Enjoying the Goodness of Cocoa Powder

If you have read my article on chocolate and cocoa beans you may be interested to try out this recipe. It makes up a tempting panful of brownies with a deceptively rich texture and the wonderful aroma and flavour of dark chocolate. I’ve included a recipe for frosting for that extra-special occasion.

Note:  I never use the icing; it is not really necessary for this recipe.


BEST BLACK BEAN BROWNIES    (Vegan and Gluten-free)

Makes one 8” x 8” pan



1 ½ cups black beans, drained very well

2 tbsp cocoa powder

½ cup oatmeal

¼ tsp salt

3/4 cup date sweetener (see below) or ½ cup maple syrup or honey

¼ cup peanut butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp baking powder

½ to 2/3 cup chocolate chips (***Important ingredient; not optional)



Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine all ingredients except for chocolate chips in a good food processor and blend until completely smooth.   Blend really well. (A good blender can be used but the texture and even the taste will be much better done in a processor)

Stir in the chocolate chips.  Pour into a greased 8×8 pan.

Optional:  Sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top.

Cook for 15 to 18 minutes then cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.  If they still look a bit undercooked, firm up in the fridge overnight.


To make date sweetener:  Take about a cup of dates and place in a small saucepan.  Add about ½ cup of water.  Bring to a boil, let boil about 5 minutes then turn off heat and cool.   Blend in blender or with a fork until smooth.




Makes 1 cup



1 cup boiling water

1/3 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened

1 ½ cups dried, pitted dates with

tough ends removed

1 tbsp maple syrup

Pinch of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract



Place boiling water and cocoa powder in a blender.  Blend on high speed for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is relatively smooth. Scrape down the sides of the blender.  Be careful not to let steam build up in the blender.

Add dates, syrup and salt to the blender. Blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.

Add vanilla and blend until combined.

Transfer mixture to an airtight container.  Let chill completely, for at least 3 hours, until it becomes firm and spreadable.


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My name is Debra Harley (BScPhm) and I welcome you to my retirement project, this website. Over the course of a life many lessons are learned, altering deeply-rooted ideas and creating new passions.


  1. Ruth Russell on May 7, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks Deb. I don’t often bake a cake but we have my granddaughter’s 12th birthday next w/e so maybe I will make this recipe….

    • Deb on May 17, 2023 at 10:49 am

      They are delicious!

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