Q: Dear Protein Chef, do you have a recipe for protein brownies? Every time I make them they turn out really dry. I just know there must be a better way! Thanks!
Who can resist a chocolaty, gooey brownie? Indulging in one square once in a while is fine, but if you satisfy that sweet tooth on a regular basis, and you're bound to wreck your diet.
Still, swapping flour and sugar for protein powder isn't always easy.
How many of you have made a protein cake only to end up with a dry, rubbery, unpalatable, and tragic excuse for dessert? I know I have. In my early career as a protein chef, this happened a lot! So I started experimenting with ways to make my protein cakes like "real" cakes—moist, soft, flavorful, and, nom nom nom, delicious. I didn't want people to say, "This is great for a protein cake." I wanted them to say "This is great!"
- The Roots: sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and beets.
- The Dairies: cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and cream cheese.
- The Beans: black beans, butter beans, and adzuki beans.
This recipe packs in the protein and flavors with the help of a little something extra from your pantry: black beans, an ingredient you might have not associated with desserts and never thought to put in brownies.
Now, before you think me a loon and click through to another page, hear me out. Black beans are fantastic for baking. Why? They add moisture, which is essential when you're after a batch of low-fat, sugar-free, gluten-free, protein-rich brownies.
I arrived at three great "moisturizing families," families of ingredients that, when added to protein foods, get rid of dryness and yield a great texture and consistency. These are roots, dairies, and beans.
Beans, especially black beans, work beautifully in chocolate protein cakes (and even protein ice cream) because, for some strange very strange reason, they seem to complement cocoa really well. Plus, their color blends in perfectly.
Before you start to worry about muddling flavors, rest assured, you can't taste them at all! Otherwise, as an impassioned lover of brownies and all things chocolate, I never would have suggested you use them. The beans also secretly impart the brownies with great body—and a lot of fiber, too!
Below is a recipe to get you started baking with black beans! I've included several variations below so you can adjust your brownies to match your flavor and ingredient preferences. Enjoy!
There are several variations you can make to this recipe:
- If you don't want to try the black beans, feel free to substitute them with any of the other moisturizers mentioned above. Bear in mind, though, if you use pumpkin puree or cooked sweet potato, you'll probably want to add a bit more coconut flour to thicken your batter (a tablespoon or two should do the job).
- If you like your brownies extra chocolatey and sweet, add either 1/4 cup of Walden Farms' calorie-free chocolate sauce to the mix, or 1/8 cup of Splenda and 1/8 cup of extra cocoa powder.
- If you want to substitute for the coconut flour, you can. Try ground oats, or a combo of ground oats and ground almonds. You'll probably want to add a lot more than 3 tbsp of either of them to thicken the batter though, so just eyeball it and add enough until your batter looks like, well, brownie batter.
- If you want to add an extra element of oomph to the brownies, throw some chopped nuts or dark chocolate chips into the batter before for you bake it!