Chilli Beetroot Brownies

After gorging on the extra dark chocolate left over from my last post for apple, pecan and dark chocolate biscotti, it occurred to me that I haven’t done anything really chocolatey yet! I decided this needed to be rectified as soon as possible and another realisation quickly followed: while I have made blondies, I have never made brownies! It’s safe to say you can’t go wrong with brownies. Whether they are soft, gooey, thick or thin, everyone loves them and you should treat anyone who doesn’t with a degree of caution. There are hundreds of different recipes for brownies that will give lots of different outcomes, and while I use a recipe at work that makes a delicious chunky brownie with a melty centre, I am sticking with my guns and going with my own recipe I have been using for years. This is the one I carted with me to France and they always went down an absolute storm! If you’ve ever been lucky enough in your childhood to have the brownie mix in the big red box from costco, this recipe turns out a pretty similar. And judging from our cake stalls at school, this certainly isn’t a bad thing.

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However, in my true style I couldn’t just stick with a bog standard brownie recipe. Luckily, brownie mixes are fairly easy to adapt and go really well with lots of flavours (mocha walnut are another personal favourite). 9 times out of 10 you just add in your ingredient and voila! Since I have been a bit under the weather the last week, resulting in a lack of exercise and an excess of food consumption, I wanted to see if I could attempt to make brownies slightly healthier. Although it is a slightly ridiculous expectation I managed to find a solution that cut out a third of the sugar from my recipe. This is where the beetroot comes in. According to fitness magazine, Marisa Churchill says that “Beets add sweetness and moisture without taking away from the flavour.” I thought I would put this theory to the test. It’s not that I don’t trust Marisa as I know chocolate and beetroot isn’t exactly a modern revelation, but if I can make my brownies even a teensy bit healthier I’m in. I also added a bit of chilli for a little kick and used really dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa solids to boost the shred of healthiness my brownies had acquired.

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Again, being modest, I have to admit they turned out pretty well! Although they didn’t look quite as pretty as my normal brownies, they were soft and rich with a nice denseness to them. While the taste of beetroot wasn’t prominent, it definitely gave the whole thing a lift and added an earthiness that really complimented the darkness of the chocolate. The hint of chilli was definitely detectable as well, building up a really nice warmth with each bite. Since these brownies are so rich, you can also satisfy your cravings with even a small piece. So while I am by no means claiming these brownies are healthy in any way shape or form, they will definitely help you shave a few calories off your normal teatime treat. You can easily convert this recipe back to my normal one by taking out the beetroot and the chilli and adding an extra 50g of caster sugar, but whichever option you go for I hope you enjoy!

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Chilli Beetroot Brownies (makes 16 small brownies)

  • 100g dark chocolate, at least 70%
  • 110g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 40g plain flour
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 70g raw beetroot, peeled and grated
  • Pinch of chilli flakes

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/ 160C Fan/ 350F.
  2. Melt 100g of chocolate with the butter and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk together the eggs and the sugar with an electric hand mixer until pale and slightly stiff. This could take a few minutes.
  4. Gently fold in the melted chocolate mix.
  5. Sift in the cocoa powder and flour and add the beetroot and the chilli flakes. Fold in gently until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  6. Grease and line a small baking tin and pour in the mix.
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes.
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