I made this decadent recipe yesterday and troughed some, warm, after dinner. I have to say, they were totally delicious. Today we chilled down a couple more in a cool box to eat after a strenuous hill-walk and they went deliciously fudgy. These brownies are naturally dairy-free and, if you use gluten-free baking powder, gluten-free too. If you don’t like your cakes too sweet and use a brand of chocolate sweetened with xylitol (instead of a more bitter 80% chocolate), 100g of added xylitol is probably enough. Beetroot is naturally high in sugars so this adds extra sweetness, it also makes them more moist. Pure cocoa contains theobromine, a stimulant, so don’t eat too many of these late in the evening or you could be wired all night! Buy any of the more unusual dry ingredients in health stores.
Makes one 28x18cm tray (28 very filling brownies)
250g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids, ideally 80%) or Plamil plain dark no-added-sugar chocolate from health stores (my personal favourite)
200g virgin coconut oil
250g beetroot, cooked (shop bought is ok – just avoid beets in vinegar!) – to cook your own, scrub, steam or boil, then peel and cool
3 large organic eggs
1 drop of vanilla extract
200g xylitol or erythritol (from health shops)
50g cocoa powder
50g brown rice flour
1 tsp gluten-free aluminium-free baking powder (or just aluminium-free baking powder if you can eat gluten)
4ozs/100g ground almonds
Baking parchment/silicone baking paper plus a little more oil for greasing
28x18cm baking tray or tin (with sides 2cm or more in height)
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
2. Put the chocolate and coconut oil in a large bowl and place it over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the base of the bowl. Leave to melt, then remove from the heat.
3. Puree the cooked beetroot in a food processor then add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and xylitol or erythritol. Process until smooth and increased in size.
5. Sift cocoa powder, rice flour and baking powder into another bowl and stir in the ground almonds.
6. Stir the beetroot mixture into the melted chocolate and then fold in the dry ingredients. This looks large but it will still fit in the baking tray.
7. Use baking parchment/baking silicone paper to line the rectangular tray. Pour in the mixture and place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until just firm to the touch. It is very important not to overcook the brownies or they will be dry. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out slightly sticky. Leave to cool in the tin and then cut into 28 squares. Put in the fridge for several hours for a wonderfully fudgy effect.
Why this recipe is better for you:
Beetroot is a rich source of chromium, which helps your body deal with the high level of sugar in the beet. In “normal” sugar, the nutrient chromium is removed, leaving our bodies struggling to cope with the sugar. The addition of healthy virgin coconut oil makes this recipe low GI because the fat slows the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream. This prevents blood sugar imbalance causing dips in energy and well-being. Xylitol (and also erythritol) are tooth-friendly sweetening agents that do not appear to have health dis-benefits. They are safe for diabetics too as dont raise blood sugar levels. Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs – medium chain triglycerides – which the body prefers to use directly for energy production (rather than storing as fat). Many baking powders contain aluminium, often listed as “flow agent”. Aluminium adversely affects mental function and bone density. Foods cooked above 100C are not as good for us as raw or low-temperature-cooked ones but sometimes nothing else will do than a gorgeous, unctuous choccy treat….