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Brownies with beans

The Baltimore Sun

I got my first recipe for magic brownies at a Weight Watchers meeting. I became so hooked on the little squares of chewy, chocolaty goodness that I began testing, revising and perfecting my own version.

When mixed and baked just right, they come out moist, delicious and mind-numbingly good. The secret ingredient? Black beans.

That's right, magic brownies are nothing more than a can of black beans pureed and dumped into a fat-free brownie mix. I also add cinnamon, which not only perks up the flavor but has been shown in studies to help lower LDL, or "bad" cholesterol.

But that's it - no oil, eggs, butter, water, yogurt or applesauce. (Go ahead, brownie snobs, roll your eyes and cream your butter. We'll see who loses weight at the end of the day.)

Magic Brownies

Makes about 16 regular brownies or 30 bite-size brownies

one 15-ounce can black beans, unstrained

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 box fat-free brownie mix (My favorite is No Pudge! Original)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or the temperature specified on the brownie mix).

In food processor or blender, puree black beans, including liquid, with cinnamon until smooth. (You'll see the skins of the beans, but that's OK. You won't be able to taste them.)

Transfer to mixing bowl, and combine with brownie mix. Stir by hand until shiny and mostly lump-free.

Pour batter into a greased 8-inch-by-8-inch baking pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Brownies will be rich, moist and cakelike. When they cool, cut immediately into 16 regular-size squares or 30 bite-size squares.

Per brownie (based on 16 brownies): 71 calories, 2 grams protein, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 182 milligrams sodium

The nutritional analyses accompanying recipes in today's Taste section were calculated by registered dietitian Jodie Shield, except where noted.

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