Melissa D’Arabian, author of best-selling cookbook “$10 Dinners,” was discovered by the Food Network through a YouTube video of the stay-at-home mom of three making homemade yogurt in her Texas garage (something she says saved her more than $150 a month).
Then in 2009, she went on to compete in, and win, the fifth season of “Food Network Star.”
We spoke with her to learn her top ten money-saving grocery tips, and here she presents one of her favorite recipes.
Melissa says: Black beans add a velvety texture and incredible moistness to these rich, chocolatey brownies. Because of the grounding protein and fiber they sneak into dessert, the brownies don’t send kids into a total sugar rush after they eat them, which to me is a huge win. For a pretty finish, I sprinkle them with powdered sugar before serving, or, if I’m feeling extra snazzy, I’ll place a stencil on top of the pan of brownies and sprinkle the sugar over it to get a fun design.
Black Bean Brownies
Makes 12 brownies
Preparation time: 20 minutes (plus 15 minutes to cool)
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with the butter and set aside. Place 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until the chocolate is melted.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. Purée the beans with the oil in a blender. Add the eggs, cocoa, granulated sugar, coffee, vanilla, and melted chocolate and purée until smooth. Add the flour mixture and pulse just until incorporated.
Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until the surface is somewhat matte around the edges and still glossy in the center, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing into 12 squares. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.
Pro Tip: Confectioners’ Sugar
Want to dress up cakes, cookies or bar cookies while barely spending a cent? Dust them with confectioners’ sugar. There’s something about a final sprinkle of powdered sugar that gives sweet treats that special fresh-from-the-bakery look. I even shower bran muffins with a shake or two of powdered sugar to make them look extra enticing for breakfast.