One of the things I thought I would miss after my heart attack was eating sweets. Thing was, whenever I had anything with sugar in it, my chest would hurt. The damage to my heart made eating anything with sugar very risky because sugar is an inflammatory and it would inflame my heart and make it ache. So “missing” sugar wasn’t really an option because I was more concerned about healing than dwelling on what I was missing.
Something that I continually thought about as I was healing however, was how to manage stress and my ever surging emotions. In my research I learned that chocolate is good for stress reduction. Of course there are contradictory reports on this, but I know from experience that chocolate does relax me. The trick is to eat it in moderation and limit the other bad ingredients that might accompany the treat you choose to eat with chocolate in it. Other inflammatory food ingredients are flour and vegetable oils. Wheat flour and olive or peanut oil are good alternatives, but cutting either of these out all together would be even better.
When I found a recipe for black bean brownies, I played around with it, changing the oil and sugar contents and exchanging the milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips for dark or bittersweet chips. I didn’t get my hopes up, but after they came out of the oven and I got my first whiff, I knew these were going to be a great alternative. Once they were cool enough to try, Grace beat me to the pan and proclaimed that they were “AWESOME!” That alone was enough for me. I took a small piece (two bites) and enjoyed my first taste of chocolate in more than 6 weeks.
My heart didn’t ache, but I admit the sugar still had some effect on me. As when I eat anything, I have difficulty breathing now. With the additional sugar, my breathing was more labored, but not so much that I was concerned. Still, I will definitely limit how much I eat of these. Don’t worry, the brownies didn’t go to waste. Grace and Zeb finished them up without any trouble.
Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies
- 1 Can (15 ounce) Black Beans, rinsed & drained
- 2/3 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips, divided
- 3 Tbsp. Peanut or Olive Oil
- 3 Large Eggs
- 2/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Baking Cocoa
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1/8 tsp. Salt
- In a food processor, process beans, 1/3 cup chocolate chips, and oil until blended.
- Add remaining ingredients (less the remaining chocolate chips) and process until smooth.
- Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining chips.
- Bake 22-27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- Cut into 16 pieces.
These brownies are rich, moist, and super chocolatey. No one knew there wasn’t any flour in them, nor could they taste the beans.
Recipe by: Tilly Frueh – Simply Grateful Cooking 2019
These brownies were a great treat to enjoy while my heart is healing even though I didn’t actually eat a whole lot of them. My next step is to try making them with honey in place of the brown sugar. Still, without the flour, they are definitely healthier than any boxed or store-bought version out there. Every little change helps, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.