AKA the VERY experimental chocolate brownie….
Yes… I am aware that in the space of a year, this is my third different chocolate brownie recipe to make it up on the blog – and my second in a row. Ooops! I appear to be on a bit of a brownie trip at the moment. I’ve been to a lot of food markets recently and am noticing that gluten-free brownies seem to be plentiful these days, even my favourite lunch chain LEON has one to offer. I tasted an especially good beetroot one last weekend from Sugargrain at the Chocolate Festival on London’s Southbank. I’m not sure what the ingredients list was, but it tasted good! – Probably containing some kind of grain or sugar though.As a base for my experimental brownies I used chestnut flour, as I like the dense texture and its unique taste, plus chestnut flour is naturally sweet, so there is far less need for heaps of added sweetener. I was all out of the chestnut flour supply I bought back from Italy last year, so was rather chuffed this week to find a packet in an Italian deli in London’s Soho for under £5 for a 500g packet – Lina Stores on Brewer Street if you are ever passing. Later on that day I also saw some in a well known organic food store for £6.99 for the same sized packet…
The idea of using prunes, came from an old Weight Watchers recipe (yes been there done that..) the idea is that the prunes help to add a gooey sticky texture. The benefit of using prunes over dates, is that they have a far lower carbohydrate (therefore sugar) content. However I don’t think I used enough to have quite the desired affect. 35g was all I had in the cupboard so I would definitely increase this in a future batch. I’d also love to experiment with macadamia nuts or raspberries as a textural filling instead of walnuts, especially as macadamia nuts remind me of white chocolate.
I’m really pleased with the way this experiment turned out. If you’d have told me a year ago that I would have been able to dream up a brownie recipe without using a recipe, I just wouldn’t have believed you. I’ve obviously been reading far too many cookbooks and scrupulously reading ingredients lists of the brownies I’ve been sampling…
Ingredients (makes 16 small brownie bites)
- 35g stoned dried prunes (organic, where possible, and choose a brand without any extra vegetable oil, glazing agent or random preservative)
- ¼ cup coconut powder
- 50g walnuts
- 1 large free range egg
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened 100% cocoa powder
- tsp vanilla essence
- 1 Tablespoon honey (raw), or other sweetener such as sweet freedom
- 1.5 cups of chestnut flour
- ½ cup ground almonds
- 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
There are lots of bits and pieces to this recipe. My advice is to do all the preparations, then clear up before moving on to the combining part of the recipe. I made a right tip of my kitchen trying to do everything at once…
- Soak the prunes in 2 tablespoons of boiling water & set aside (for as long as possible, ideally 2hrs/overnight). When they have softened blend to a paste.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.
- Grease (with coconut oil) and line a square baking tray – Approx 7 square inch tin perfect.
- Blend the coconut powder with a cup of water and set aside. (You could alternatively use coconut milk for this bit.)
- Chop the walnuts into small pieces.
- Separate the egg, and whisk the white till light and fluffy.
- Set up a double boiler (a mixing bowl over a saucepan of hot water).
- Melt the coconut oil, and measure ¼ cup into the double boiler, add the cocoa powder, the egg yolk, and the coconut milk mixture, stirring continuously until smooth and combined. Do not allow the mixture to boil or overheat.
- Next add the prune paste, vanilla essence and honey (I’m not sure if the honey is absolutely necessary, but as I was making these for other people I panicked that they wouldn’t find them sweet enough. Not everyone likes 100% cocoa as much as me…). Remove from the heat.
- In a separate bowl combine the chestnut flour, ground almonds, and baking powder. Add the runny chocolate mixture and stir until fully combined. Next fold in the whisked egg white and finally throw in the chopped walnuts.
- Pour into the lined baking tray, smoothing over with a knife, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove, cool, then slice into squares.
- Storing the brownies in the fridge will given them a bit of ‘bite’ when you dig in.
Stay tuned as the quest for the perfect brownie recipe continues…