Breakfast Brownies

As featured in the Huffington Post (July 2015; see #7).
As featured in the Huffington Post (Sept 2014; see #7).

Breakfast Brownies

Good morning to you, beautiful Breakfast Brownies.

What?! you ask with an interrobang … I thought we focused on healthy food here, with only occasional exceptions.

These brownies are, I assure you, healthy. NO butter, NO flour (or other lurking gluten) … and added protein and nutrients to boot. {Eh, 1.5 teaspoons of brown sugar per serving, and any chocolate chips that you add, but WHATEVER. These are awesome, and worth those few grams of sugar.} Yeah get ready for something deliciously different that you could eat all day and feel good about!

Breakfast Brownies-11On Friday, some colleagues and I took a stroll at lunch to a local farmer’s market. It is rare for a group of us to be at work and available on a summer Friday, and it was a beautiful day as we stood in line for pizza and kettle corn, olive oil, and soap (yeah, it just wasn’t a produce shopping kind of day for us). In honor of National Farmer’s Market Week, there was a back-to-school fest at our local market, marked by enormous balloon structures that looked like vegetables, and vendors serving healthy back-to-school treats available for sampling. One of the samples that caught my eye was a black bean and oat brownie; I grabbed a square and the accompanying recipe. Long story short, the brownie was fine – not too sweet, and a little chunky. If those chunks were chocolate chips, awesome, but I kept thinking maybe they were black beans. Less awesome. It tasted healthy. I looked at the recipe and was disappointed to see that it called for “1/2 honey.” Yes, “1/2 honey.” I assume it meant 1/2 cup, but I did not want to sacrifice that much delicious local raw honey on an experiment. This is the only type of experiment I am in to with chocolate:

Breakfast Brownies-12Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe.

So, to the internets I went. A Cooking Club gathering a few years ago was themed around antioxidants and cancer-fighting foods (Hostess: MS; Theme: Cancer-Fighting Ingredients; Date: 11.04.12). Black bean brownies had been on the menu, and they were a unique treat for us. Remembering this gathering, I realized there were probably a lot of recipe options from which to select and adapt.

And in what seemed like unrelated news at the time, but SPOILER ALERT, ended up being INTEGRAL and AMAZING, as I scanned my apartment for what food was available to cook this weekend my eye fell upon an avocado (SCORE!) that was probably a day or two past its prime (BOO!). {Note to self and readers – don’t forget to put avocados in the fridge to prolong their life!}

Breakfast Brownies-2Avocados in desserts are, apparently, a growing trend, and also apparently, delicious. So I set out to find a black bean brownie recipe with oats and avocados. The oats fell by the wayside as I honed in on this recipe, and magic was made in my food processor and oven. See: magic, pictured immediately below.

Breakfast Brownies-3I was a little worried about the aforementioned chunkiness, and I thought if I added some shredded coconut that it might mask any texture problems. But I also wanted to see what they would taste like without coconut. And I only had one can of black beans. PANIC. Er, panic that was easily resolved by putting half the batter into the pan, and then mixing coconut in to the rest. And I have to say that even though there was no problem with texture – the brownies were perfectly smooth – I preferred the coconut variety (which were also, as it turns out, pretty photogenic).

Breakfast Brownies-5I made a few adjustments to the recipe I found, and the result is a thick, rich, healthy treat that you can feel good about starting your day with. I am going to put a tupperware of these gems in my refrigerator at work for afternoon chocolate cravings. Oh yes, be sure to keep these brownies in the refrigerator! But don’t forget to have one (or four) right out of the oven. Use a high-quality cocoa powder (I used the Valrhona that Whole Foods sells in bulk) and a very ripe avocado.

Breakfast Brownies-4The batter will not spread once you put it in the pan, so how you put it in the oven is how it will come out. My coconut side did not encroach at all on the plain jane side – and the batter did not even reach into the corners of the pan (which ended up actually being helpful for removing them!).

Breakfast Brownies-7I hope you don’t mind that these Breakfast Brownies don’t taste “healthy.” Seriously, try to trick your significant other and kids, and let me know how it goes.

Breakfast Brownies-8

Breakfast Brownies-10 You, I shall call, “Breakfast.”

Breakfast Brownies-9I was recently reminded that my grandma Cookie would like nothing more for breakfast than a brownie and a mug of hot chocolate – I come by it honestly!

Breakfast Brownies
Serves: 16 2-inch squares
  • 1 egg + 2 egg whites
  • ½ of a large avocado - very ripe!
  • 1 t coconut oil
  • ⅔ c good-quality cocoa powder
  • ¼ t baking powder
  • ¼ t baking soda
  • ¼ t kosher salt
  • ½ t instant coffee
  • 2 t vanilla
  • ½ c light brown sugar
  • 15 oz can of black beans, sodium free, rinsed and drained
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips, plus more for topping {optional, but come on}
  • ½ c shredded coconut {this is the amount if you want entire batch of coconut - I used ¼ c for the half-coconut, half-plain version}, plus more for topping {optional}
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with coconut oil (I used it when in solid form, with a paper towel).
  3. Place all ingredients besides chocolate chips into food processor. Process until ingredients form a smooth batter, about 1 minute; stop and scrape down the sides and make sure everything is incorporated; process again.
  4. Empty the batter into a mixing bowl and stir in ⅓ cup chocolate chips, and coconut if using.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle with chocolate chips and coconut, if using.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the brownies look a little puffier and start to crack a bit.
  7. Cool pan completely. Cut into 16 squares, and keep whatever is not eaten after the day of baking in the refrigerator.
Use good quality cocoa powder!
Use extra-ripe avocado!
Process until completely smooth!

Adapted from:

Breakfast Brownies by My Utensil Crock


    • says

      Hi Lynn,

      I generally don’t provide nutrition information for my posts. I’m not a nutritionist and don’t have that type of information available, but feel free to use your favorite nutrition calculator! I know from my own internet searches that there are several free options available.

      If you know of a widget that provides a link to nutritional information, I’m all ears!

      I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  1. brianna says

    Hi! These look great but I’m allerguc to avocados. Do you know of anything that substitutes well? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Briana,
      Hmm… not offhand, but I will let you know if I find something! Maybe (MAYBE, I have not tried it!) applesauce? I will take a spin on that in the near future.

        • says

          Yeah I am not sure there is a substitute for the avocado for this particular recipe – but they are not in all black bean brownies so I will keep my eye out for something for Briana. Thanks for the comment!

    • says

      Hi Jenna! I have never had any left over to freeze, but it’s a great question. I will make a batch this weekend and freeze them, and let you know when I attempt the thaw!

    • says

      Hi Jenna!

      I am reporting back. I froze a batch on October 20 and was thrilled to find them today. I tried three methods and here are the results:

      1. I let some come to room temperature sitting on the counter. These were great – just like they hadn’t been frozen.
      2. I microwaved two for 15 seconds at full power. This made the consistency a little weird, but the taste was fine, and I will never complain about melted chocolate chips!
      3. I microwaved two for 30 seconds at half power. Exactly the same results as microwaving for 15 seconds at full power (including the melty chips).

      Let me know if you have different results!

  2. Marcia says

    These look awesome! Definitely will give it a try. Have you tried reheating in the microwave? Curious how that turned out . . .

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