About a year ago, inspired by my Gluten-Free Vegan Deep-Dish Cookie made with chickpeas, I made these Salted Caramel Adzuki Bean Brownies for the first time. I recently re-made them, and realised that there were a few steps and ingredients in the old recipe that weren’t completely necessary, so I’ve decided to republish a new and improved version!
These salted caramel ones are richer, fudgier, more gooey and taste more indulgent than any other brownie I’ve ever made with flour, sugar and butter. They look deceptively impressive and are also surprisingly healthy because the caramel is made from dates.
I decided to make brownies with adzuki beans because black bean brownies seem to be all the rage lately, but I thought adzuki beans might be better suited, as they’re used in a lot of traditional Japanese desserts. They’re also very similar in size and texture to black beans. You can buy adzuki beans either dry or in tins from most supermarkets, but if you can’t get hold of them, black beans would still work well for this recipe.
These adzuki bean brownies are great because they’re full of plant-based protein + fibre,completely refined sugar free, grain-free, gluten-free, vegan and even oil-free!
And what’s more, they’re unbelievably quick and easy to make, requiring just 7 ingredients and a food processor!
The adzuki beans make the texture dense and fudgy and the date caramel (which, by the way, is so much easier to make than regular caramel) adds the perfect amount of sweetness and the same gorgeous velvety texture you get from regular caramel, without all that unhealthy cream and refined sugar.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 20 small dates, soaked overnight in cold water or 10 minutes in boiling water
- 2 x 400g tins (about 28 oz total) adzuki beans (or sub black beans), drained and rinsed
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (350 degrees)
- Drain away most of the water from the soaked dates, leaving behind 2 tablespoons (to make it easier to blend)
- Place dates in a food processor and blend until completely smooth
- Set aside 1 tablespoon of the blended dates, keeping the rest in the food processor
- Add the beans, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla, and whizz until completely smooth – you might need to mix it around a few times to make sure it’s all evenly blended
- Pour the mixture into a square or rectangular baking tin lined with greased baking paper
- Using a small spoon, evenly dot tiny amounts of the date caramel on top of the mixture
- Use a chopstick or skewer to swirl in the caramel to create a marbled effect
- Sprinkle over the sea salt
- Bake in oven for around 30 minutes – it should be slightly cracked at the top and slightly firm inside but not completely
- Leave to cool before cutting into squares