I told Miss GF I was making ‘Beetroot Brownies’ and she said “Yuk”. She is not a beetroot fan apparently… but presented with one of these babies on a plate and it was gone in a flash… which tells me they are clearly not ‘beetrooty’, but are absolutely delicious and still full of goodness.
I was prompted to make them as a result of the wonderful crop of beets we have nestled in our vegetable garden right now. They have evidently enjoyed the summer warmth and sunshine and have grown huge and succulent.
Beets are full of good stuff and (I understand) contain a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains, which are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying. They are also chock full of vitamins and minerals, especially folic acid, manganese and potassium.
Goodness aside, the thing I most love about beetroot is its colour. Nothing comes close to the incredible depth and hue of the dark pinky-red flesh, which doesn’t fade on cooking.
The earthy flavour of beetroot can be a bit love-hate for some people, but I personally enjoy it, especially when paired with houmous on toast, popped onto salads with grilled Halloumi or roasted in cubes alongside baby potatoes with a sprinkling of thyme.
Baked in brownies however, its magnificence rises to new heights. Beetroot and dark chocolate it seems, are a marriage made in heaven. The earthiness of the beets seem to intensify the richness and depth of cocoa, taking it to an almost intoxifying level of serotonin-inducing decadence… Simply divine.
I had every intention of developing my own recipe for beetroot brownies, after my internet trawl revealed page after page of insipid or dry-looking morsels which did not inspire… but then I came across a recipe from Riverford Organic, that had my attention. The brownies looked moist and very dark… sticky-soft with a crisp coat… and I knew I had stumbled across brownie heaven.
For this post, I have more or less followed the Riverford recipe as written, with a couple of very minor tweaks… There seems no point in tinkering too much with perfection.
I have also rushed them onto the blog, because I figure that I may not be the only one out there with rows of red beets taking over the veg plot and it is always good to have extra inspiration on how to use them.
August also signals the very last ever ‘We Should Cocoa‘ blog challenge with Choclette over at Tin and Thyme. We Should Cocoa has been a bit of an institution in our house and since I started blogging. The challenge itself has been running for eight years and was always one of my favourite recipe link-ups. I am honestly gutted that it is ending. It was one of the brilliant old-style blog challenges that encouraged you to consider a particular ingredient or theme and produce a recipe to fit the bill. I loved those challenges…. they were great inspiration and often formed the basis of my baking month, as I wracked my brain to come up with suitable gluten free creations that would rival the bakes of bloggers who I considered to be better, both at blogging and baking. I felt quite lost for a while when they gradually disappeared one by one, to be replaced by ‘share any old recipe’ linkies.
I will be so sad to see the demise of We Should Cocoa and I didn’t want not to be part of its send-off…. So Choclette… these Beetroot Brownies are for you… with thanks! x
I am also sharing them with the following :
Beetroot Brownies – A recipe adapted from Riverford Organic Farmers (makes 16 brownies)
- Prepare your beetroot in advance – Peel and chop the beetroot into cubes (you will need 250g pureed weight, so allowing for some getting stuck to the sides of the blender, it is worth cooking about 280g).
- Place in a glass/microwavable bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of water.
- Seal with clingfilm and cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the beetroot has softened and cooked. Allow to cool.
- Drain the beetroot using a sieve and puree in a blender until you have a smooth paste.
- Line a 23 cm (9 inch) square baking tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- In a separate glass bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together, either in a microwave (set at medium, for 30 second bursts, stirring between each) or set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring frequently. Once melted, stir to ensure the mixture is completely blended. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, beat together the eggs with the vanilla and sugar until smooth and light.
- Weigh and mix together the cocoa, flour, almonds and baking powder, making sure any lumps are broken down (I weigh mine into an airtight container and shake vigorously). Set aside.
- Add the pureed beetroot and the chocolate mixture to the egg mix and beat through until smooth.
- Lastly, gently fold in the dry ingredients to the wet mix until even.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until just firm to the touch. Be careful not to over-cook (a skewer inserted should come out slightly sticky).
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin, before turning out and carefully cutting into squares. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar (optional) and serve.