Peanut Butter Swirl [black bean] Brownies

See, I can never just follow a recipe…

I always look at it, go mmm that looks really good, I wonder how it would be if I (insert 10,000 substitutions and additions here). Sometimes it turns out great, sometimes not so great. Usually the not so great is at least good enough to just slap a different name on it and call it good though (ie when over spread sugar cookies become ‘sugar cookie crumble ice cream topping’).

And then, there are times (such as this) when I start out following a recipe, then mix it with another, completely different one and blow everyones mind…and then i still change it, based on what sounds good.

But what I love is when I take a recipe and tweak it just enough to make it both my own and completely wholesome but still tasty (and safe) for everyone to eat. No need to thank me, the “ohmigawdthisisamazing:D:D:D” will do.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Swirl [black bean] Brownies

vegan, sugar free, low fat, high protein

(inspired by Lindsay’s Black Bean Brownies and Katie’s Genius Blondies)

For the brownies:

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 C. dates, pitted
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 C. + 2 T. unsweetened cocoa (i like Hershey’s special dark)
  • 2 T. unsweetened Carob powder
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 C. old fashioned oats
  • almond milk, as needed
  • stevia (or other sweetner) as needed

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a 13×9 inch pan, set aside. In a food processor, process the dates to a paste, adding almond milk as you go a little at a time until you get a smooth consistensy (dont add much, you dont want it over-liquidy). Add all ingredients (except oats and stevia) to food processor and blend until smooth, scraping sides down as neccessary. Taste, and adjust sweetness and consistensy as you like (with milk and stevia), then add oats and pulse them until mixed. Spread your batter into the pan and set aside. Don’t forget to eat any and all extra batter from food processor (so you can check for poison 😉

for the peanut butter blondie swirl:

  • 1 can garbanzo or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C dates
  • 1/4 C nut butter (i used almond, because my mom can’t have peanut oil, but regular peanut butter is highly recommended) or 2 T. nut butter + 2 T. canned pumpkin or cooked sweet potato
  • 1/4 C. PB2 or peanut flour, or to taste (helps with PB flavor if not using real PB)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 tsp peanut butter extract (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch sea salt (i like pink sea salt, because its more ‘buttery’)
  • 1-2 T. ground flax plus 1-2 T. oats
  • 1/3 C. chocolate or carob chips (i used 1/2 and 1/2)
  • stevia or other sweetner, to taste
  • almond milk, as needed

Follow same proceedure as for the brownies, (you know, except for the oven-heating and pan-greasing), pulsing in chocolate chips at end so they are mixed in but not chopped up). Scoop the batter on top of the brownie batter, spread it out lightly, and then swirl them together (or if you fail at swirling, like i did this time, just mix it together in the pan and call it good). If you want, sprinkle the top with crushed pretzels (like I did), more chocolate chips, peanut butter chips (if you’re not vegan), or anything really, get creative! (a drizzle of caramel sauce would also be good, or peanut butter, or…..see what i told you?!?!)

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean (or until your mom freaks out “it smells like burning” and your like “It didn’t burn!!!!! just the stuff on the sides got crispy!!”). ignore the fact that you just have to wait until they come out of the oven to get a good picture…

Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares…

or eat ooey gooey from the oven. I wont judge:)

Yum. That was good.


  • make it cookie dough-swirled brownies by ommitting PB2 and peanut extract, and using almond or cashew butter in the blondie batter (this is what we did the first time)
  • use above cookie dough option, but add coconut and a little butter extract, plus sprinkles to make it cake-batter swirled brownies. Also, add extra sprinkles. You can never have enough sprinkles.
  • make a grahm cracker crust, put chocolate chips in the brownie layer, and add extra vanilla and marshmallows to the cookie dough blondies to make smores flavor. top with marshmallow cream, chocolate sauce, and crushed grahm cracker for a really decadent treat
  • play around with different extracts and ideas of your own until you come up with completely different (and amazing) recipes all your own!

I’ve learned that it is perfectly fine to take a recipe and make it your own, experimenting is always the best part of any baking experience (besides licking the bowl). Just make sure your oven is always clean. If not, it might set on fire during preheating, forcing you to make cookies in muffin liners in the toaster. been there. done that.

But thats another story for another time…