It was a simple request from my sweet daughter, and since she is pregnant and prone to cravings, I caved. Cakes, slices and baked goods aren’t my favourite thing to eat, but my family, who like to nibble on a sweet after dinner or for afternoon tea on the weekend, like variety and brownies are popular. These brownies are quite decadent with a fudge topping and I believe are special enough to serve to company.
To make the beetroot puree, don a pair of gloves, peel 4 small/medium beetroot and cut into small pieces. Cook with ample water until tender, put beetroot into a bowl and cool in the freezer for a wee while. Place the beetroot with a few tablespoons of beetroot water into the blender and blitz until it’s a smooth puree. If using the gluten free flour mix of almond meal/brown rice flour, the total baking time is a longer 35 minutes. To achieve a sweeter earthy beetroot flavour, buy young organic beetroot. I added sweetness to the fudge topping to lessen the bitter cacao chocolate taste, yet made it not too sweet, so feel free to adjust the taste to your liking. The thickness of the fudge depends on how much sweetener you add when making the topping. If you’re not a fan of earthy tasting beetroot flavours, a raspberry puree would work equally well.
· Eric L. Ding, PhD, of Harvard Medical School says the apparent health benefits of cacao come from polyphenolic flavonoids in cocoa that have the potential to prevent heart disease. Flavonoids are antioxidants that are commonly found in fruits and vegetables.
CHOCOLATE BEETROOT BROWNIES
Use a 22 cm (8 inch) square cake tin
Makes 16 squares
V, SF, DF, GF
To make a brownie cake:
½ cup almond meal
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup cacao powder
1½ cups coconut sugar
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
pinch of Himalayan salt
1 cup beetroot puree
½ cup almond milk
To make a fudge topping:
¾ cup cacao powder or vegan dark chocolate
¼ cup almond butter
1 cup rice malt syrup, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cacao powder for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180’C (350’F/Gas Mark 4). Line the baking tray with baking paper, and cut a square into each corner to get a clean edge on the brownie cake. In a large bowl, add flour, cacao powder, coconut sugar, bicarbonate of soda, salt and stir to remove any lumps. Add beetroot puree, almond milk and mix well to create a smooth batter. You could also use a whisk to combine the mixture. Pour batter carefully into the prepared cake tin, and bake for about 25 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake in the tin on a wire rack. Prepare the topping by placing all the ingredients into a double boiler and mix until smooth. Cool the fudge topping a little and spread it over the cooled cake with a spoon. Dust with cacao powder, cut into squares and store in an airtight container. Serve with fruit or vegan ice cream for a sweet.