Reinventing Dessert: Espresso Chocolate Brownies

Sometimes you need a hug. Other times, you just need a brownie.

While we believe that desserts and snacks are a part of life, it’s understandable if some people want healthier versions of their favorite desserts. The trick: make substitutions that might sound like they won’t work, but when you taste the final product, you’ll never even realize the changes you made. Which is why we create things like protein ice cream or this recipe, espresso chocolate brownies.

This brownie recipe is a flourless version of the classic dessert. A traditional brownie is roughly 250 calories. This “healthy” recipe is about 60 percent fewer calories without any added sugar.

Enjoy these delicious treats to satisfy your nighttime cravings or store in the fridge and pack it in your lunch for a midday snack to keep you far (far) away from the break room donuts.

Why it’s a Healthy Recipe

Black beans—not-your-average main brownie ingredient—are a staple protein source for many non-meat eaters. Translation: you can eat more than one serving without loading up on too many calories. These legumes are also high in fiber, which helps aid digestion, and a great source of folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and iron.

And while coconut oil (the new Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding—it cures everything!) is overhyped, it does offer some health benefits. It’s loaded with lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) that accounts for about half of the fat in coconut oil, which might help improve HDL (good) cholesterol.

Chocolate Brownies: The Ingredients

double chocolate brownies ingredients

Serving size: 16 servings

Cook time: 25 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained
  • 1/3 c virgin, unrefined, cold-filtered coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp. cacao powder*
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tbsp. instant coffee
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt,
  • 2 egg (for more fudge-like consistency, use 1 egg)
  • 1/3 c coconut milk
  • ¼ c Truvia**
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, optional
  • 1 tsp. honey, optional
  • ½ c dark chocolate chips

*Cocoa powder is an equally good substitute.

** I like the way Truvia bakes, but feel free to substitute with other sweeteners; I just can’t vouch for the taste.

Directions for (“Healthier”) Chocolate Brownies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drain and rinse the black beans very thoroughly. This is one of those steps you don’t want to skip. Rinsing with water with strip away the preservatives used in canning and help get rid of that funky black bean taste.
  3. Add all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a blender or food processor. Blend until well combined.
  4. In a Pyrex or non-stick baking 8×8 pan. Grease the bottom sides with coconut oil. Sprinkle ½ of the chocolate chips on the bottom, then pour the “batter” on top and sprinkle with the other half of the chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. Then let cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. Optional: blend ¼ toasted unsweetened coconut and 1 tbsp. Truvia until a powder consistency is formed. Sprinkle on top of the brownies.
  7. Cut into 16 squares (4 cuts vertically, 4 cuts horizontally).
  8. Store brownies in an airtight container in the fridge.

flourless chocolate brownies

Nutritional Information & Macros

Dietary Information: Gluten-free, Low-carb, Nut-free, No sugar added, Vegetarian

Macros per serving (1 brownie–assuming you have 16 total):

  • 102 calories
  • 6g fat
  • 7g carbs
  • 5g protein


  1. Did you use 1 or 2 eggs for the recipe in the photo?! Bc I want mine to look like THAT!

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