You might be wondering what adzuki is…Well, also called aduki or azuki, it’s the name for a small, red and nutty-flavored bean (yes, bean as in legume!) of Chinese origin. Adzukis are often cooked with sugar and mashed into a paste that is a traditional ingredient for many Asian desserts.
As most beans, adzukis are low in calories and fat and rich in fiber, protein, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and B vitamins. If all that weren’t enough, these little guys are easy to digest, an important attribute in the bean family!
The dark chocolate and the cocoa bring the antioxidant level of this recipe to the roof, and the pure (make sure it’s pure) maple syrup brings in its sweet, depth flavor in a small amount, but powerful taste.
The fat of choice is olive oil, which you might find odd as you read the ingredient list, but it makes all the flavors more complex. The coarse sea salt sprinkled on top just enhances the chocolatiness of the dessert. You won’t believe the results!
1 (15 ounce) can adzuki beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 ounces UNSWEETENED chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 large egg, preferably organic
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8-inch metal square baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on 2 opposite sides.
2. In a food processor or with an immersion blender, grind adzuki beans and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, until completely pureed (it should be smooth but not runny, if needed, add a bit more oil to achieve that consistency, but only a little at a time). Measure ¾ cup (6 ounces) of the bean puree and set aside. The rest can be frozen in an air-tight container and saved for the next time you make this recipe (yes, you’ll prepare it again!).
3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, chopped chocolate, cocoa and salt and melt over a double boiler.
4. Remove bowl from heat and incorporate bean puree into the chocolate mixture with a whisk.
5. Add in maple syrup, egg and vanilla extract and whisk until well incorporated and no large lumps can be found.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle lightly with coarse sea salt.
7. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and the top is set and shiny.
8. Let brownie cool completely, and for easy and neat unmolding and cutting, place cooled brownie (still in metal pan) in the freezer for at least 1 hour. The more frozen the brownie is, the better it cuts.
9. Unmold by pulling the parchment overhangs with both hands toward opposite sides. Place on a board and cut into 12 pieces.
Variation: : Add some chocolate chips and/or some chopped nuts after the maple syrup and and egg are incorporated.