Teacups and Dark Chocolate Black Bean Bars

Mom, Dad and my older siblings lived in Washington DC for about 5 years when Dad was Ambassador to the U.S.  He was reassigned when I was born, so at 2 months old I made the trip back home.

While in DC Mom and Dad had a portrait done by Stefan Norbin, a Polish artist.  He made Mom look much younger than Dad for some reason.  🙂  They were actually 6 years apart in age.

Recently, I looked up info on the artist and this is what I found:


Stefan Norblin, a polish painter and graphic artist, had an exciting, and tragic life. He was a successful and popular portrait painter, poster and book and costume designer in Warsaw in the 1920’s and 1930’s, married to the movie star Lena Zelichowska.

When World War 2 broke out, the couple fled in the last-minute from the Nazi bombs, first to Romania, then Istanbul, Iraq and finally arrived in India. Norblin quickly caught the attention of the Maharaja of Jodpur who had just built a huge palace that needed to be decorated, and Norblin was given a free hand to design the interior and the furniture.

In 1946, he left for the United States, and although he had a few commissions for portraits, he was not happy, his eyesight was failing and he finally took his own life in 1952. Most of his work in the United States was lost or destroyed, and except for his polish tourist posters, he was forgotten. ”


One of the items I was fortunate  to get from our home in Aley was Mom’s perfume cabinet.

My brother and I met there in 1999 to go through what was left before the house was put on the market, after Mon and Dad had passed and 20 years of being empty except when Mom visited 2 – 3 times.  We shipped a few precious items to the US, and this was one of them.

I loved looking at the gorgeous glass perfume bottles she kept in it.  Mom rarely wore perfume, but loved the bottles!

She used to collect teacups from around the world.  Unfortunately those were stolen during the Civil War in Lebanon, along with most of all the furniture, china and silverware.

I started my own collection of teacups a few years ago, and thought it was fitting to display them in her perfume cabinet.

I inherited my love of cooking from Mom, who spent 6 years writing the first anthology of Middle Eastern and North African Cuisine, published in 1970. Thanks to her all 7 of her children, and numerous grandchildren have that same passion.

Yesterday I stumbled on another recipe for brownies made with Black Beans that sounded twice as good as the previous recipe I adapted a few weeks ago.

I had all the ingredients and the yen for something sweet, so I decided to make some based on the recipe in 101cookbooks.  In between chopping greens for Tabbouleh and making a Black Bean Salad, I knocked out a tray of these decadently chocolaty, amazingly good brownie like bars.

Here is my version…

Dark Chocolate Black Bean Bars

  • 3/4 c. cold-pressed Coconut Oil
  • 5 oz. 85% organic Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 c. cooked organic Black Beans, drained
  • 3 Tbs. organic raw Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Tbs. Coconut Flakes (more to taste)
  • 1 c. organic Walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 high-Omega3 Eggs
  • 3 Tbs. freshly ground golden Flax Seeds
  • 2/3 c. Xylitol

Preheat the oven to 325°F and line an 11-inch square or 8 x 11 baking pan with parchment paper.


Melt the coconut oil on low heat in a medium size pan, add dark chocolate pieces. Stir around until the chocolate is completely melted.



Put beans, cacao powder, coconut flakes and 1/2 cup of the walnuts in a blender or a food processor. Blend for one minute or until well chopped, then add the chocolate mixture and blend for one more minute, scraping down sides once.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, add the flax seeds and xylitol and beat for one more minute.


Save four spoonful’s of the egg mixture in a separate cup and pour the rest into the chocolate and bean mixture and process just to incorporate.


Add the remaining walnuts and dark chocolate and stir gently with a spatula until blended.

Pour into the baking pan.


Drip the remaining egg mixture on top of the chocolate mixture and use a toothpick or a knife to create a marble effect.

Bake for 30 minutes. They might still feel a little soft in the middle when you take them out, but they will harden when they cool. These are decadently chocolaty!

You can spread a little Xylitol-sweetened raspberry jam on top for variation.


~ Enjoy! 

5 thoughts on “Teacups and Dark Chocolate Black Bean Bars

  1. I loved your story and the portrait of your parents. How wonderful that you ended up bringing the perfume cabinet home! The brownies look incredible as well; I may have to pick up some chocolate when I go out today!

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