Cacao Mini Brownies

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Beans are magical in more ways than one, making the healthy brownie-like bite possible. In this grain-free recipe, beans replace flour, with their bean “essence” camouflaged with pure vanilla and heart-healthy raw cacao. Sugar is mostly replaced by much more blood sugar-friendly dates. The result is a firm outside encasing a moist, dense and rich chocolate pudding-like texture inside. Only slightly sweet, with a hint of caramel notes, this is an adult-style brownie with a touch of bitter to enhance digestion. Think flourless chocolate cake, but healthier and antioxidant rich.


  • 2 cups cooked beans, or 1 (15-ounce) can, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup ghee or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules (regular or decaffeinated)
  • 20 Medjool dates, pits removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup date sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped, 1/4 cup reserved for topping
  • More topping ideas: Flaked sea salt; dark chocolate, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease 3 (12-cup) miniature muffin pans.

Process the beans in a food processor, then add ground flaxseed, egg, ghee, vanilla extract and instant coffee. Process again until smooth. Add the chopped dates and pulse several times until the batter has an even consistency.

In a separate bowl, combine the cacao, sugar, baking powder and sea salt and stir to mix evenly.

Add the dry ingredients to the bean mixture and process until well combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Finally, add in the cacao nibs and ¾ cup of the chopped walnuts. Pulse several times to incorporate. If needed, add water, a teaspoon at a time, and blend until smooth. It should look like thick brownie batter.

Fill each muffin cup with a heaping 2 tablespoons batter. If needed, even out the top with a wet spatula. These brownies will not puff up and even out like most baked goods.

Sprinkle with walnuts, pushing the pieces slightly into the top of the brownie. Add other toppings, as desired.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is firm and the edges have pulled away slightly from the sides.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for a soft and gooey center. If you prefer a firmer texture, turn off the oven and let the baked muffins sit in the oven to cool.

When the brownies are completely cool, gently remove them from the muffin tin. Stored in an airtight container, these will keep for several days or up to a week, if refrigerated. They also freeze well.

Copyright 2019, M. Evezich, Original recipe


Special notes:

Beans: Use almost any well-cooked bean for this recipe, such as black, cannellini, chickpeas or great northern beans

Dates: Ideally, dates should be moist. If they feel hard, cover them with warm water for 15 minutes, then drain thoroughly to partially reconstitute.

Customize! Part of the fun of these brownies is customizing the tops. Simply adorned with chopped walnuts, these are a perfect morning grab and go. Small, but dense and filling, one brownie staves off hunger for hours. Or, dress up the tops with chopped dark chocolate and suddenly it’s dessert time. Or, perhaps flakes of sea salt?

Equipment: A 1-ounce scoop works well for filling the mini tins with batter. If you don’t have mini-muffin tin, use a standard-size muffin pan, filing each slot about 1-inch full.


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