The creation of a 17-year-old aspiring pro cyclist, these performance brownies are made with a surprising ingredient.
What does a 17-year-old aspiring professional cyclist think about as he trains? Brownies. And pumpkin bread. And muffins.
“A lot of my recipes are what I crave when I’m riding,” says Spencer Miller who shares his dessert concoctions with 62,000-plus Instagram followers and at macro-chef.com. Miller considers riding uphill to be his strength—but maintaining a climber’s lean physique while satisfying a sweet tooth takes creativity. So four years ago Miller started creating his own, nutrient-packed treats.
“I focus on whole foods and things that are natural,” he says.
For these decadent chocolate–peanut butter brownies (see recipe below), he uses oat flour rather than the refined white variety, equal parts sugary (agave syrup) and calorie-free (stevia) sweeteners, and replaces most of the traditional recipe’s oil with applesauce and—stay with us here—black beans, to boost fiber and protein. The first time he tried adding them, he was worried he’d end up with “something that tasted like a burrito,” but he swears you won’t notice them. (Even our most skeptical tester agreed.)
Miller, who is finishing high school online to have more time to ride, hopes to race in Europe. But if that doesn’t work out, he could still make his mark on the WorldTour.
“I’d like to work with food,” he says. “Either open my own café or maybe be a team chef.”
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Swirl Black Bean Brownies
•1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed well
•1/4 cup oat flour or 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
•1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
•2 large eggs
•1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
•1/4 cup agave, maple syrup, or honey
•1/4 cup granulated stevia or preferred sweetener
•1 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
•1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
•1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
•1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter Flaky sea salt, for topping (optional)
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Add all the ingredients except the chocolate chips and peanut butter to a food processor. Blend until a smooth batter forms.
2. Add the chocolate chips and pulse a few times to incorporate. Line an 8” × 8” baking dish with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Pour the batter evenly into the baking dish.
3. Microwave the peanut butter in a small bowl until melted, 20–30 seconds. Dollop evenly over the top of the brownie batter, and swirl peanut butter into batter with a knife.
4. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake, or the brownies will become dry and crumbly.
5. Cool completely then slice into nine 2-2/3-inch brownies. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if desired.
Nutrition per brownie: 189 calories, 6 g protein, 29 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 13 g sugars, 10 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 152 mg sodium