Bean-based flours have become increasingly popular as people look for gluten-free alternatives to traditional baked goods, but what about a sweet treat with actual beans baked in?

Black bean brownies have been a food blogger favorite in the past few years, popping up on websites including Heidi Swanson’s 101Cookbooks.com and JoyTheBaker.com. This summer, the Minnesota-based Northarvest Bean Growers Association sent me a copy of this fudgy black bean brownie recipe from Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex, cookbook authors who run the website MealMakeoverMoms.com.

The recipe introduction claimed that, even with the unexpected ingredient, the authors hadn’t yet met a kid who didn’t love them, so on one of our last days of summer vacation, I decided it was time to see for myself whether these brownies could pass muster with my discerning eaters.

The batter came together seamlessly in the food processor — just don’t skimp on how long you puree the black beans. (No one wants to accidentally bite in bean thinking that it’s a chocolate chip.)

I’ve read that you can use mashed white beans in lighter colored cakes, but the black beans, both in look and taste, practically disappeared into the cocoa, sugar and vanilla. The resulting brownies really are more fudgy than you might be used to, but they were actually lighter than I thought they might be.

And with two grams of fiber and three grams of protein per serving, these brownies aren’t the worst dessert you could pack in your kids’ school lunches this week.

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

One 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

3 large eggs

3 Tbsp. canola oil

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. peppermint extract, optional

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Pinch salt

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil or coat an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, peppermint extract as desired, baking powder and salt, and process until smooth. Add ¼ cup of the chips and pulse a few times until the chips are incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before slicing into 2-inch squares. Makes 16 brownies.

— Recipe by Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex, MakeoverMealMoms.com