Dairy-Free Birthday Brownies

Remember my adventures with applesauce earlier this week? The purpose behind my baking endeavor was my youngest sister-in-law's birthday. Earlier this year a careful review of her reactions to foods revealed that she is the owner of a spiffy new dairy allergy. As a result, all things milk-based are off-limits. That means no chocolate chip cookies (if the chips are milk chocolate), no cheesy dishes like nachos or enchiladas, and no ice cream. She also has to be careful about certain types of flours, if I'm not mistaken.

Thankfully, we live during a time when a) we can learn about our food allergies, and b) enjoy versions of foods that we can't have with the help of a variety of good replacements. I had already had my eye on testing out a black bean recipe I had seen on the web, so when my sister-in-law mentioned wanting to try just such a treat, I knew what to do for her birthday.

This recipe is based on someone else's fine ground work. However, I can't find the link anywhere! I tweaked it, though, so enjoy my rendition of dairy-free black bean brownies. They are very moist and chocolaty, and refrigerating the batch helped firm up the brownies at the center of the dish after baking. The banana taste was a little stronger than I'd like, so next time I might try some canned pumpkin instead. Also, I used almond extract only because I'd run out of vanilla, but it was a shopping mishap that turned out nicely since the almond tasted great. Try your own medley of extracts -- I've got maple and mint (in separate batches, mind you!) on my list of tastes to test. Maple brownies? Yes, please!

Birthday Beanies

1 15 oz. can black beans
3 T vegetable oil
4 T cocoa
1/4 cup quick oats
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 tsp almond extract
1 ripe banana
1/4 cup applesauce
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degress Fahrenheit. While the oven warms, drain and rinse the beans. Then combine all of the ingredients in a blender, processing until smooth. Spray an 8 x 8 inch pan with cooking spray, then pour the batter into the dish. Bake for thirty minutes, or until the brownies are set. Remove and allow to cool completely before serving. For a firmer texture, refrigerate the entire batch right in the baking pan, or remove the brownies from the pan before storing.

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