Black Bean Brownies

By Michell Janah, Pastry Chef at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma

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In Bake it Better, Michell Janah, pastry chef at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® in Tulsa, Oklahoma, describes some of her tried-and-true methods for making healthy substitutions while baking. Michell says that her original brownie recipe had more than twice the sugar of this revised version. In addition to reducing the sugar, she boosted protein and fiber by adding the black bean purée and flaxseed meal. The thick, fudgy frosting adds a decadent finish—and a healthier one, thanks to the low-fat cream cheese and maple sugar, which, according to Michell, has a much lower sugar count than traditional refined white sugar. The result: a treat that is both decadent and nutritious, making it a top pick at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Yields 36 small brownies


½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar or maple sugar
1 cup black bean purée (rinse and drain black beans before puréeing)
4 eggs
½ cup organic unrefined white flour
¼ cup ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder


Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Mix cocoa powder, butter, sugar, and black bean purée. Add eggs until combined into mixture. Sift dry ingredients together and stir into mixture. Spread into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until set.