Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Wow, I can't believe I've only posted four times this month.  Time just flew on by.  The lack of trick-or-treaters at my door is enabling me to write this post right now, or else I'm not sure I'd even have time to do this.  Who would have thought that living right outside of a military instillation would leave me with a limited amount of trick-or-treaters?  Now I have about 100 pieces of candy left... ugh.  Maybe I'll give the next child all of them?  It'll be like winning the candy lottery.  Boy, would their parents be pissed, or what?

The dessert I made the other night was like winning the dessert lottery.  In deliciousness.  (Wow.  I'm lame...and the fact that I'm cracking myself up over my last comment makes me all the more lame.)  I digress.  This dessert was awesome.  I've heard of black bean brownies and I've also heard some horrible reviews about them as well, ie: being "gritty", having the black bean flavor, etc.  So... I thought maybe if I'd mix something else with them, it would mask that so-called black bean texture/flavor.  The goal was to make this for a party that both adults & children would enjoy.  Easy.  I thought of cheesecake.  And I needed to make it fall-themed.  Easy again.  Pumpkin flavored.  Now, to combine these three flavors into a masterpiece that everyone would enjoy. Can I say easy again?  I won the best dessert prize and took a second batch to work the following day where my employees raved about them and my boss asked me to make 4 batches for an up-coming fundraiser.  This is definitely a winner in my book (and apparently everyone else's as well).

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirled Black Bean Brownies
(brownie base adapted slightly from

serves 16

- one 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1/2 c Hershey's Special Dark cocoa (the dark flavor masks the black beans extremely well)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tsp for the cheesecake mixture
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 oz nuefchatel (room temp)
- 3/4 c pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line an 8x8 baking dish with foil.  Set aside.

Place the black beans into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.  Add 3 of the eggs, the olive oil, sugar, cocoa, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and the baking powder.  Process until the mixture is smooth.  Add the chocolate chips and pulse until incorporated.  Pour the brownie batter into your prepared baking dish.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the neufchatel, pumpkin, egg, maple syrup, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice until creamy. (I added some orange food coloring because the fall party was so close to Halloween, and the brownies are so dark they look black - so it was a good black+orange combo.  You can definitely leave the food coloring out.)  Scoop spoonfuls of the pumpkin cheesecake mixture onto the brownie mixture.  Take a butter knife and swirl the two mixtures together. 

Bake for 35 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the pan.  Cool in the pan for about an hour and then remove from the pan by lifting with the foil and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Slice into 16 pieces.

NOTE:  Just because these are made with black beans, does not make this dessert "healthy".  There is still a lot of sugar in these and they should be eaten sparingly.  On that note, I am going to attempt to make a version without sugar, oil, or eggs.  We'll see how that goes.  In the meantime, enjoy this version.


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