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pinto bean blondies

pinto bean blondies

Who’s the official wackypants in your family? I know you have one – I’m pretty sure it’s a rule of nature.

You know who I’m talking about:  that uncle, cousin, sibling, what have you that shows up to family functions wearing a pirate costume and speaking in Klingon? Or maybe a particular parental unit who insists on a quick line dance when the Muzak version of Katy Perry’s latest comes on in the lobby of your local bank.


“I kissed a teller and I liked it…  ” (No, I am NOT the official wackypants of my family.)


I have a personal theory that this wacky behavior is disguising sheer genius. I developed this theory from studying my own family’s official wackypants, Aunt S.

Aunt S. enjoys rosé wine, Hawaiian folk music, and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. Not necessarily in that order. Preferably all at once.

Aunt S. has been inspiring and confounding since I was wee.

Aunt S. is responsible for the brilliance that is these Pinto Bean Blondies.

All hail Aunt S.



Aunt S. and I communicate via the written word (because texting, emailing and phoning are all just too normal) so I wasn’t surprised to receive this latest letter. There was chit chat, there was family news, and then there was a brief mention of ‘Blonde Brownies’. Aunt S. made hers for a friendly gathering out of only 1 can of pinto beans, puréed, and 1 box mix of Pineapple Supreme Cake.

Liking stuff from scratch a little more and pineapple a little less, I decided to make a few adjustments. But the seed was planted. That ingenious little seed.



I love that these blondies come together in no time.

I love that these blondies, served warm directly from the pan, have a thin, maple-y crust on top and a sweet, pudding-y consistency on the inside.

I love that there is the potential for just a little bit of well-intended trickery with these blondies:  serve them to your bean-averse children, give them to your nutritionally-challenged BFF, or feed them to your legume-hating husband. He may figure it out, but by the time he does he probably won’t care.

I also love my Aunt S. in all her wackiness. I’m pretty sure you will too after you try these Pinto Bean Blondies.



Pinto Bean Blondies

Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Bars & Brownies
Keyword: agave nectar, blodnied, brown sugar, butter, eggs, maple syrup, pinto bean, sweet
Servings: 1 9″ x 13″ tray of blondies, sliced and served as you choose


  • 2 c. pinto beans I used well-drained, rinsed, canned beans.
  • 1 c. unsalted butter melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c. light brown sugar packed
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup
  • 1/3 c. light agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 c. cashews roughly chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Place chopped cashews on a rimmed sheet pan and toast for 8-10 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  • Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, place the beans, melted butter, brown sugar, agave nectar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and eggs.
  • Process until smooth and remove to a large bowl. (Note that you should process the mixture long enough that the beans’ skins are in small pieces; you’ll still see little bits of skin in the mixture, but you want to get the pieces as small as possible. I processed for approximately 2 minutes.)
  • Stir in the cashew pieces.
  • Pour the mixture into the lined pan and bake for 47-50 minutes.
  • Cooked blondies will be set and dark on top and at the edges, which should be pulling away from the pan.
  • Allow blondies to cool to room temperature before unmolding. If you just can’t wait, warm blondies will be set but very soft on the inside – almost the consistency of a thick pudding.

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