Monday, December 27, 2010

1-carb brownies

The above brownie has 1 net carb and 69 calories. It's moist and fudgy and not dry at all. The secret? No flour, just a blender and some black soy beans.

If you're clutching your pearls over my use of soy, hear me out for a second. I do agree that the phytoestrogen content of soy does merit some cause for alarm. However, I also think that it is fine in moderation. I think that the issues with soy are largely due to massive consumption in forms such as soybean oil (yes, "vegetable oil" is often soybean oil) and processed food products that use soy isolate or similar for texture and/or a meaty taste. We often don't realize how much soy we consume because it is so ubiquitous. For example, In The End of Overeating, the author lists the ingredients in a freaking chicken breast at Chilis, which includes autolyzed yeast extract, sodium phosphate, and soy protein concentrate. My conclusion isn't exactly scientific, but this is what works for me: I think that if we primarily cook our own food using whole ingredients, we end up cutting a lot of excess soy out of our diets, and thus I try to stick with the whole bean or fermented products like tamari. Call me crazy, but I don't believe that the problem is that Americans eat too many canned soybeans or steamed edamame. If you would still rather avoid soy, you can substitute regular black beans. This will bump up the carb count to 3 net carbs per brownie rather than 1 (still not bad!).

I've experimented with this recipe quite a bit. I've found that the small amount of real butter is truly essential for flavor and texture. I've tried both whole eggs and Eggbeaters/egg whites and I couldn't detect a difference, so I use whites only to keep the total calorie count down.

Makes 16 2"x2" square brownies

  • 1 can black soy beans or regular black beans (preferably unsalted), drained and rinsed
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted (or use 3 Tbs oil of choice)
  • 6 egg whites or 3/4 cup egg substitute or liquid egg whites
  • 3/4 cup stevia or Splenda
  • 1/4 cup good-quality cocoa powder (I like Hershey's Special Dark or Green & Black)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp instant coffee or espresso grinds (don't skip this; even if you don't like coffee the taste is very mild but it covers up any "beany" taste)
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Optional: toppings such as 1-2 Tbs cacao nibs (pictured), 1/4 cup 85%+ dark chocolate cut into chunks, 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, etc
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 pan or spray with Baker's Joy 
  2. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. You may have to scrape down the sides and stir the batter several times.
  3. Scrape the batter into the greased pan. Sprinkle with any of the optional toppings. Bake 30 minutes or until the center is relatively dry and the brownies pull away from the sides of the pan. Cut into 16 squares. Chill overnight in the fridge; after a day or so the chocolate flavor intensifies and the brownies taste less "beany".


Christina @ ilovefetacheese said...

Looks great! Would you use stevia in the raw for this? That would be a lot of the concentrated stevia powder. Thanks!

Erica said...

Yep, I've made it with stevia in the raw :) For concentrated stevia extract I'd just do whatever the equivalent of 3/4 cup sugar is for that brand.

Trixie said...

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!!
Quick question for you..since I'm always learning and keep an open mind..what is your take on sweeteners? I ask because while I know our goal is to keep sugar you feel some are better then others (honey better then stevia etc). I have found on my weight loss journey sugar only makes me want more. Have you had that experience??
How do these sweeteners effect you?

Kimberly Rae said...

I have to give this a try... I wonder thought... if you could sub applesauce for the oil????

might have to experiment... brownies made w/beans...

Erica said...

@Trixie: I think it's one of those things that really varies from person to person. It's a good idea to limit sweeteners of ANY kind (natural or artificial). For some people, artificial sweeteners only make their sugar cravings worse, other people are fine using it in the occasional treat. I definitely do not believe that natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or even dates are any better than sugar, though.

@Kimberly: Not sure about applesauce, but I think that you could substitute Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream for the butter or oil. The result would be slightly drier, of course.

Trixie said...

Thanks for answering Erica. I do agree with you, sugar is sugar. However I did find I'm better off with eating 2 small squares of dark chocolate vs 2pcs with artificial sweetener. I find the artificial sweetened one actually makes me want more.

april said...

I made these last night- very yummy!! I even tricked my family- they never knew they were made with beans :D

Erica said...

April, I'm glad you enjoyed them!

melissadishes said...

Do you know what the fat comes out to as well?

thefitwriter said...

Hi! I'll be making these with dried beans (soaked & cooked of course) so can you tell me what weight beans you used?

Thanks! Nic

Erica said...

@melissadishes: There are roughly 4 grams of fat.

@thefitwriter: I used a 15 oz can. I would estimate that there's about a heaping cup of beans in there.

thefitwriter said...

Thank you! These are so on my radar for next weekend's baking :)

Erica said...

thefitwriter, let me know how you like them!

Anonymous said...

Made these last night with carob powder instead of cocoa (chocolate allergy) and topped with chopped pecans. They are out of this world. I thought I'd never get to eat brownies again, so thanks for the great recipe.

sydney.smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sydney Smith said...

I made these but I was a little scared since I am not a fan of beans. I LOVE the brownies though! A few of my friends thought they taste a bit "strange" but still good, I think they only thought them strange because they knew the brownies had to have some healthy side to them if I was eating them! I personally loved them just as much as "real" brownies.

Erica said...

@Sydney: I'm glad they worked out for you!

Anonymous said...

Will these work with liquid stevia? Not sure how much I should use if I do try.

Erica said...

@Anon, they would definitely work with liquid stevia. The bottle should say how to measure the equivalent amount.

Trixie said... the 69 calories include the additional toppings?

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I've made these a few times now. My daughter is a huge fan, and now my mother has tried them and is also a convert, even though she wants nothing to do with low-carb.
I make them using Swerve as the sweetener. Very yummy.
Thanks for a great post.

Clara Tan said...

I find it a waste of wasting the yolks. So is there any way I can use the yolks and not affect the texture of these brownies? 6 yolks :<

Unknown said...

So yummy! Love it! Thanks for the recipe!
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