Whenever I take a bite into one of these gloriously rich and fudgy, russet red brownies, I confess I feel a little bit smug. First; because I know that I baked them from scratch with very minimal effort, Second; because every square is a powerhouse of antioxidant goodness, and finally; because they are nut free, egg free, dairy free, vegan, low fructose and could very easily be made gluten free. Sitting at my computer, drinking a cup of tea, and savouring one of these delicious morsels, I feel my sweet craving satisfied and my body nourished. And frankly, that is a pretty darn good reason to feel smug.
When I was eating sugar hand over foot I had little-to-no interest in baking. When I wanted a sugar hit, I wanted it now, and I didn’t have the energy or inclination to bake it myself. Now that my sugar addiction has been (almost) conquered, I no longer have those horrible, insatiable, half crazed, ‘give it to me now’ sugar cravings that would terminate in an almighty sugar crash. But sometimes I still need a little something-something; a little sweet treat every now and then that won’t send my anxiety levels through the roof. One of my biggest challenges has been finding low fructose baking recipes that don’t use nuts or egg products, which don’t work for us in our household due to allergies. Try as I might, I could not find a brownie recipe that was low sugar, egg free and nut free. ‘Make one up then’ a little voice whispered. So that’s exactly what I did…
My baking philosophy is fairly straightforward: it needs to be simple, or I won’t do it. If there are too many steps, too many ingredients, or it makes too much mess and washing up: I’m not interested. I want something that I can throw all the ingredients into a bowl, without having to be too pedantic about measuring (I never measure anything), mix it by hand and bung it in the oven. Honestly, the hardest part of this recipe is the grating of the beetroot, and whilst I have contemplated cooking and pureeing the beetroot, I decided that 5mins of grating wins out over having to wash up an extra baking tray and the food processor.
One of things I am most excited about in this recipe are the ingredients it uses. Some of my favourite ingredients are incorporated in this recipe, chosen for their flavour, colour, texture and nutritional value. Here are the three super stars of this pretty super brownie:
Beetroot: Not only do the beets add a beautiful, fully natural deep red colour to these brownies, but they also add their natural sweetness, fiber and bevy of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium.
Chia Seeds: My allergy friendly egg replacer of choice, chia seeds have the additional health benefits of being loaded with omega 3s, fiber and calcium. To replace one egg in a recipe, I mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of tepid water, and allow it to sit for approx. 5 minutes until it gels, giving it a wee stir every now and then.
Raw Cacao: Rich in antioxidants, iron and magnesium, raw cacao would have to be one of the world’s sexiest foods; it’s delicious and good for you. My husband got me onto raw cacao a couple of years ago as there is a woeful lack of nut free chocolate options commercially available.
Enough chit chat, here is the recipe:
Beetroot Chocolate brownies (makes approx. 16 squares)
2 – 3 large beetroots, grated (approx. 3 cups yield)
3 tbs chia seeds, soaked in ¼ cup tepid water
¼ rice malt syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup raw cacao
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup wholemeal flour (or gluten free substitute)
1/4 melted coconut oil
Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and grease a square 5cm deep baking tin with coconut oil.
Mix the grated beetroot, chia seeds, syrup and vanilla in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and the melted coconut butter. Mix well, ensuring the chia seeds and well distributed throughout the mixture (they tend to clump together once gelled). The mixture should be sticky and not too runny.
Pour into greased baking tin and smooth the top. Bake for approx. 50mins, or until the top bounces back when you lightly touch it.
Cool completely and keep refrigerated. This brownie is best served chilled and improves over time. Serve with double cream, or whipped coconut cream.
Feel smug and satisfied, you non-gender-specific domestic god, you.
Next week on The Purposed Initiative I will share a super-charged bread recipe that requires no kneading or proving time!