Beetroot, Walnut & Prune Brownie Cubes- Fat, sugar, gluten free
Too true to be good for you!
A chocolate cake made with beetroot? No flour? no fat? no sugar? Come on? how can it taste good? and yet it does. The beetroot gives body and sweetness too, the walnuts depth of flavour and moistness, the prunes give another hit of chewiness and good quality chocolate gives a strong chocolatey flavour. Added to that the beetroot is full of antioxidants, as is the chocolate,the nuts pack a powerful Vitamin E punch and prunes…well we all know that prunes work miracles – lets just call these “energy bars” and be done with it. In fact I’ve done the maths and yes they come in at less than half the calories of a regular brownie. This is basically a brownie recipe but I always serve them as little cubes.
Gadgets & Gizmos
An electric whisk and a square tray bake tin. Although the recipe also works well simply as a moist chocolate cake.
400g beetroot AFTER YOU HAVE COOKED IT and peeled it so start with 500-600g raw beetroot. Try and use tennis ball kind of size, not huge tough ones. Yes you can use the preboiled ones from the supermarket but the puree may be a little wetter and you may want to add 4 tablespoons of rice/cornflour instead of 3
100g ground walnuts (or almonds or hazelnuts plus an extra 25-40g chopped roughly to scatter over the top if you want to). Buy whole nuts and blitz them in a food processor skins and all. Dont waste time trying to find perfect super expensive powdered almonds. If you over blitz and create a nut butter this recipe will still work.
100g chopped prunes (or dark raisins or “agrise” (barberries) or merisoare)
200g sugar or 150ml of agave nectar or 150g fructose or 150 ml honey. For those on a sugar free diet the agave nectar/syrup is what you want.
150g dark chocolate (72% chocolate) – dont skimp and use good chocolate
3 tbsp white rice flour (corn flour/ corn starch or very fine “faina de malai” ie the polenta flour if you don’t have rice flour)
75g cocoa powder (it really is worth using the best cocoa powder you can find)
1 tsp vanilla extract (try not to skip)
2 tsp baking powder – not strictly necessary but in case you have over worked the mixture and bashed too much air out this will help.
VOLUME & IMPERIAL QUANTITIES
|beetroot puree||2 cups|
|Ground Almonds||1 cup|
|Agave Nectar||2/3 cup|
|Chocolate 72%||6 oz|
|white rice flour||3 tbsp|
|vanilla extract||1 tsp|
|Baking Powder||2 tsp|
The basic idea is to create a foam as you would when making a classic genoise and then stir through gently the beetroot puree, melted chocolate and dry ingredients. An almost mousse like soft cake mix is what you are looking for and this can be poured into a brownie tin (or any rectangular tin brushed with sunflower oil and lined with baking paper) to be baked. The paper does matter – this is a sticky moist cake and will super glue itself to the tin unless you use it.
The prunes, cranberries or barberries (or any combo of dried fruit you are using) add a lovely warmth and chewiness and I do really like prunes and chocolate . Finally a word of warning: leave it one day! When fresh it’s too crumbly. It’s just plain irritating when you try and serve the cake and the thing falls apart. Keep the faith, resist temptation and let it sit overnight!
1. Roast tennis ball size beetroot for approximately 1 hour at 180C in a roasting tray. The smell when they roast is indescribably good – warm and earthy goodness floating from the oven. Its always worth roasting say a kilo so that you can either make more puree and freeze it, slice up the beetroot into a salad or use it in a soup. The skins become all papery and are much easier to peel off when the beets are roasted. I have made this recipe with boiled beets and somehow the dryness and lack of water of the roasted ones seems to give a better result.
2. Blitz the peeled beetroot so you have 400g of puree for the recipe.
3. Heat your oven to 160 C. Line a brownie tin or deep baking tray with baking paper and brush with a little olive oil or sunflower oil.
4. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water gently or microwave it very gently.
5. Whisk the eggs and sugar or fructose/agave nectar. If you feel really zealous do this over hot water as if making a genoise. They should become fluffy and resemble a sloppy meringue mix.
6. Gently fold in the ground nuts, baking powder, flour and cocoa powder to the egg mixture to try and keep as much air in the mix as possible.
7. Add the pureed beetroot, vanilla essence and melted chocolate, still being gentle but making sure the mixture is well mixed.
8. Check the ingredient list to make sure you haven’t forgotten something. If you have a hangover or small children running around (or both) this step is important! and lets face it…weve all done this!
9. Depending on how fierce your oven is bake for around 30 minutes on a lowish heat – 160 is the recipe so bear in mind if you have a fan assisted oven – take it down to 150C and cook for 35-40 mins if necessary. You want a moist brownie not a dried out crisp. Also depends on your tin – if the mixture is spread thin – cook for 20-25 mins, a small tin with deep chunky brownies – 35-40 mins.
10. When a toothpick comes out semi clean ie not with liquid cake mix on it but with some sticky crumbs, it is done. Let the brownie cool in the tray and cut the next day. These brownies keep for approximately one week in an air tight container although I have never had that problem. They freeze perfectly.