Today – or sometime close to today is Robust Recipes’ 3rd birthday! I meeeeeaaaan how does this even happen? How have I been blogging for 3 years?! It’s gone so fast yet so slow at the same time (<–time is funny that way). More about blog birthdays in a minute, first let’s discuss CHOCOLATE!!!
I have made it a habit to celebrate my blog’s birthday with a little chocolate treat because we all know that it’s just another excuse for me to have more chocolate in my life – I’m not mad about it! Besides, who am I to mess with tradition. 1st birthday I made Grain Free Chocolate Cupcakes, they were loaded with shredded zucchini so it’s okay to eat more than one, right? 2nd birthday I made Dark Chocolate Brownies (GF + V), they were simple, quick easy and made with buckwheat for some healthy grain action. TODAY I bring you Almond Joy Black Bean Brownies!!!! Guys, they might just be my favorite birthday celebration recipe yet!
That’s right, these Almond Joy Black Bean Brownies are inspired after the candy bar. Sticky coconut covered chocolate with an almond for fun! The first layer is fudge-y, soft black bean brownies (BTW if you haven’t tried black bean brownies don’t be scared, they will rock your world!), the second layer is shredded coconut that is sticky and soft, and full of coconut-y goodness! The final layer is a soft chocolate ganache topped with a few raw almonds and some finishing salt for balance. Pure perfection if you ask me! Let me recap that for you: brownie, layered with sticky coconut, topped with chocolate ganache + almonds + sea salt! (<– need I say more?!)
I discovered black bean brownies when I first started the blog and instantly fell in love! Paul has requested a batch of some for his birthday dessert every year since since the first time I made them – they are that good! They are rich and fudge-y and decadent and a little bit heather than your average brownie. Best part is they are flour less, making then gluten free and are also vegan (<– this means you can lick all of the batter you want!) Because of those black beans these brownies are packed with fiber and protein! BROWNIE POWER! To make them all you do is add a can of rinsed black beans, cocoa powder, and a few other ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth! Then you lick the spatula clean (<- yes, it’s necessary) and bake the brownies!
When I originally came up with the idea for Almond Joy Black Bean Brownies I thought I would throw some chopped almonds and coconut chips into the batter and sprinkle some on top for good measure. BUT then I thought, why not take it to the next level and make a chewy coconut layer followed by a chocolate ganache layer and topped with almonds?!?! BEST decision EVER! I kind of had a hard time getting the coconut layer perfected, but third time is a charm and with 4 simple ingredients and a whiz of that food processor sticky, coconut almond joy layer was born! All you do is spread that coconut layer onto the cooled brownies and pop that coconut layer into the freezer for 10 minutes to harden up a little. (<– who wants homemade almond joy candy bars? Totally doable now!)
P.S. This recipe is brought to you by my Mother-in-law who generously and kindly has lent me her food processor until I receive my new new blade to replace the broken one (long story)! Shout out to family for helping to keep this blog running! Also I pretty much don’t know how to survive without a food processor in my life!
Okay moving on to the ganache layer. I will let you know that these Almond Joy Black Bean Brownies are super duper rich. Like all you need is a 1 inch square per serving and you are satisfied – don’t take the pictures as a serving size example, unless it’s been a rough day! My point is when I was developing this recipe I thought I could either do a little melted chocolate drizzled over the coconut and almond layer OR I could be bold and do a quick 3 ingredient (cocoa powder, agave nectar/maple syrup, and coconut oil) chocolate ganache layer. Obviously I chose the later – I have no regrets! That ganache layer is soft and the perfect contrast to the chewy brownie layer. Guys, although you could very easily swap out that ganache layer for some drizzled chocolate for a lighter option, let’s be real who doesn’t want that layer of ganache?! Besides, even though this brownie is decadent it’s all healthy fats for you – gotta love that coconut oil – so go ahead, indulge a little!
Now that you’ve had an Almond Joy Black Bean Brownie can we do a little celebration about the fact that Robust Recipes is 3 years old?! I have learned so many things from this blogging journey both personally and professionally. In 3 years I have published 331 posts – most of them recipes! Within 3 years I thought I would be a lot farther in my career than I am in some ways – yet I have come so much farther and accomplished so much more than I ever would have expected (funny how that works out). Anyways, I wanted to THANK YOU for reading my posts, sharing my recipes, and simply being here. I’m so thankful that I get to wake up every morning and do something I truly love and care about. If I could, I would give one of these brownies to each and every one of you as a thank you. Next best thing, I gave you a recipe so you can go make them whenever you want and share them with everyone you know! 😉
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, if you make it leave a comment and let me know. Snap a picture on Instagram and use the hashtag #robustrecipes so I can see your creations! Love!
