The Guilt-Free Adult Brownie [RECIPE]

adult brownie

For the past month or so, I’ve been on a mission to build the best black bean brownie on earth. My goal has been simple: create a gluten-free, dairy-free, flour-free dessert rich in fiber, protein, and antioxidants that anyone — even those just looking for a decadent treat — can genuinely enjoy without an asterisk. As in, “it’s really good.*”

*for a healthy dessert

I just want it to be good, period.

Great even.


After all, the tagline of this blog is “sowing the seeds of a sweet, rich life.” What better way to do that than with a delicious, fudgy brownie you can feel good about eating?

adult brownie

Before I share this brownie recipe with you, I need to illustrate my standard of comparison for greatness. This is important.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, there’s a small chain of grocery stores called Andronico’s, and inside those grocery stores there lives the best brownie on earth.

It’s called The Adult Brownie.

If you were to google “Andronico’s Adult Brownie,” you’d see things like “Best Brownie in SF” and multiple recipe bloggers attempting to recreate this masterpiece using every strategy short of selling their souls to the devil.

adult brownie

pulled this picture from a Yelp review

Context is Everything

A few years back, my roommate Nicole discovered this gem through a coworker, and we went hunting for it. Nicole and I are in lock-step when it comes to our reverence for the role chocolate plays in our emotional wellbeing. We started our hunt at the bakery case, not quite knowing what we were looking for. When it wasn’t there, we split up, figuring we’d cover more ground that way.

Minutes later we reconvened empty-handed in front of the open refrigerated troughs that carry specialty foods like olives and spreads, and Nicole’s usually cheerful face was fraught with panic. What if we couldn’t find it? She looked down trying to keep her composure and glanced inside that open trough. “THAT’S IT!” she pointed and screamed. The woman pushing a shopping cart next to her must have jumped a good six inches into the air, scurrying away, terrified of the brownie-crazed women who nearly knocked her over to get to the goods. We bought two and rushed home.

This remains the funniest story involving brownies I’ve ever been a part of.

Replicating the Adult Brownie

Sadly, the Adult Brownie isn’t gluten-free, so I haven’t enjoyed its mind-altering, pleasure-center short-circuiting glory for quite a few years now — and I miss it. I’ve been working on a replacement recipe on and off for about a year with varying levels of success, and last night I NAILED it.

Full disclosure: when my husband tasted the final product I asked him if it was as good as the Adult Brownie, and he said “no.” But only after a long pause, which was followed up by, “But it’s a damn good brownie and a very close second. It’s good for a brownie, not just good for a ‘healthy’ brownie.”

He’s not one to fluff up my ego on such things, so I’ll take it! A very close second to a famous brownie that features white sugar, white flour, and possibly the soul of some poor baker’s first-born child? Yeah, I’ll take that.

adult brownie">
The Guilt-Free Adult Brownie
Yields 9
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min">
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 2 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained
  2. 2 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (CWB Favorite Pick), separated (1 cup, 1 cup, 1/2 cup)
  3. 1/4 cup coconut milk (CWB Favorite Pick)
  4. 2 tbs organic coconut oil (CWB Favorite Pick)
  5. 2 pasture eggs
  6. 1 tbs vanilla
  7. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  8. 2 tbs unsweetened organic cocoa powder
  9. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  10. 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  11. 2 to 3 tbs shredded coconut or coconut flakes (CWB Favorite Pick)
  12. 1 tbs coconut sugar (CWB Favorite Pick)
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a food processor, process the black beans and 1 cup chocolate chips until integrated
  3. Add in the next seven ingredients (up to and including the salt), and keep processing until a smooth batter forms
  4. Stir in the second cup of chocolate chips
  5. Line an 8X8 pan with parchment paper leaving enough paper to stick out the sides
  6. Spoon batter into the pan
  7. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips and pecans, then add the shredded coconut and coconut sugar (the sugar and shredded bits will create a nice little crunch once it bakes)
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes (a fork pushed through the center of the pan should come out without any batter on it)
  9. Let sit for about 10 minutes before lifting the brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper
  10. Let cool to room temperature on the counter and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before slicing/serving (otherwise it could break apart) ***
  11. Prepare for greatness
  1. *** If you prefer a warm brownie, that's great. Still allow those first 10 minutes, then use a warm knife to cut the part you want to eat and leave the rest in tact. Don't cut the whole pan hot unless you're serving all of it. If you are, wipe off the knife between slices.
Cultivated Wellbeing

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links (CWB Favorite Picks), which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I only link to products that I USE and LOVE. All opinions are my own.


I'm a wellness professional with a Master's in Integrative Health, passionate about spreading health, happiness and personal fulfillment to as many people as possible. I have a professional background in health and wellness, dietary supplements, and nutrition, and embark every day to live a well, balanced, happy life. In being true to myself and what I seek in life, I hope to inspire others to do the same, to cultivate wellbeing in their own lives.

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3 thoughts on “The Guilt-Free Adult Brownie [RECIPE]

  1. I made these with pinto beans, and they are fabulous! I have another go-to brownie recipe that includes all the usual suspects–flour, white sugar, etc.–and I have to admit, they taste better than they make me feel. Not the case with your recipe! My husband loves them and was intrigued to hear that beans are the special ingredient.

    • Pinto beans, interesting! I’ve been wanting to attempt a “blondie” with garbanzos, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’ll be very curious to see how that goes if I manage it… Glad your husband was into them and that the recipe worked out for you. They can be a little addictive if you’re not careful!

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