Healthy Peanut Butter Brownies with Chocolate-Avocado Frosting

August 29, 2012

In our house after work, Joe and I have a bit of a tradition that we follow almost religiously. We get home, head to the gym for a workout, return home. Then, Joe takes Nutmeg outside while I prepare dinner. Usually, it’s something ultra-simple, like burgers/veggie burgers and big salads packed with vegetables or chicken breasts, sweet potatoes and kale. Like I said, nothing fancy over at our house on the weeknights. After dinner we clear the table, load up the dishwasher and settle in to watch something on TV.

While we’re watching TV, I always, always have to have some sort of dessert. And my husband, who isn’t a huge sweet eater, prefers to have a beer, usually something seasonal and unique. When I really want to indulge on the weekends, I’ll have an honest to goodness dessert. But since I find myself wanting dessert every single night, I try to make my weeknight selections a bit on the healthier side.

Last week, I started playing around a bit with the black bean brownies I made a few months ago. I was in love with them when I first made a batch, and I’m still in love with them now. For those of you scared to make a black bean brownie, please give them a try. The flavor of the beans is mild and will go undetected by many. If you’re looking for a great recipe to try for the first time, this recipe is a great starter black bean brownie, since it has a bit more sugar than the recipe below.

Since I was going for maximum health impact with minimal sugar, I decided to cut back even more than in my previous recipe. In place of the sugar, I used cinnamon apple sauce that I made at home in the crock pot, though you could certainly use store-bought. It makes the brownies much less sweet, but when topped with the creamy chocolate frosting, you hardly notice.

And that frosting that looks decadent and unhealthy? It’s made with creamy, heart-healthy avocados, which are packed with healthy fat and give the frosting incredible texture. I first saw the recipe for avocado frosting when I was reading Food Loves Writing, Shannalee’s beautiful blog, and knew that I had to recreate it at home. These brownies proved to be the perfect base for this frosting, since they are very basic and benefit from the addition of a sweet, creamy topper.

Healthy Peanut Butter Brownies with Chocolate-Avocado Frosting
Frosting recipe adapted just slightly from Food Loves Writing (recipe HERE)
*3/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
*1/4 cup canola oil
*1/4 cup cinnamon apple sauce
*2 large eggs
*1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
*1/4 cup natural peanut butter
*1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/3 cup whole wheat flour
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Recipe just slightly adapted from Food Loves Writing (recipe HERE)
*1/2 medium ripe avocado
*4 tablespoons honey
*2 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter
*Dash of cinnamon
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*1/4 cup cocoa powder

*Preheat oven to 350Ā°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
*In the bowl of a food processor, combine the black beans, oil and apple sauce. Blend until very smooth. Add in the remaining ingredients, minus the chocolate chips, and process until the mixture forms a smooth batter. Stir in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Bake in the oven for 16 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or nearly clean. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
*Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the avocado, honey and peanut butter and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Make sure the mixture is completely smooth and all avocado chunks are blended. Add in the cinnamon, vanilla and cocoa powder and blend until well combined. Spoon onto cooled brownies and cut into squares. Makes 12 brownies

Happy Baking!


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  • Reply Lauren at Keep It Sweet August 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Two words: In Love!

  • Reply justinelorelle August 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    These look SO good, I can’t even stand it. Now I just need a spare minute to whip them up!

  • Reply kim@hungryhealthygirl August 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    YUMMMMMM! I have a black bean recipe here….http://www.hungryhealthygirl.com/2012/08/22/day-4-back-to-school-snacks-brownies-wiaw/
    And I will definitely be trying that frosting recipe. I’ve been wanting to use chocolate and avocado together and this looks perfect with the honey and pb.

  • Reply Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough August 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    So glad I’m not the only one who needs dessert every. single. night. Will definitely have to make these to keep up with that habit! šŸ™‚

  • Reply UrbanWife August 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    These have been pinned for future baking use. šŸ™‚

  • Reply Baking Serendipity August 30, 2012 at 12:12 am

    I love using avocado in baking! And a healthier brownie recipe is something I seriously need.

  • Reply Kammie @ Sensual Appeal August 30, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Oh wow, can this be any more amazing? I’m just mad at myself that I JUST used up the avocado I had. But now I have another reason for buying a new one. This looks so good!

  • Reply Emily August 30, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Wow! These look, and sound, amazing. I’m going to attempt to make them this weekend and see if my husband notices. He is an extremely picky eater and would die if he knew he was eating a dose of black beans, avocado and even instant coffee! šŸ™‚

  • Reply Mindy September 3, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Just made these and they are horrible. I realize they are supposed to be healthy but they are terrible. Don’t waste your time.

    • Reply MadisonMayberry September 3, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Mindy, I’m sorry you didn’t like them! Like I mentioned in the post, they aren’t as sweet as some people might be expecting from “brownies”, which is why I suggested making my other black bean brownies if you’re hoping for something more like the real thing.

      • Reply Mindy September 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm

        Your right, I did make your originial Black Bean Brownies after these and they were delightful. My kids gobbled them right up and I didn’t feel too bad letting them. Sorry for the harsh review above, they were just ALOT less sweet than I was expecting. I do love the orginial recipe and appreciate the post. I WILL be making those again!

  • Reply Erika September 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    YUM! These were really good! I made them over the weekend and really enjoyed them! My husband, best friend, and mom really liked them too! I will definitely make again. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  • Reply Cassidy March 20, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Oh my God.
    I needed a good frosting recipe using avocado and stumbled across this, and OH MY GOD. It’s divine. I’m literally eating it with a spoon before the cake I’m baking even finishes. Thank you!

  • Reply Pat March 26, 2013 at 2:24 am

    I had a friend over for dinner who is a “health nut” and wanted to make something to make her feel welcome and show that I respect her eating choices. I stumbled across this recipe after failing to find a peanut butter brownie recipe I had earlier. Can you say FATE? I ran out to the store and got some ingredients. I added more honey to the frosting and didn’t have Canola oil, so I used Olive Oil. I forgot to add the coffee granules and I didn’t have applesauce … so I steamed and blended three apples and threw in some pumpkin pie spice (it’s all I had). Can I just tell you that not only did I thoroughly enjoy this, but so did my company? Not only my company but I had a friend over for dinner tonight who (after i described the brownie) said he wouldn’t like it, but he DID!!! He wants your recipe to share with his uncles. Instead of a brownie, I’m calling it a torte (even though by definition it’s not) because the consistency is almost like a torte/cheesecake consistency. So people aren’t expecting something breadier. THIS IS SO DELICIOUS I AM KEEPING THE RECIPE.

    • Reply MadisonMayberry March 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      Pat, thank you so much for taking the time to return to E&C and let me know you had a great experience with the recipe! It sounds like you are quite creative and I love the way you adapted the recipe! Glad to know it was a hit at your place!

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