No, not baked beans–baking with beans. It might sound a little odd at first, but pureed, cooked beans can serve as the fat or oil in cookies, brownies and other delicious baked goods. If you’ve ever made a cake with applesauce, the general principle is the same: they keep the dessert moist and give it body. Of course, you have to up your sweetening agent–whether that’s sugar, honey, agave or a substitute like Stevia–but sweet beans can result in some delicious desserts. Check out some of our favorite recipes:

Deep Dish Cookie Pie

This is the perfect dish to take to a potluck or a pitch-in. It looks–and tastes–exactly like a decadent chocolate chip cookie pie. But there’s a secret: there’s no flour in it. Actually, this entire cookie is gluten free. Because cookie pies have a somewhat doughy texture, similar to half-baked cookie dough, the pureed beans and quick cook oats form the perfect firm but soft base for tons of chocolate chips. Top it with a slice of ice cream for a dessert that tastes sinful but really only has about 200 calories. You just can’t beat that.

Pinto Bean Blondies

A blondie is like a brownie,  but minus the cocoa powder. In this version, we’ve added chopped cashews for a chunky, crunchy texture. This recipe is also naturally sweetened with agave nectar…and again, is totally gluten free. Mashed pinto beans form the base, and light maple syrup blends beautifully with the nuts for a delicious fall treat. Serve these with warm apple cider on a cool evening and everyone will think you’re a genius.

Soft Black Bean Cookies

There are three kinds of people in this world: People who like crunchy cookies, people who like soft cookies and people who just like cookies. If you fall into either of the last two camps, these cookies are for you. The black beans and cocoa powder give these an intensely chocolatey look. Their texture stays melt-in-your-mouth soft with both black beans and applesauce. Peanut butter thickens the mixture and gives it a little something extra in the flavor department. All you need with these cookies is a tall, cold glass of milk (or, of course, soy or almond milk).

Have you ever tried baking with beans? How did it turn out?

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