs in a food processor or blender/processor (the machine in my photos is an Oster Fusion, a cross between a processor and blender and not a regular blender). Process until smooth. The mixture will look like a chocolate milk shake. Add the brown and white sugars, vanilla extract, salt, and baking powder. Finally add the melted chocolate and mix well until smooth. (If adding optional chopped nuts and/or chocolate chips, stir them in now with a large spoon.)

Step 5 – Bake: Pour the batter into your prepared 9x9-inch square pan and bake for around 20 to 25 minutes, depending on your oven. I’m of the opinion that you should not over-bake brownies, including these. When the top surface is set (spongy but firm to the touch and no longer liquid) and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with no wet batter clinging to it, the brownies are ready. Allow the hot pan to cool for a few minutes, then run a knife on the un-papered edges to loosen any sticky bits and gently lift the parchment paper handles, transferring the brownie cake to a wire rack. Allow the brownies to cool a bit (and set) before cutting into large or small squares and…

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle 

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here
Follow me on twitter here.
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes.  


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Insanely Easy Black Bean Brownies by Cleo Coyle

I don't know who invented Black Bean Brownies. I do know that black beans are very nutritious, packed with protein and fiber; and there are countless recipes for Black Bean Brownies in cookbooks and on the Internet. Everyone has a variation. The scratch recipes range from austere to decadent. The former usually employ sugar substitutes, little to no flour, and bananas in place of fat. The more decadent versions use white and/or brown sugars, chopped chocolates, and plenty of butter.

One particular recipe intrigued me because it required only two ingredients. "Take a can of black beans," it directed, "smash the beans up and mix them and their liquid with a box of brownie mix..." 

The recipe promises if you bake these up, you'll get delicious results. Not so much! Let me save you time and money. The 2 ingredient recipe yields a pan of rubbery brownies that my husband and I found inedible. 

So, okay, that recipe was the equivalent of an urban legend. Undaunted, however, I forged ahead, experimenting until I found a brownie mix recipe for Black Bean Brownies that would work, and I did! The recipe I'm sharing with you today produces a nice chocolate brownie with a fudgy texture and flavor.

The acid test for me comes from my husband (and partner in crime writing), who pulls no punches when it comes to my ideas, my writing, or my recipes. (And of course I do the same for him. :)) While the 2-ingredient "urban legend" brownies were thrown in the trash, THESE were eaten right up. "You can't taste the beans!" Marc declared in happy surprise, and reached for seconds.

We both found these babies fudgy, chocolaty, and very tasty, especially with a hot, fresh, cuppa joe. If you make them, we hope you'll enjoy them, too.

Cleo Coyle's
Insanely Easy
Black Bean Brownies

To download a PDF version of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here

My Coffeehouse Mystery readers may recognize these brownies from A Brew to a Kill, which makes them a bonus recipe for the book. 

I also plan to blog a from-scratch Black Bean Brownie recipe for you soon. So come on back now, y'hear? :) For today, here's my easy version...

A Brew to a Kill is the latest bestselling title
in my long-running culinary 
mystery series. To view the book's recipe sectionclick here>>>


1 cup of canned black beans,
   low- or no-sodium
1 box of chocolate brownie mix
   (regular or low fat, approx. 19+ ounce size)
1/3 cup water

2 large eggs, lightly beaten with fork
2 tablespoons canola oil 


Step 1 - Prep a 13 x 9-inch baking pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and lightly coating the sides of the pan and the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. 

Step 2 - Drain your canned black beans, wash them well, and drain again. Measure out 1 cup of the black beans and run them through a food processor until they are puréed and completely smooth. 

Pour the bean purée into a mixing bowl. Sift in the brownie mix (to prevent clumping). Add the water, canola oil, and eggs. Mix well but do not over-mix. Most brownie mix recipes suggest 50 strokes with a large spoon, and that's fine. Just be sure that all of the dry mix is completely blended into a smooth batter. (I use a fork to mash any small stubborn clumps against the side of the bowl.) Pour into prepared pan.

Step 3 - Bake in a well preheated oven at 350 degree F. for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven, allow brownies to cool before cutting and...

Yes, this is me - Cleo Coyle
Learn about my books here.

Friend me on Facebook here.
Follow me on Twitter here.
Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit
my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aphrodisiac Brownies and a Favorite Character Contest from Cleo Coyle!

I am thrilled to report that my new Coffeehouse Mystery, MURDER BY MOCHA, is off and running as an official bestseller. The book claimed the #9 spot on Barnes and Noble’s Top-10 hardcover mystery list and the #7 spot on the even bigger Nielsen BookScan list. 

