Monday, 23 May 2011

Chocolate...and BEETROOT?! It can't be done.....

Think that?? Then where have you been? Chocolate and Beetroot are the new "it" thing when it comes to desserts. Goodbye Carrot Cake and Hello Beetroot cake. I've heard Beetroot cake is the new LBD, THE new black, Gaga?! It is equally as crazy peppered with originality and a little something amazing that you just can't put your finger on... My discovery of the blessed Beetroot cake comes with a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we shall begin. My Honeymoon has sadly taken its toll on my waistline with me racking up an impressive 7lbs in just over two weeks; America I salute you and every deep fat fryer in your blessed country, you know how to do some good food. Good food it is but healthy food it isn't. Im back home and paying the price for my indulgences now but one problem still sticks: I am a complete fat girl that loves food and refuses to neglect even a chocolate brownie. My solution to said problem? Do it the skinny girl way. My skinny girl way lends favour from one of my most used cookbooks, Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache. The recipes are sitting just on the right side of sinful with a great dollop of healthy reassurance. The best things about their recipes are that they are so customisable, so with a few tiny tweaks I have created my dream Brownie.

  • 400g of peeled raw beetroot cut into small cubes
  • 130g whole hazelnuts 
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 220g light muscovado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 150g of dark chocolate, the best quality you can afford but at least 70% cocoa solids please!
  • 2tbsp white rice flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp fresh espresso coffee
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Warm your oven up to 160°C. 
  2. I use a 30cmX20cmX5cm brownie tin which is non stick but still rub it with a tiny bit of flavourless oil, like groundnut to prevent any sticking at all. 
  3. Pop your cubed beetroot into a microwavable bowl and heat for 10 minutes with a tiny splash of water 
  4. While the beetroot is cooking, blitz up 100g of the hazelnuts to the finest powder you can. You really need a food processor for this to create the finest crumbs possible, it wants to look like dust
  5. Whisk up the eggs, sugar and salt for a good 5 minutes with an electric whisk. It can be done by hand but will take a little while longer and a lot more arm strength. You want the mixture to have tripled in volume and to look light and bubble filled
  6. Smash up your chocolate with careless abandon, i tend to leave it in the packet and attack it with a rolling pin- very satisfying feeling...
  7. By now the beetroot should be cooked. Sieve it to remove any excess water and fling in your dark chocolate shards. Cover the bowl with some clingfilm and if the room is cool, a tea towel also. Leave it to stand for a few minutes and the beetroots residual heat should melt the chocolate. After a few minutes remove the cling film and with a hand held blender, puree the chocolate and beetroot together to form a deep sludgy mass.
  8. Mix the now powdered hazelnuts, rice flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso and vanilla extract into your fluffy egg mixture
  9. Add the chocolate/beetroot pulp now and mix until combined but don't spend too much time on it. The secret to a perfectly squidgy brownie is to not mess with the batter to much. A little austerity never did a brownie any harm. 
  10. Pour your mixture into the tin and sprinkle on the remaining 30g of hazelnuts. I like to have bashed the hazelnuts slightly with rolling pin so they are splintered and bruised. A rolling pin and a bit more attacking usually works a treat. 
  11. Cook in the middle of the oven for between 30-35 minutes. Begin checking at 30 by sticking a cocktail stick into the middle to the tray. Brownies are ment to be ever so slightly damp so a little chocolate colour on the cocktail stick is fine, if its still a little too loose, leave in the oven for the last 5 minutes. 
  12. Remove from the oven and cool the brownies in the tin for 20 minutes before cutting into individual portions and releasing them into the wild. They won't last long i promise!

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