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Black Bean Cookies (Dark Chocolate Cookies)

February 9, 2010
Dark Chocolate Cookies with Black Beans

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Black Beans

I had a need (yes a real need) for chocolate the other day, so I made a batch of Dark Chocolate Cookies.  This recipe is a perfect for a chocolate fix – just in time for Valentines Day!  They don’t have the typical amount of fat and sugar in many cookie recipes.  The secret ingredient?  One 15oz. can of black beans. Make your little sweeties (or your big sweetie) a batch.  And if you don’t have a sweetie – make yourself a batch.  It’s his/her loss!

Here are the cookie highlights:

  • A light texture – this is likely due to the gluten free white rice flour.
  • Not overly sweet.  However feel free to adjust the sugar content to your liking.
  • This cookie recipe appears to be gluten free.  I’m not a gluten free baker, so please be sure to check the ingredients for your needs.
  • Easily made vegan.

Dark Chocolate Cookies
Recipe by Striving Bean

Makes 3 dozen (36) cookies
Store these in the refrigerator since they contain beans.

One  15 oz. can of low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed well
1/4 cup vanilla soy milk (I used soy milk, but you can also try 1% milk)
1 cup canned pumpkin

2 cups white rice flour  (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free White Rice flour)
3/4 teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) salt

1/2 cup (0.5 cup) of sugar (optional – some additional Tablespoons of sugar for sprinkling on top)
1/4 cup (0.25 cup) brown sugar (firmly packed)
3 Tablespoons Smart Balance Buttery Spread, melted (I used Smart Balance, but you could try butter or Earth Balance)
1/2 cup (0.5 cup) unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup bittersweet (or dark chocolate) chocolate chips [plus optional additional 1/3 cup (0.33 cup) for topping – I highly recommend]

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Mix beans in food processor with soy milk, until fairly smooth.

pureed beans and soy milk

Pureed Beans and Soy Milk

3.  Remove bean mixture from food processor, and place in bowl. Add 1 cup canned pumpkin and mix well (can do this in food processor if needed).

4. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients: rice flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.  (It’s important to mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, so the baking soda & baking powder can be evenly distributed.  This helps the cookies rise)

5. Cream sugars and melted Smart Balance. Add applesauce and vanilla extract.  Gently mix together.

6.  Add black bean puree and cocoa powder to sugar mixture. Gently mix together.

7.  Fold in dry ingredients into the chocolate/sugar/black bean mixture.  Add 1 cup dark chocolate chips. It is easier if you add small portions of dry ingredients and dark chocolate chips a bit at a time.  Mix until just incorporated.

8.  Drop a large spoonful per cookie on parchment lined baking sheets.  Press 2 additional dark chocolate chips on top of each cookie. (optional, but recommended)

9. Sprinkle additional sugar on top (optional)

10. Bake at 375 F for about 9 to 11 minutes.  Cool 5 to 10 minutes.  Transfer to cooking rack with a spatula.  Cool completely on rack.


Chef’s Notes

  • Bittersweet (dark) chocolate chips are very key to this recipe. I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips.    Dark chocolate heightens chocolate flavor more than milk chocolate chips.
  • This cookie recipe can easily be made vegan by using vegan dark chocolate chips and Earth Balance Naturally Buttery Spread (I did not test, but it seems like it should work fine)
  • I used a lower sodium canned black bean.  If you choose to use regular canned black beans, you may want to skip the 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) salt.
  • Since you’ll be storing these cookies in fridge, warm in microwave 7 seconds on high.  If storing in freezer, warm in microwave 15 seconds on high.
  • If you choose to use all-purpose flour (since some readers may not have access to white rice flour), my best guess is the texture will not be as delicate.  But I think it’s still worth to experiment with all-purpose flour.
  • If you are not using canned black beans, 1 and 2/3 cups  (1.66 cups) cooked beans is the same amount as a 15 oz can.
  • I stored extra cookies in the freezer by wrapping individually, then placing in a freezer safe container.

Our family weighs in:

  • Son loved them – he even knew about the beans.
  • Daughter really loved them and asked for one in her lunch.  This surprised me since she knew about the beans.
  • Husband liked them, but thought they could use more sugar.
  • I love the intense chocolate taste.
Plated Cookies

Cookies on a Plate

What do you think about beans and chocolate?

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2010 10:00 pm

    I made a gluten free black bean brownie a while back (recipe on my blog) and just loved it. Now that I’m no longer eating most sweeteners, I concocted a black bean-chocolate-stevia mixture that’s kind of like a frosting/fudge and I really enjoy that, too. So I guess I like beans and chocolate! These cookies sound fantastic–I would think the pumpkin adds a great moistness and density that would be very brownie-like.

  2. February 10, 2010 7:35 am

    Wow, I’ve had black beans in brownies before, but never in cookies. And with pumpkin too? These sound and look too intriguing to pass up. I definitely want to give them a try.

  3. Vanessa Bright permalink
    February 10, 2010 2:35 pm

    I always thought that chocolate is the answer to all questions – even if beens are the part of the recipe. Black beans and dark chocolate should be perfect together! 😉

  4. February 10, 2010 9:48 pm

    Hi all: I couldn’t taste the pumpkin at all. It looks like black beans + dark chocolate + pumpkin + applesauce = yum!

  5. February 11, 2010 12:59 pm

    Well, you know how I feel about beans in cookies. But these do look tasty. Those big gobs of chocolate on top don’t hurt. You know what you’re doing with this one. 🙂

    • February 11, 2010 2:36 pm

      Hi Cindy – Yes, it does seem hard to go wrong with chocolate cookies. Even black beans can’t ruin them (hee hee!)

  6. February 11, 2010 10:21 pm

    I’ve heard about using black beans in sweets before, but now I’m really tempted to try it! Thanks!

    • February 11, 2010 10:27 pm

      Hi Kat – it’s fun to see what you can do with black beans and sweets. I’ve also made black bean brownies (Almond Beany Brownies) and that recipe is on my site too. Experiment and enjoy! 🙂

  7. Amber permalink
    May 18, 2010 8:53 am

    Have you ever tried these with brown rice? Would it totally ruin the recipe, or would they just be a little more dense?

    • May 18, 2010 9:54 am

      Hi Amber –

      The white rice flour makes them very light. I’m guessing the brown rice flour would make them a little more dense.

  8. June 2, 2010 9:26 pm

    They sound remarkably good and ridiculously healthy. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Rose permalink
    February 26, 2011 11:07 am

    Just found this recipe and baked my first batch this morning. Love the light fluffy texture of these cookies and they taste delicious! Made first batch as per directions provided. Added agave nectar for extra sweetness in the last batch. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  10. Tamara permalink
    September 29, 2011 11:07 am

    Hi Micaela: thank you for the recipe – i am about to try it with some minor adjustments to our family,’s needs however, it piqued my motherly paranoia when you mentioned storing the cookies in the fridge because they had beans in them. Now, I must confess to being daft when it comes to beans and contamination – do you mean store the cookies in the fridge or just the dough? What are beans susceptible to “catching” if left out… say… in a cookie jar? Thank you in advance.

    • November 6, 2011 10:53 am

      Hi Tamara- Sorry about my delayed reply.

      I’ve always put baked goods with beans in the fridge, because I’ve never felt comfortable leaving them out. I’m talking about the final baked product, not just the dough.

      I can’t answer your question (“what are beans susceptible to “catching”…”) because I don’t know. Instead, I’ve made the decision to be prudent and place them in the fridge, then tossing them after about 4 days (although you may not have any leftovers!)

      If you like room-temperature cookies, you can warm them in the microwave for about 5 seconds.

      Hope this helps!

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