Brownies With a Whiff of Ginger

By Kati Vereshaka
Kati Vereshaka
Kati Vereshaka
October 18, 2014 Updated: October 18, 2014

In her new book “Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent,” released this week, natural perfumer Many Aftel explores the way herbs, spices, and other exotic ingredients have shaped our history and our taste buds.

The author has also developed a range of edible Chef’s Essence Sprays, from sarsaparilla to blood orange that can be added to enhance the flavor of food. (

To celebrate ginger and cinnamon—two of the ingredients discussed in the book, here is my recipe for a delicious take on brownies. (Read the book review at

I am not a vegan or vegetarian, but these brownies are delicious with a silky mouth feel, aromatic and packed with luscious dark chocolate. The recipe is for a double portion since the brownies are best eaten chilled. They keep well for at least one week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
With Mandy Aftel’s Fresh Ginger Chef’s Essences Spray

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25–30 minutes

2 (30 ounces) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
4 large eggs
2/3 cup oil (grape seed, peanut, or light olive)
1 cup quick oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 pack dark chocolate chips, 20 ounces/566 g divided (melt half to stir into batter and keep half to sprinkle or fold into batter whole just before baking)
1 tablespoon coconut oil to mix into the chocolate chips while they’re melting
1 cup (or more) roughly chopped nuts to sprinkle on top
Fresh Ginger Chef’s Essences

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mist 2 nonstick 8 x 8-inch pans with cooking spray or with butter and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, add all ingredients except the vinegar, coconut oil, and chocolate cipss.

Mix with a food processor or hand blender until well combined and smooth.

Melt half the chocolate chips with the tablespoon of coconut oil then pour into the rest of the mixture. Mix again with a food processor or hand blender.

Add vinegar and blend until combined.

Stir in the whole chocolate button with a spoon, by hand. Transfer to the baking pan, spreading batter to the edges. Sprinkle the top with the chopped nuts.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, just until the sides are coming away from the pan. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out with batter, it’s OK.

Let it cool and then cut into pieces and spray with at least seven pumps of the Fresh Ginger Chef’s Essences.

Chill in the refrigerator overnight and serve the next day by which time they will have acquired an irresistible, fudgy texture.