The paperback edition of Roast Mortem 
even clocked in as a #8 BookScan mystery bestseller!

I didn't make this happen, readers did, and if you’re one of them, I have two words for you: 

Thank You!

Cleo Coyle, coffee geek,
is author of The Coffeehouse
Mysteries. To learn more,
visit Cleo's website by
clicking here.
Now for the food!

If you are considering making some of the chocolate treats (and other dishes) in the Recipe Section of Murder by Mocha, but aren't sure what the end results should look like, today's post should help. You can also click my PDF link here, print out a copy, and tuck it into your book's pages so you'll always have the reference!

To download a free PDF of the
Murder by Mocha 
recipe photos in the slideshow below, CLICK HERE. 

You can also watch the BIG SCREEN
version of this show
with my personal captions, by 
clicking here. 

Now for 

Today's Recipe!

Cleo Coyle's 

The crimes in MURDER BY MOCHA (and there are plenty) are sparked by the launch of a new beverage product—a mocha drink called Mocha Magic Coffee, on which a powerhouse Website, "Aphrodite’s Village," plans to make a mint.

This chocolate coffee is laced with herbal aphrodisiacs. The formula is top secret, but it workstoo well. The mocha drives half the Coffeehouse cast loco!

In keeping with the loco mocha theme, my brownies include three ingredients that have long been considered aphrodisiacs (all of them legal, I assure you)! 

Chocolate, of course, is Cupid’s classic consumable. Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that is believed to be a perk in the area of romantic desires. Cinnamon is a fragrant spice that was prized by the Romans. (Cleopatra famously used it to arouse her many lovers.)

In these delicious brownies, the cinnamon works with the brown sugar to layer in a subtle yet intriguing flavor—perfect for a murder mystery. I hope you enjoy them, too. 

To download a free PDF of the recipe
for my 
Aphrodisiac Brownies, a featured recipe from Murder by Mocha,
click here.

And now...
Contest Fun!

"Guess who's coming
to dinner?" 

Your favorite Coffeehouse 
Mystery character!

For the past eight years, the Coffeehouse readers have written to me about the characters they love (and hate)! Now it's time to put those opinions in writing and possibly win some lovely prizes for your effort. What prizes?

In Murder by Mocha, Clare Cosi travels to a candy and chocolate trade show to track down clues. While trolling the convention center aisles, she pauses at the booth of Valrhona (French gourmet chocolatiers) to indulge in a dark, little square of transcendent joy. Now that  joy can be yours, if you enter the contest.

The Prize: A “Grand Crus” Gift Box of 52 Fine Chocolate Tasting Squares (4 Flavors) Tanariva 33%, Taïnori 64%, Caraïbe 66%, and Guanaja 70%. The box includes the Tasting Wheel, a tool that helps lovers of fine chocolates eat with joy. :) To read more about this prize, click here.

Murder by Mocha
signed copies!

To learn more or buy
the book, click here
or here or here!

Gimme Coffee 
Cappuccino Cups, 
(Made in Italy) To see, click here.

HOW TO ENTER: Simply leave a comment on this blog** (any sort of comment) AND send an e-mail to with an answer to this question: 

If you could go to dinner with one of my Coffeehouse Mystery characters (other than Clare Cosi) who would it be and why? Remember, it cannot be Clare!

Would you choose Matt, Madame, Mike, Joy, Bree, Franco? One of the baristas? You can make your answer as long or as brief as you like. No right or wrong answer, just your opinion! 

One entry per person. Two winners will be chosen by random number generator--a grand prize (chocolate, signed book, and cup) and a runner up (signed book and cup). Contest Ends: Monday, September 26, 12 Midnight.

**NOTE: If you have trouble leaving a comment on this blog, then leave one on my Coffeehouse Mystery message board by clicking here.

EXTRA WAY TO WIN: For big fans of my series, listen up! If you elaborate on your answer, AND I choose to share it on my Web site, facebook page or on this blog, then a special "thank you" prize is coming your way, too! An adorable gimme coffee espresso cup and a signed book plate

How many of these winners will there be? That's up to you! I may select three or a dozen, depending on how enthusiastic you are with your answers. Prizes will be awarded throughout August, September, and October!

Just tell me more about why you like the character. Maybe share how my character would take you to dinner. Where, for example, would you eat? What would you eat? I hope you have fun with this. I know I will!  

Read with joy!  
~ Cleo

To learn more about Cleo's bestselling
mysteries, visit her online coffeehouse at,
where you can also get more of her recipes
and sign up for her newsletter.

**NOTE: If you have trouble leaving a comment on this blog, you can leave one on
Cleo's Coffeehouse Mystery message board
by clicking here.