Wednesday, 31 October 2012
If the thought of beetroot in baked goods leaves you somewhat bewildered, let me tell you one thing - whoever first used beetroot in brownies was a genius! They are velvety, super chocolatey, sweet but not excessively so and they are also quite pretty. I think they even beat the double chocolate ones and the vegan ones. And I would say they are about equally awesome as the aubergine chocolate cake. And they are adapted from a recipe from the same cookbook (Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache). A couple of years ago a few of us in St Andrews were somewhat obsessed with this book. All the cakes in it are made with vegetables (mostly root vegetables) and the all have an amazing texture and taste even better. Most of them actually taste way better than their non-vegetable cousins.
Beets, carrots and courgettes lend these cakes structure and airiness and a sweetness that you don't really get when you are using normal sugar. For those of you who like using agave syrup for baking. I feel like the effect is similar to the one you get when you replace sugar with dark agave in a cake.
Anyhow....I made these brownies after a long day at work. When I came home I found a couple of beets looking at me wanting to be eaten but I had no motivation whatsoever to roast them so I chopped them up, stuck them in the microwave and made some brownies. And after brownie number two I felt like it had been a good day after all :)
Velvety Beetroot Chocolate Brownies (adapted from Harry Eastwood)
400g Raw Beetroot (weigh them after peeled, topped and tailed them)
100g Almond Meal
1/4 tsp Salt
150g Cooking Chocolate (the dark kind)
70g Cocoa Powder
2 tbsp Potato Flour or other kind of starch (rice or corn will work just as well)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Preheat your oven to 160˚C. Line a large gratin dish (approx. 27x20cm) with baking parchment.
Cut the beetroot into 2 cm pieces, place it in a microwaveable bowl with a tablespoon of water, cover with some cling film or a plate and microwave for 7 minutes (the original recipe says 10, my microwave is from the stone age (a.k.a. really slow) and whenever I have made these brownies and left them in there for 10 minutes I have ended up with mush, after 10 they are cooked through already).
While you are waiting for the beetroot, break the chocolate into pieces and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and salt until their volume has tripled. If you are using an electric whisk, this should take about 3-5 minutes, if you are using a balloon whisk and are using your own muscle power, I am a) totally impressed with you and b) have no clue how long things are going to take so whisk away until the volume has tripled or your arms fall off :)
Drain the water the beetroot has been cooking in, then puree until smooth. A hand held immersion blender works wonders here. Once you have beetroot puree staring at you, mix in the chocolate, recover the mixture and set it aside so the chocolate can melt.
Fold the almonds, starch, cocoa powder, baking powder and vanilla extract into the eggs. Make sure you have a homogeneous mixture.
Follow this by folding in the beetroot-chocolate purée until combined.
Pour the batter into the gratin dish and smooth out the top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Allow the brownie to cool before you cut it into pieces because it breaks quite easily while it is still hot.
Milk obviously works really well here, but so does wine :)
I hope you have a fabulous rest of your week and that your Halloween costume was less ridiculous than mine (the 80s were somewhat alive). I will be back with another (yes, another) chocolatey recipe :)