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

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.

YIELD:  1- 9″ x 13″ tray of blondies, sliced and served as you choose


  1. 28

    Marie says

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Ate these for lunch yesterday and today! We ate two trays in two days. I cut out the sugar and just kept the maple and honey (instead of agave) the same and WOW, these are great. My hubby and kids couldn’t stop eating them. I didn’t have cashews. The buttery flavor was just out of this world. I use Rumiano from Azurestandard it is amazing and cheap grass fed butter. MMM…thanks!

    • Meagan says

      So glad these were such a hit, Marie! It’s so fun when everyone in the family is on board! And that butter sounds really wonderful – I’ll keep my eye out for it!

  2. 27

    Lindsey says

    I used cocconut manna instead of butter and it worked great. Honey instead of agave + 1tsp cinnamon. These are delicious!

  3. 26

    Cindy says

    I have flavored agave and was wondering if this could be used in place of maple syrup? Using a total of 2/3 cup agave. Would appreciate any in put since I’ve not baked much using this ingredient.

    • Meagan says

      Go for it! Doubling your agave to replace the maple syrup should work really well in these blondies. Let me know how they turn out!

  4. 25


    Love this post – so much so that I’m featuring it in this week’s Food Fetish Friday series (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I’m always inspired by your creations… Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. 23


    I love how dense the inside looks, and that crust looks amazing too :) your aunt sounds really intriguing :) I happen to a have a strange uncle just like her :)

    • Meagan says

      I was actually enjoying a few more of these as I read your comment, and I stopped to savor a bite and ask myself if I tasted pinto… the answer is no. However, I will say that if you’re nervous about bean flavor, you could separate the beans and process them alone before adding the other ingredients; the only way I think you’ll taste pinto is if any of the beans remain whole in the finished bars. If you process the beans thoroughly to a smooth paste before incorporating into the bars, you should eliminate any bean-y flavor.

  6. 21

    Mary says

    Love your post! And I think you’ve coined a new word: Wackypants! Now on to the brownies – sheer genius! Thanks, Scarletta!

  7. 19


    I’ve had huge success with black bean brownies…most people can’t even tell! But I never considered a blondie version. You’ve inspired me!

  8. 18

    Mei-I @ gastronomic nomad says

    Im not sure about the addition of these pinto beans, but I’m definitely intrigued!! I’m all for odd pairings esp in desserts. You’ve been buzzed!

  9. 17

    nasreen johnson says

    looks awsom,love to try but with half cup butter or 1/4 cup,do you think thats cup of butter is too much.anyone out there have tried and can the idea of beans as they are very to try this recipe with less butter thats all please advise.

    • Meagan says

      Hi Nasreen! You could try these blondies with half the butter (1/2 cup) and then add an additional egg yolk. Let me know how it turns out!

  10. 16


    These are wonderful, and I loved your story!

    Cant wait to try something this unusual but that looks so tasty :)

    a fellow baker,

  11. 15


    Gorgeous looking Blondies!!I’ve never used Pinto Beans in my sweets but this looks like a must try!Btw I have a can sitting in my pantry waiting for be used :)

  12. 13


    I’ve seen things similar to these but was never totally convinced I wanted to try it. You’ve convinced me. I am trying these and will comment back when I have. YUM! P.S. I was almost certain you were going to say you were the wackypants family member. ;)

    • Meagan says

      Please do report back, Michelle! And to your postscript: I probably am and just don’t know it yet.

  13. 5


    Not only are they nutritionally sneaky, but they’re gluten free, too! So smaht. ;-)

    I really hope I’m not the official wackypants in my familia. I really hope it’s my artist cousin who wears aviator hat and goggles to class and features birds in all of her artwork…

  14. 3


    I love blondies so much more than brownies, these are made for me! I’ll have to give this pinto bean trick a try! I hope that I’m not the wackypants of my family, I’m going to say it’s my aunt who drinks a bottle of wine, then falls down the stairs…

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