- Black Bean Brownies
- 2.5 tablespoons ground flax seed + 6 tablespoons water
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed well
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- Coconut Layer
- 1½ cups unsweetened, shredded coconut (or flaked)
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup (maple syrup may turn the coconut dark in color)
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- Chocolate Ganache*
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup agave nectar (or maple syrup)
- ¼ + 2 tablespoons cup melted coconut oil
- 9 to 16 raw, whole almonds (this depends on how large your want your brownies to be and if you want each brownie to have an almond)
- course sea salt or maldon salt (optional)
- Make the Black Bean Brownies: Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9x9 baking dish with foil and grease the foil, set aside. Make the flax seed eggs by combining the flax seed meal and water in a small dish, allow to sit for 5 minutes while you prepare your other ingredients. Add the remainder of the ingredients into a food processor along with the flax seed eggs. Process the ingredients until smooth, scraping down sides as needed, about 3 minutes. Taste (it's vegan so it's fun to taste the batter) and adjust sweetness as needed. Remember that the coconut and ganache layer is really sweet so it's nice to keep the brownies a little less sweet to balance the other layers out.
- Bake the brownies: Transfer the brownie batter to the prepared pan. Use a spatula to smooth out the brownie batter into an even layer, then lick your spatula because VEGAN BROWNIE BATTER! Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is dry and the edges just begin to pull away from the pan. Don't over bake. Allow the brownies to completely cool (about 1 to 2 hours) before moving on to the next layers. Make sure to wash out your food processor and dry it in preparation for the coconut layer.
- Make the coconut layer: Once the brownies are cooled make the coconut layer by adding all of the ingredients to your clean and dried food processor. Pulse until the coconut becomes sticky and breaks down a little but still has a good amount of texture to it. Be careful not to over process the coconut otherwise it will release it's oils and begin making coconut butter, you just want the coconut to break down and everything to stick together. If you are using coconut flakes then you may need to pulse it a few more times to break the coconut flakes down more, however I do recommend shredded coconut.
- Spread the coconut layer onto the brownies: use a spatula to evenly spread the coconut layer to the edge of the brownies. Freeze for 10 minutes, or until the coconut layer is set, but not super hard.
- Make the ganache layer*: Once the coconut layer is done freezing whisk the cocoa powder, agave nectar, and melted coconut oil for the ganache in a medium sized mixing bowl until smooth. Pour the ganache onto the coconut layer and spread evenly to cover the coconut. Evenly space the almonds, giving each brownie one almond, gently press the almonds into the ganache. Sprinkle with course sea salt or maldon salt, if desired. Freeze for another 20 minutes, or until all the layers are fairly chilled.
- Cut the brownies: Remove the brownies from the pan by lifting the foil out of the pan. Use a large sharp knife to cut the brownies into desired sizes (I recommend cutting them into smaller pieces because these brownies are rich). Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Best served chilled as they start to melt a little as they sit at room temperature. These brownies also freeze really well. I like to freeze them individually on a baking try lined with parchment paper and then pop them all in a bag. That way I can pull one out when I have a craving. let them thaw out for 15 minutes before eating.
For more dramatic photos and because I am bad at eyeing spacial things I cut these brownies way larger than I would suggest the serving size to be. For the photo I cut mine into 9 large brownies but when I ate them I ended up triming them down to 16 to 18 brownies. Not all of my brownies ended up having an almond on top - I was okay with that.
Prep time does include hands on time with making the brownie batter and coconut layer and ganache, but it does not include hands off time (time for the brownie to cool and freezer time).
Black bean recipe adapted from myVegan Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies.
Coconut layer is adapted from Beaming Baker'sPaleo Almond Joy Recipe
Ganache layer is adapted from my Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Dessert Bars
Nutrition facts are calculated for 18 brownies. Again if you want a lighter brownie you can skip the ganache layer and sub it with drizzled, melted vegan chocolate. 🙂