The Brownie That Broke My Heart…

20 Aug

The Pityless, Gluten-Free, Black Bean Brownie: She’ll tear your heart out and leave ya’ cryin’…

Let me begin by saying that I wanted this to be good. Really good. And for some odd reason, I expected it to be.

After hearing about these mysterious bars from all  whispered corners of the low-carb and gluten-free worlds, it had to be good. It had to be dynamite. And after building myself up over time to finally whip up a batch, it OWED me that.

Alas, in the spirit of keeping this blog honest, no matter what, I hereby give you the biggest, nastiest Red Kitchen flop of the year. In fact, perhaps I should invent an award for its superlative yuck factor: “Ladies and gentlemen, the 2010 Yucky goes to…Black Bean Brownies!” [Cue applause and Marvin Hamlisch music and someone handing out little statues of gold men holding their stomachs and retching.]

I think these were invented by the Marquis de Sade.

For those who have never heard of the Black Bean Brownie, it’s basically a gluten-free recipe in which you replace the flour and water with a can of drained, rinsed black beans (the plain kind, not seasoned!).

Remind me again why I thought this seemed like a good idea? Oh, right. Because other people claimed it worked. People who are probably laughing at me right this very second.

The Premise:

You put all but the topping ingredients (beans, sugar, cocoa, eggs, salt, vanilla, baking powder and instant coffee) into the blender at the same time and then puree until smooth.

Pour it into an 8×8 pan, top with chocolate chips and nuts, bake at 350 for half an hour and voila! Lovely, no-flour brownies!

The Reality:

In retrospect, this more resembles one of those "instant hangover cures" the macho asshat character is always waking up and drinking in every fratboy/beer/jock movie I've ever seen.

The batter came out really thin and smooth (abnormal for standard gooey brownie batter). It almost looked like a super-dark milkshake.

It transferred beautifully, topped well, and baked to a most gloriously even puff and height with my addition of baking powder, which I can scarcely live without in any recipe. 🙂 But oh, the taste…the taste…the HORRIBLE TASTE!


Seriously, though, this was the absolute most ATTRACTIVE brownie I’ve ever made. I think that’s what made its glorious suckage in the flavor department so hard to bear in the end. It just wasn’t fair.

They came out of the oven looking all decadent and luscious. Simply gorgeous. The texture was phenomenal, with the perfect slightly-sticky top, and not a bit of that burnt-edges-with-uncooked-center yuckiness you get with most regular homemade brownies.

Honestly, they looked as if they had come from one of those photo spreads in Country Living and Martha Stewart Living where you say, “Yeah, right, those are homemade. And so is this can of Diet Coke I’m drinking.”

Baked up so perfectly. Sliced so evenly.

But then came the first bite. And no following bites. It was truthfully that bad. Not sweet. Not chocolatey. Not really anything other than a vague, non-descript grossness and almost total lack of flavor.

So now I know. Black bean brownies = nasty-ass idea thought up by someone who probably was born with a congenital lack of taste buds.

Evil: It's what's for dinner.


And now you know, too.

You’re welcome.



13 Responses to “The Brownie That Broke My Heart…”

  1. Editor August 20, 2010 at 3:33 PM #

    I wonder if you doubled up on the sugar, cocoa and vanilla if the taste would be better. Oh, but then you’d have a gluten-free but diabetic-coma inducing brownie. Or maybe add beano to the batter…

  2. Mom August 20, 2010 at 3:37 PM #

    Bring me one and let me try it. Disasters can usually be fixed, somehow, or at least mitigated.

  3. Geni August 20, 2010 at 3:45 PM #

    I am having a really boring day at the office and have sneaked a peek at your blog…stopped by due to tag surfing and am so loving it! 🙂 You are witty and hilarious! Thanks for this awesome yucky post. I am a fairly new blogger and love new visitors if you have the time to stop by.

  4. Gracie August 20, 2010 at 4:02 PM #

    Geoff gave me “The Look” until I threw them in the garbage, Mom, so there aren’t any to share. (Although, I did sneak some to Jamie before they got pitched and he ate two, but seriously, they were terrible, Mom. He would eat anything if you told him it was a treat, just like West Siders and the infamous homemade ice cream…)

    I did wonder if I needed to add more sugar but frankly, I don’t think that would have done the trick. It would have taken a LOT of extra sugar to counter the excess cocoa powder and the texture would have suffered bigtime as a result. They were just very, very, very bad. And beautiful, all at once. Lousy bastards.

  5. Rheannon August 20, 2010 at 5:04 PM #

    They do look beautiful, but I think that it must have been a snipe wrangler who told you about these. Black beans in brownies? And I can’t believe your child ate 2. But he’s probably still in the booger eating age group so we can’t go by his tastes. 🙂

    • Gracie August 20, 2010 at 8:20 PM #

      Hey, I’m just thrilled I managed to sneak two servings of beans into that kid! His body won’t know what do with real nutrition! And he doesn’t eat boogers; he’s too busy running around showing them off. He’s more of a sip-bath-water-when-Mom’s-not-looking kind of kid.

  6. Becky August 22, 2010 at 9:47 PM #

    That is hilarious! People keep raving about these, but I can’t begin to imagine how they could be any good. I’m so glad you found out for me! LOL!

  7. Gracie August 25, 2010 at 9:18 AM #

    This war isn’t over yet. I’m going to try again. There MUST be something to this rumor that I am missing!

  8. Carmen August 25, 2010 at 6:26 PM #

    I just came across your site today. I’m glad I did. Recently saw this recipe and was a little curious (although I’m a tried and true chocolate fan so the chances I’d actually bake these were slim). They look absolutely delicious—dark, chocolately, moist. Must have been a shock to your tastebuds! Glad to know to not give that recipe even a second thought.

  9. redforkhippie August 26, 2010 at 1:37 AM #

    Grace, you have to add the contents of a dimebag to the batter just before baking. Everybody knows that. How do you think carob made it out of the ’70s? Its survival can only be attributed to the fact that every known carob recipe involves copious amounts of ganja butter.

  10. redforkhippie August 26, 2010 at 1:39 AM #

    P.S.: “Asshat” is the best word in the English language.

  11. Tawny @The Year of The Cookie September 16, 2010 at 11:43 PM #

    sad.. did you really have to post a picture though? cuz they look really good!

  12. Casey September 21, 2010 at 10:39 AM #

    I had a similar experience with mixing pureed pumpkin and brownie mix. I heard RAVE reviews on hungrygirl and through friends. It was a disgusting, gritty, mess. *Shudders*

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