Beanie Baby Brownies

No… I’m not talking about these guys baked in brownies!


But all us, 90s kids, remember Beanies Babies! Oh my goodness, they were, like totally rad.

Anywho, I’m talking about these guys, hidden in a delicious brownie treat.

I know, I know. Black beans in brownies? Hmm, no thank you! But wait! These brownies actually taste rich, chocolatey, and amazing (!). Seriously, you cannot even tell there’s beans in them.

Beans are a good source of protein and fiber, so you can feel good about eating this dessert as a healthy treat.

Be adventurous and try these Beanie Baby Brownies! Yum!

beanie baby brownies


1 can black beans, rinsed

1/2 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)

3 tsp water

1/2 cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8 x 8 baking pan. Place all ingredients in a blender, Magic Bullet, or food processor and blend until completely mixed. You don’t actually want to find whole beans or bean chunks in your brownies. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until slightly firm in the center. Remove from oven and cut into squares, any size you’d like. Technically, this should make at least 8 brownies, but you can cut smaller pieces.

Now, share with all your friends and family! Bask in the goodness!




Spiced Chocolate Protein Spread


It’s the first day of the year and what better way to start it then finding delicious ways to incorporate chocolate into your day? Oh, wait… you have New Year’s Resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more and lose weight, right? Those are the BIG goals of lots of folks and it’s no surprise, considering the state of health in America. While it’s admirable to make healthy choices, if we’re too restrictive with ourselves and eat bland foods, we are only setting ourselves up for failure. What we should try to do is make healthy stuff taste good, which is exactly what this recipe is about.

There’s a little secret ingredient in this spread: chickpeas! I know! I know! Crazy, right? But trust me on this one. Make it, take a whiff and taste it and you’ll find chocolaty goodness that is just as good as any commercially made chocolate spread. And bonus: it’s guilt-free, protein-packed and can find it’s way into any New Year’s Resolution diets.

You won’t regret it!



1 15 ounce can chickpeas

1 tablespoon peanut butter

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

4-6 tablespoons water


Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processer, starting with only 4 tablespoons of water and adding more as necessary, scraping the sides of the blender/ processor. Blend until well incorporated and the desired consistency has been reached.

Easy-peasy. Now you can spread this on apple slices, rice cakes, multigrain toasts… the sky is the limit!



When life gives you hazelnuts, what do you do? Make gianduja, of course! What is gianduja you ask? Ok students, this might be the best history lesson you’ve ever had.

Gianduja is a sweet hazelnut paste invented in Italy way back when Napoleon was still hanging around. This paste takes its name from a marionette character who represents a native northern Italian, the region where this paste was invented.

In Italy, as far as I’ve read, gianduja is extremely popular as a spread on toast. The most popular brand is Nutella.

I was extremely happy to get hazelnuts in order to try this recipe and I also see this as a training for all the possible gianduja tastings that I’ll be doing in Rome with my friends when I go later this summer.

This recipe is super easy, except all the cracking open of the nuts does hurt the fingers of the nutcracker (thanks, Mami for all your hard work!). Try it and you’ll fall in love and feel good about making something with less preservatives and additives than the stuff you can buy at the store.

As the Italians say… “buon appetito!”


2 cups raw hazelnuts

1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk


Preheat the oven to 400. Roast the hazelnuts for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Rub them together in a paper towel to rub the skins off. In a food processor, blend the nuts until they are creamy. Add the other ingredients and blend until it’s smooth.

Now you can use it to smear on toast, as a dip for strawberries or simply lick it off the spoon 😀


Creamed hazelnuts


Gianduja… we’ll see how long it lasts!

I wasn't kidding about eating it by the spoon!

I wasn’t kidding about eating it by the spoon!

Choco-nut cookies

Chocolate. Peanut butter. Cookie. Bam! You’ve got a great cookie that’s guilt-free. Say what? A cookie that’s not going to make you feel guilty? Yes! The cookie is gluten-free, the peanut butter is reduced fat and adds some healthy protein and the dark chocolate adds antioxidants. Plus, come on… chocolate and peanut butter, together? Yummers.

Choco-nut cookies


1 cup almond flour

1/8 tsp salt (basically a pinch)

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp milk (any kind you like… moo milk, almond milk, soy milk, etc.)

Stevia, if you like

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Reduced fat peanut butter (or any nut butter you prefer)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate bar

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Then mix in the wet ingredients, mixing well. It will seem crumbly but keep on stirring and it will come together. If you need to, you can add a bit more milk, making sure not to make it too sticky. Place dough in a plastic bag and using a rolling pin, flatten out the dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the plastic bag and cut the cookies into small circles or squares. Maybe you’d like to do triangles, have fun with it. After you’ve cut the dough, stick it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes before baking for 10-15 minutes at 325 degrees F on a greased cookie sheet.

After they’ve baked, let cookies cool for at least 10 minutes. Then smear about a teaspoon of peanut butter on each cookie. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, a few seconds at a time, making sure not to burn the chocolate. If you need to you can add a bit of milk to the chocolate to make it smooth. Spoon a bit of chocolate on top of the peanut butter. And ta-da! A yummy cookie masterpiece!