Birds of a Feather. In Iowa. Eating Black Bean Brownies.

February 4th, 2012 | Posted by Alison Spath in Short or Sweet

I have just returned from Iowa! Did ya miss me? Did ya happen to see a 5 month pregnant woman running through the Atlanta airport last night in an effort to catch her connecting flight back to New York on time?

If you did, let’s just pretend that wasn’t me.

No, instead let’s chat about Iowa! I was invited to speak at a conference called Women Blazing Trails for the non-profit group, Iowa Women in Natural Resources at the Springbrook Conservation Center in Guthrie Center, Iowa.

I was one of the presenters at their conference, but I also got to be a conference attendee. Over the course of the last two days I learned a lot about the women who work in natural resources and conservation, plus some cool outdoor survival skills (including how to start a fire with an aluminum can and a bar of chocolate! Really!)

I also thoroughly enjoyed the Bird Banding presentation.

Stupid Face


(Be sure to notice the American Goldfinch in my hand, K?)

My presentation was on Healthy Living and I was pleased with how it went.  I must give a huge THANKS to all my fabulous new friends at IWINR and how incredibly warm and welcoming they were despite any stupid faces I surely made during our time together.

Among other things, my talk about living a healthier life included a few of our favorite things to eat around here.  Green smoothies, kale chips and banana whip – plus one recipe I realized I haven’t shared on the blog yet –

Black Bean Brownie Ingredients

Black Bean Brownies!

Much like White Bean Blondies, black bean brownies are a treat with a sneaky helping of extra fiber, protein, B vitamins and iron to go along with a dose of chocolate and sugar.

(That is of course when you’re not using your chocolate to keep yourself warm out in the woods with a gang of American Goldfinches who laugh hysterically every time you bug your eyes out. Birds are real suckers for cheap jokes.)

To make Black Bean Brownies you’ll need:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or about 1 cup of prepared, dried black beans)
1/2 c of water
1 c flour
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 c canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sugar (or sweetener of choice)
1/2 c chocolate chips or 1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

If you puree those beans up nice and smooth in your blender or food processor,

Black Bean Puree for Black Bean Brownies

I promise they’ll go completely unnoticed by your children, picky adults and any small birds you might be feeding.

Black Bean Brownie Batter

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Puree beans and water in food processor or blender until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Stir in bean puree with dry ingredients, eggs and wet ingredients and mix well. Once well combined, fold in chocolate chips or nuts if you’re including them.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes in a greased 8 x 8 pan. They’re done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out completely clean.

Black Bean Brownies

Now go make some brownies and if you ever find yourself in Iowa, look for a Goldfinch with the Band ID LK59001, say Hi! to all of the amazing women who make up Iowa Women in Natural Resources and try to avoid the Atlanta airport if you can.

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12 Responses

  • brittney says:

    i’ve had these before, but never made them. i’m confused- are the chocolate chips optional or just the walnuts? i would like to make these as sugar free as i can. thanks! i’m excited for an excuse to eat brownies… they’re healthy!

  • Pingback: I think Zak is going to have to bring me one of these.

  • Aunt Tee says:

    Sounds like everything went great! I can’t wait to hear all the details and to make me some of dem BEAN BROWNIES!

  • Jane says:

    That’s awesome that you got to speak at that conference! And who knew you could start a fire with an aluminum can and a chocolate bar?!?!? But.. what happens if it is dark outside? hmmmmm

  • Carson says:

    If you’re interested in volunteering, there are a few bird banding stations nearby like Braddock Bay Bird Observatory. (I think you live in this area? Maybe I’m crazy. I took a bird banding course there a couple years ago through my college.)

  • Lisa says:

    I’ve never made black bean brownies…but I do like the idea of them!
    Glad you had a good trip–sounds like a fun experience!

  • Cindy says:

    you are too adorable!
    I can’ t believe you are holding a little finch!

    so I’ve never made black bean brownies…I’m kinda really scared to try them.

    no idea why, I make sneaky foods all the time but I’m afraid the brownie is going to need some taco sauce or something!


    I need to try these!

  • Holly says:

    i am so pissed…i opened my reader to find i had three new posts of yours, but then as i scrolled through your reader, i realized i had about THIRTY posts that i missed, and now i just spent the last 30 minutes at work learning YOU’RE PREGNANT (yayyy! congratulations!), you’ve been making some seriously delicious looking meals, i need to make a grilled cheese and pickle sandwich like now, you spoke at a conference (!!!), and that life seems to be treating you well.

    thank you for your lovely wit, your lovely recipes and just being awesome.

    i hope to be just like you when i am a mom.

    love ya,

    p.s. i am still determined the make bean blondies based off of your recipe if its the last thing i do!!!

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