These Black Bean Gingerbread Bars are soft and cake-like, with a sneaky serving of fiber and plant-based protein. You can’t taste that there are beans inside at all!
Prior to this year, I had never once added a bean to a dessert recipe. Now, I’ve done it three times! First, with these Vegan Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies, then with my Maple Pecan White Bean Blondies (yum!), and now with these Black Bean Gingerbread Bars.
I have since fallen in love with adding protein-rich beans to my desserts, because they are loaded with fiber, potassium, and folate, all of which may help to support heart health.
Why Add Black Beans?
Black beans make an excellent, and affordable, egg substitute in vegan and gluten-free recipes like this one. In this case, the black beans add moisture and act as a binder, without adding an overwhelmingly “bean-y” taste.
In fact, I can’t taste a hint of beans in these Black Bean Gingerbread Bars at all.
What I do taste in these soft, cake-like bars is a perfect blend of holiday spices, including ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and a touch of blackstrap molasses. Did you know that blackstrap molasses contains significant amounts of minerals, including calcium, iron, and magnesium?
If you ask me, that’s even more reason to dig into these fiber-rich bars. When paired with warming ginger, they’re a delicious winter treat!
Of course, they’re a bit healthier if you avoid letting your toddler be in charge of the topping. He might have gone a little sugar-crazy. (But, gosh he’s cute.)
Whether you decide to top these bars with an extra sprinkling of sugar or not, I hope you’ll enjoy them in the near future.
These bars will keep well at room temperature for up to 48 hours tightly covered, but for best shelf life keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Black Bean Gingerbread Bars
- 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans , or 1 (15 oz.) can drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon coarse granulated sugar , for topping (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. In the bowl of a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, combine the black beans, flour, oil, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, baking soda, vanilla, molasses, and vinegar. Process until a smooth batter is formed.
- Pour the batter into the lined baking dish and sprinkle the top with the tablespoon of coarse sugar, if desired. Bake until the top feels firm to a light touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before removing the bars from the pan and slicing.
- These bars will keep well at room temperature for up to 48 hours tightly covered, but for best shelf life keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Note: I haven’t tried this recipe using other beans and flours, so please let us all know in the comments below if you try something new and how it works for you!
Reader Feedback: Have you ever added beans, or another type of pulse, to a dessert? Let me know your favorites!
Disclosure: This post was originally sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada as part of my ongoing partnership to help promote the 2016 International Year of Pulses, but has since been updated.