Congrats, you’re crushing your 2018 fitness goals, including maintaining a clean diet. Therefore it’s OK to reward yourself with some dessert decadence.

But it’s not a license to sabotage your gains by overindulging, nor do you have to trade delicious sweets for bland treats, says chef Richard Ingraham. To wit: this healthier rendition of chocolate brownies, which he bakes for Cleveland Cavaliers star Dwyane Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union. His trick: swapping out damaging sugars and flours with healthier and equally tasty black beans and maple syrup. This cuts back on the bad and adds the high-protein, high-fiber benefits of black beans, combined with the antioxidant-rich duo of maple syrup and dark chocolate.

“We all crave sweets,” Ingraham says. “But eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of the foods you love. Finding healthier options for those cravings is key to not driving yourself crazy and ultimately eating a pint of ice cream and a half pan of brownies.”

For more recipes  from the chef and Eating Well to Win author, go to


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup Hershey’s special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅔ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp instant espresso
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate bar pieces
  • ½ toffee bar, broken into pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Using a blender or food processor, puree black beans with canola oil. Add eggs, cocoa powder, maple syrup, espresso, and vanilla and blend until smooth.
  3. Melt chocolate chips and add to blender. Blend on medium-high until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add mixture to blender and pulse until just incorporated.
  5. Stir in chocolate bar pieces, then pour the brownie mixture into baking pan. Top with toffee. You can take a toothpick and swirl the toffee into the brownies if you like.
  6. Bake until the surface looks dull around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs, about 20 to 30 minutes. Let brownies cool before cutting.
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