Finally, the weather broke and the steaming Florida September heat began to give up. I can’t wait for the day when we will turn the AC down for the winter. The only downside of this cooler weather is the lack of an everyday swim for Paloma, as our pool is not heated and she is spoiled by very warm water. The gulf temperature though is still beautiful to swim in for a couple more weeks. I can’t believe that we were ever worried about Paloma’s ability to swim – it’s as if she all of a sudden became a little fish and grew gills and fins. Now to these cookies, or brownies, however you want to call them. I make them two ways – with shredded beets and without, and we love both variations. The cookies are definitely more moist and resemble brownies with the addition of beets, while drier and more like cookies when the beet is left out. I tend to include beets more often than not – my attempts of packing more nutrients into sweets and snacks are never ending. The cookies are simple and a great treat to include in Paloma’s lunchbox. I’ve also tried making them with all kinds of dried fruits – apricots, prunes, dates, raisins. I’m partial to the prune and chocolate combo, while always trying to keep the figs in as well, as they give the cookies a nice texture.
Black Bean Chocolate and Fig Cookies
(makes 18 small cookies)
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds or any nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.
1/4 cup dark chopped chocolate – chilled
1 cup dried figs – stems removed and soaked for an hour
2 soft dates – pitted and chopped
one 15 oz can black beans, about 1 3/4 cups – rinsed and drained well, or the same amount of cooked black beans
1 small beet – peeled and finely shredded – optional
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil – melted
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Grind the pumpkin seeds or nuts into a coarse meal in a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl. Grind the chocolate into tiny pieces, add it to the pumpkin seeds.
2. Drain the figs, reserve about 1/3 of them, chop and combine the rest with the beans, dates, cocoa powder, coconut oil, chia seeds, vanilla extract and salt in a food processor. Pulse several times to turn into a chunky puree. If you decide to use beets, add it at this time as well.
3. Add the ground pumpkin seeds and ground chocolate into the food processor. Process everything to combine well and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Chop reserved figs, add them to the chocolate mixture and mix to combine.
4. With a small ice-cream scoop, scoop about 18 cookies on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Dip the scoop in water in between each cookie. Slightly flatten each cookie with a wet spoon. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool. The cookies are going to be very soft while still hot.
5. Keep refrigerated in an air-tight container after the first day. They keep well for about a week.
Note: I’ve also tried making these cookies with different types of beans – red, white and even chickpeas, and all work equally great.