January 28, 2023

Nutra Health

The Ideal Health

Fudgy Vegan Peppermint Brownies Made with Black Beans

These might just be the ultimate vegan peppermint brownies! Packed with peppermint flavour, these brownies are made with black beans so they’re high in fiber (sneaky!) and have the perfect firm, yet fudgy texture that holds together well without being too gooey. Plus, they come together in just minutes in the food processor so they’re soooo easy to make. A thin layer of chocolate ganache and crushed candy canes makes them feel extra decadent.

hand holding vegan peppermint brownie
Never mind the iPhone photo! Fancy shots coming sooooon.

I love a good brownie: rich, dark and fudgy…but not too sweet. And definitely not dry! It’s a delicate balance to strike but I think I’ve nailed it. The base of these brownies is black beans, held together with some spelt or whole wheat flour, for a high fiber base that gives them the perfect density. Plus, black beans add a dark, brooding intensity to dark chocolate that amplifies the flavour!

I’m not gonna lie: the dietitian in me loves that these vegan black bean brownies are high in fibre, because if you can sneak it in, why wouldn’t you! Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever made a brownie recipe WITHOUT beans: the cocoa cherry brownies in Eat More Plants Cookbook have chickpeas in them, ha! This is my default brownie mode.

I feel like I say this everytime I share a healthy-ish dessert, but I’ll say it again: you don’t have to make every single thing you eat healthier. Like, sometimes, I’m just gonna eat a handful of candy and call it a day. But I also really want my plant-based recipes to help you get more whole plant foods in because we’re really good at the other stuff but not so skilled at getting those plants in. Besides, I don’t believe in a divide between “healthy” food and “fun” food. So let’s make these yummy vegan peppermint brownies, shall we?

Gather Your Ingredients to Make These Vegan Peppermint Brownies

For this peppermint brownie recipe, you’ll need 12 ingredients (plus salt!) that you’ve probably already got lying around in your pantry. Except for the peppermint extract and candy canes… you might need to run out for that!

  • Black beans: you’ll need two cans, get the no salt added ones and rinse them SUPER well
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Avocado Oil: no, you won’t taste the olive oil because these brownies are so flavourful…but use avocado oil if you’re nervous!
  • Maple syrup: rich in flavour to help mask the bean-iness
  • Peppermint extract: I use Simply Organic because they use real peppermint oil in their extract
  • Vanilla: essential for making these brownies taste more like chocolate
  • Flax Eggs: I mix 1 tbsp (15 mL) of ground flax with 2 tbsp (30 mL) of warm water for each “egg”
  • Cocoa Powder: I use regular unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Baking Soda: to help with lift
  • Salt: to enhance flavour…never skip salt in baking!
  • Dark Chocolate Chips: I think dark chocolate goes perfectly with black beans but you could use semi-sweet too
  • Crushed Candy Canes: you could skip this and just add an extra ¼ tsp peppermint extract to the chocolate but it looks cute!

FAQ: Peppermint extract vs Peppermint oil: what’s the difference?

Peppermint extract and peppermint culinary oil are two VERY different things.

Peppermint culinary oil is very concentrated and if you use one in the place of the other, the results will be off. Generally speaking, if you have culinary oil on hand, you will use ¼ of the extract measurement the recipe calls for unless you want to clear your sinuses through until next year. 

I use Simply Organic Peppermint Flavouring, which is the strength of an extract but uses real peppermint oil as the flavour base so it has a more robust flavour.

And please note: do NOT use peppermint essential oil in your baking. It’s not edible!!

How to Make these Vegan Peppermint Brownies

These black bean based peppermint brownies couldn’t be simpler, with less than 15 minutes of hands on time, including the ganache topping! Plus, the batter comes together in the food processor, so there won’t be too many dishes to clean up. 

  • Blend the Batter: Blend the black beans, oil, maple syrup, peppermint and vanilla extracts, flax eggs, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in the food processor until smooth. Then add the flour and pulse until almost combined. Next, you’ll remove the blade and stir half the chocolate chips in by hand.
  • Bake the Brownies: Spread the batter in a parchment lined 9 x 9 baking dish. Be sure to smooth the top of the batter, as it’s thick and won’t settle too much during baking. Bake the brownies for 28-32 minutes, until the top looks dry and an inserted toothpick comes out almost perfectly clean. The parchment makes clean up effortless – if you’ve ever attempted to scrape hardened brownie batter off a pan, you’ll never not use parchment! 
  • Let them Cool: Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Want to speed things up? You can pop the brownies in the freezer for 15 minutes to jumpstart the cooling process.
  • Top with Ganache: Melt the remaining chocolate with coconut oil in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Let cool for 2 minutes, then spread over the brownies and sprinkle with crushed candy cane. You can again pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes to help the chocolate set if you’re feeling impatient!

FAQ: What makes brownies fudgy?

A fudgy brownie has a higher fat to flour ratio, so using a bit more fat or a little less flour – like in these vegan black bean peppermint brownies, will make a brownie more fudgy.

Tips, Tricks and Suggestions

  • If you don’t feel like making the ganache, just mix the whole cup of chocolate chips into the batter to make them extra chocolatey. Don’t skimp on this! I balanced the chocolate + sugar in the dough to offset the extra sweetness of the topping and without the topping, you need that extra ½ cup of chocolate back in the dough.
  • Want them even fudgier? Reduce flour by 1/4 cup.
  • Why vanilla AND peppermint? Vanilla is what makes chocolate taste more like chocolate, and it lends a sweet note to the batter so you can use a bit less sugar.
  • These brownies store well in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3-4 days, or you can freeze them for up to one month!
  • Peppermint-free variation: If you want a classic brownie, skip the peppermint flavour, up the vanilla to 2 teaspoons and either do a candy-cane free ganache or stir the entire cup of chocolate chips into the batter.

More Healthy-ish Vegan Desserts

hand holding vegan peppermint brownie

Fudgy Vegan Peppermint Brownies Made with Black Beans

These might just be the ultimate vegan peppermint brownies! Packed with peppermint flavour, these brownies are made with black beans so they’re high in fiber (sneaky!) and they come together in just minutes. A thin layer of chocolate ganache and crushed candy canes makes them feel extra decadent.

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  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 14 oz cans black beans, no salt added, well rinsed and drained
  • cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup spelt or whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons crushed candy canes
  • In a small bowl, mix ground flax with water and set aside for a few minutes to set.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°F). Line a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan with parchment so that it runs up all 4 sides for easy removal and cleaning.

  • Place beans, oil, maple syrup, peppermint, vanilla, flax egg, cocoa, baking powder, salt in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add whole wheat flour and pulse to just combine. Mix in chocolate chips by hand.

  • Spread batter into baking pan and smooth top with spatula. Bake 28-33 minutes until dry on top and toothpick comes out almost perfectly clean. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove to rack to cool fully.

  • Once cool, place a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan with 2 inches of water to make a double boiler. Turn heat to medium and add chocolate chips and coconut oil to bowl. Warm, stirring occasionally, until melted, about 4-5 minutes.

  • Let chocolate cool a couple of minutes then smooth over brownies with a spatula. Sprinkle crushed candy cane on top. Set for 15 min in freezer, then cut into 16.