Black Bean Brownies

Bean Brownies (3)

Black beans in brownies? Yes! Sneaking a can of pureed beans into brownie batter means they’re packed with protein and added nutrition, but kids will never notice among all the chocolate-y goodness!


  • 1 (15-ounce) drained and rinsed can black beans
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a blender and process until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.
  2. Transfer the batter into a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Spoon the batter into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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S’more Brownies

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Want s’more fun with summer’s favorite trio of chocolate, graham cracker, and marshmallows? In addition to our s’more energy bites (which have all been gobbled up), we made these easy s’more brownies. Hint: the recipe starts with a mix!

Mix together one package of your favorite vegan brownie mix according to package directions. Spread half of the batter into the bottom of a 9×9-inch baking dish.

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Top evenly with graham cracker pieces, then spread with the remaining batter.

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Sprinkle the top with Dandies mini marshmallows – the more the gooier! You’ll notice that Travis was too busy licking the batter from the bowl to help sprinkle on the marshmallows.

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Bake according to package directions.

If brownies aren’t your favorite, try this twist on the s’more trio:

Layer chocolate pudding, broken graham cracker pieces, and mini Dandies marshmallows in a glass. Repeat the layers, and top with a final layer of pudding. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (this will help the graham cracker pieces soften).

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Help the Helpers

fireman brownie (8)

Kids love the iconic figures who can be found around every town – policemen, fire fighters, mailmen – even librarians! But how often do we think to give back to these community helpers? Instead of just watching their neat vehicles go by or talking about what they do, here’s a simple idea for giving back to your community.

Now felt like the perfect time for us to do this activity, since we’re in a new town and could introduce ourselves. But whether you’ve lived in your town for ten days or ten years, there’s never a bad time to get to know local police and other helpers.

So to start, bake a batch of brownies (full disclosure: we simply used a packaged mix!) then stop by your nearest fire station, police station, post office, or library – whichever one your child likes best.

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Making the brownies in the morning got the fun started. Whether you’re using a mix or brownies from scratch, invite the kids to pour and stir!

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We wrapped the brownies in foil and added a card that Travis had decorated with crayon before heading off to the station!

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The fireman who let us in looked pleasantly bemused that we showed up bearing brownies, but happily accepted them into the kitchen. I thought perhaps we’d get a glimpse at the trucks on the way out, but Travis didn’t waste any time asking if he could sit inside them – and he was not disappointed!

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Firefighter Luke took him into every vehicle in the station before our time there ended, and let Travis look at equipment I never even knew existed.

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It was a beautiful and private behind-the-scenes peek, all for giving back a little.

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What community helpers would your child enjoying visiting the most? Please share in the comments!

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Brownie (1)

By far the densest, chewiest, and thickest vegan brownie recipe I’ve stumbled across, Travis loves these (not to mention the batter before it cooks), and has no idea that many of the ingredients are good for him! Add chopped walnuts if you like, both for crunch and omega-3s.


  • 1/2 cup packed pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup packed pitted prunes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup carob powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine the dates, prunes, and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Continue to cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat and let stand.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the oat flour, rice flour, carob powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Transfer the date mixture to a blender, along with the maple syrup, canola oil, and vanilla; process until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until well combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into a 9×9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

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