I’ve been craving some serious chocolate lately, and the only thing that does the trick is the super dark stuff. I was inspired, as per usual by Sarah of mynewroots.org and her black bean chocolate chili cherry cookies. I was first drawn to make these realizing I had everything necessary already in my kitchen to whip them up, and typically always do. Cocoa, black beans, maple syrup and nuts/chocolate/baking add ins are always available in my house. I’m loving experimenting baking with beans and seeing how different combinations with the protein and fiber packed legume lead to different baked good textures. These are super rich whilst being satisfying; the balance of chew from the cherries with the crunch of the pecans and deep fudgey richness of the cocoa rounded out by the taste bud warming spices and earthiness of the coffee make these treats super excitingly indulgent, healthy style. These are dense and give the sensation of one of a brownie vs. a crispy/chewy kind of cookie.
I am attached to the notion of having my meals, snacks, and even sweet treats needing to contribute something to my health and nutrition for the day. I feel that it is important for our emotional as well as physical health to have what we choose to nourish ourselves with be enjoyable and craving crushing yet beneficial for our bodies. On that note, these treats contain a number of superfood qualities. Black beans, cocoa (bonus points for using extra dark or even better, raw cacao), cinnamon, cayenne, chia seeds, and dark unsulfured cherries all achieve high values on the ORAC scale (standing for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). It is believed that foods with high ORAC values will more effectively neutralize free radicals in the body, so all the better for consuming these cookies!
Black beans & chia seeds are also great for their fiber and protein profile, which together can help balance out blood sugar levels & suppress cravings amongst a number of other health benefits. It never ceases to amaze me to learn about what different foods can do for our bodies and even more interesting how certain combinations of foods can lend even greater health effects than if we were to consume them alone.
Makes 12 cookies, 2″ across
1 ½ cups black beans (or one 15 oz. can)
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tbs. almond flour (optional)
1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder
1/3 cup maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
2 Tbsp. chia seeds (ground flax seed or 2 eggs can substitute this)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup chopped dark chocolate
¼ cup chopped dried cherries
¼ cup chopped pecans
1/ Preheat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2/ Rinse and drain black beans very well. Combine maple syrup, chia seeds and vanilla in a bowl and set aside. Add beans, coconut oil, cocoa powder, almond flour, salt, cinnamon, coffee powder and cayenne to food processor.
3/ Pulse the beans with the dry and wet ingredients until a smooth batter forms; it will seem thin but this is to be expected. Remove the blade from processor and stir in by hand the chopped pecans, chocolate, and cherries.
4/ Spoon batter onto parchment lined baking sheet and flatten/shape with the back of a spoon or knife as the cookies will not spread or rise during baking. Bake for about 15 minutes until edges are firm and a slight crackle forms on top. Let cool and eat-store remaining cookies in the fridge for best results. I sprinkled mine with a little course sea salt and paprika for some salty-sweet contrast!