Rich, gooey and devilishly chocoately, these brownies are both a sinful dessert and one of your five-a-day! Fresh beetroot and coffee add an unparalleled depth to the flavour whilst keeping the texture moist and fudgy. Here they are topped with a smooth dark chocolate topping for extra indulgence.
Beetroot in sweet cakes and brownies has been on my radar for a while, having been featured on many a food blog. I’d been itching to try it but not so much to blog about it; there doesn’t always seem the need to add another recipe into the mix. However, since I had some fresh beetroot in my fridge with no real plans for it the time was nigh to at least give it a taste.
After perusing recipe after recipe I came to realise how much diversity there was out there and just how many ways there are to make brownies. I also came to realise that the ingredients in my house didn’t match up to any exact recipes. Never one to follow a recipe anyway, I took a gamble (it really is a gamble making up a sweet recipe!), kept my fingers crossed, and started putting together my own combination of ingredients that I imagined would result in brownies.
To add a deeper flavour to complement the chocolate, I also added fresh coffee. You could use instant coffee for a hassle-free option but as I was brewing up fresh coffee anyway with this Ethiopian Sidama coffee kindly sent to me by Traidcraft, I made sure there was a little extra left for the brownies.
I knew that I wanted to make a vegan version so in place of eggs I mixed up some flax “eggs” with ground flax seeds and water – this recipe could be made with any egg replacer or, if you use them, then real eggs would of course be fine.
Fortunately, my experimentation paid off resulting in both a delicious stash of fudgy, chocolately brownies and a recipe to share. The brownies aren’t very sweet as I wanted to keep the sugar content to a minimum but more can be added according to your taste.
I did add some stevia syrup to the frosting to prevent it being too bitter; again, this can be adjusted to your preference. The frosting also contains coconut oil to make it smoother and fudge-like but it could simply be topped with plain chocolate. Overall, the recipe is quite flexible so don’t be afraid to play around!
Makes 8 brownies
For the brownies:
4 fresh beetroot, peeled, chopped, boiled until softened (retain a small amount of the liquid from cooking), and puréed in a food processor
100g plain flour
50g dairy-free margarine
50g brown sugar
3 flax “eggs” (1tbsp ground flax meal + 3tbsp water per “egg”, whisked for five minutes)
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
3tbsp cocoa powder (I used Green & Black’s organic cocoa)
2tsp baking powder
For the topping:
50g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2tsp coconut oil
1tbsp water from the beetroot
1/4tsp stevia syrup (optional)
Small amount of desiccated coconut or grated dark chocolate to sprinkle on top (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large mixing bowl, cream the margarine and sugar. Once mixed, stir in the flax eggs followed by the beetroot purée.
2. In another bowl, add the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Using a sieve to remove any lumps, slowly add the flour mix to the beetroot mix, a small amount at a time. As you go, gently fold in the flour, avoiding stirring too much.
3. Grease a deep tin or oven-proof dish (glass or ceramic are fine) and pour the mixture in, spreading evenly. Place in the oven and bake for around 45 minutes; the exact cooking time will depend on your oven. For fudgy brownies, you can tell they are cooked when the edges begin to pull away from the container and putting a cocktail stick in doesn’t bring out any lumps (it won’t come out clean for fudgy ones even when they are cooked).
4. Once the brownies are cooked, remove from the oven. Leave for around five minutes to cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack or kitchen paper. Allow them to cool completely before adding the topping.
4. Whilst the brownies are cooling, bring a small amount of water to the boil in a large pan. Place a large heat-proof mixing bowl over the pan and add the chocolate, coconut oil and beetroot water into the bowl. Stir constantly until the ingredients have melted and formed a smooth, glossy paste. Mix in the stevia syrup, if using.
5. Spread the topping evenly over each brownie and sprinkle with either desiccated coconut or grated chocolate. Serve as warm or cold!What do you think about adding vegetables into sweet recipes? Have you ever tried any?