Happy Bank Holiday weekend!
I’m in Cornwall for the weekend and the weather is a tad chilly to say the least. That said, I have already spotted quite a few people sporting low-cut thigh-grazing pneumonia-inducing summer frocks, complete with sandals and goosebumps. I’m in a leather jacket, a large scarf and my winter boots so I feel a little like I’m inhabiting a colder gustier parallel universe and I’ve toppled between the two by accident, in search of a large cream tea and a miniature lighthouse whittled from serpentine. For anyone wearing flip-flops today in England, may I please ask why?
Anyway, back to baking…Before we went away, I thought I would get a cheeky bake under my belt and I fancied some squidgy chocolate brownies. They aren’t particularly summery, I admit, but it’s freezing outside and these are just the trick to warm you up with a strong cup of tea. Beetroot is the secret ingredient to these – apart from the beautiful deep crimson colour that it lends to the batter, it makes the brownies ridiculously moist and fudgey.
Mellow and earthy and cocoa-y, this is grown-up chocolatey-ness at its very best. They’re also packed full of antioxidants that can help to reduce blood pressure – win – and gluten-free and dairy-free to boot.
***MARCH 2016 UPDATE: NEW & IMPROVED RECIPE! OUT OF THE OVEN IN UNDER 30 MINUTES!!***
Chocolate beetroot brownies
Makes a 9″ x 9″ tray of 36 bite-size brownies
– 30g blanched hazelnuts
– 40g good quality cocoa powder*
– 110g (gluten-free) plain flour
– 1 scant teaspoon baking powder**
– 150g vanilla golden caster sugar***
– pinch salt
– 150g beetroot, cooked
– 120ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
– 2 large eggs (free-range please), lightly beaten
*Proper cocoa powder should not contain any milk products – but be sure to check if you’re DF.
**Check your baking powder is gluten-free is you’re making these GF!
*** Making vanilla sugar is easy – just split a vanilla pod, add to a jar of sugar and leave overnight (minimum) – but if you don’t have any, just add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the recipe instead.
Preheat your oven to 180°C and line the base and grease the sides of a 9″ x 9″ square tin with baking paper.
In a small pan on a medium heat, toast the hazelnuts for a few minutes until beginning to colour. Crush in a pestle and mortar and set aside.
Sift the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the sugar and salt.
In a blender, blitz the beetroot and oil (and vanilla extract, if using) until smooth. Beat in the eggs.
Combine the beetroot mixture with the dry ingredients and stir until no lumps remain.
Pour into your prepared tin, level the surface, and bake for 20 minutes until dry on top and springy to the touch. Tip: A knife will come out just about clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack and cut into squares to serve.
Source: Recipe and photos by pip & little blue.