Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Real Chocolate Brownies – We Should Cocoa #42

As some of you have probably gathered, this month We Should Cocoa has teamed up with Random Recipes for a decadent extravaganza of chocolatey love. My pick really was decadent. I decided to put all of my books into the mix as most of them will have a chocolate recipe or two. I adopted my usual method of generating a random number and then used Eat Your Books to get the selection. Real Chocolate by Chantal Coady was the result. CT did the honours of picking a page number and low and behold I got a nice easy recipe, Chocolate Brownies – hooray. Not only do I love to eat brownies, but they are a joy to make too. Simple and quick, but with delicious results. The recipe originated from someone called Mandy who married an Italian and went to live in Italy. All I can say is, if she took this recipe with her, she will have made herself one very popular woman.

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Marmite Caramel Brownies

Well, there is the great Marmite debate: love it or hate it? And then there is the even greater divide, chocolate with Marmite, yes or no? I happen to be a big Marmite fan, as long as it is applied sparingly, but combined with chocolate I’m not so sure. Or at least I was somewhat dubious until I was sent a bar of Very Peculiar to try. In case you are unfamiliar with this, it is Marmite chocolate. I like the combination of salt and sweet, but there is a lot more to Marmite than just salt. Read on.

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Beetroot and Orange Brownies – We Should Cocoa #38

Along with the courgette glut in August and September this year, I ended up with a beetroot one too. This was good news. Last year was such a rubbish one down at the plot, we hardly got any courgettes and even less beetroot. So I was very pleased to be able to puzzle over what I could turn my surplus beets into. I had a go at making beetroot brownies a few years ago and seem to remember thinking they were more like cake than brownies. However, that was a while ago and I thought another attempt was in order. Orange is a classic flavouring to pair with beetroot, so this seemed like a good place to start. I had some orange and almond Lindt chocolate I thought would work and I reasoned that adding some orange liqueur could only make things better.

These brownies were definitely gooey rather than cakey and they had the classic crackly top; after due deliberation, I awarded them full marks. Even more remarkably, CT, who is not at all a beetroot fan gave them the thumbs up. The chocolate contributed to the texture with crunchy pieces of almond which added to the overall pleasure.

Ness over at JibberJabberUK is hosting We Should Cocoa this month and has chosen vegetables as the surprise ingredient. This gives plenty of scope and is just right to showcase my beetroot and orange brownies.

All made from scratch and our own beetroots too, I’m submitting these to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays.

With all those home grown beetroot, this is a slightly cheaper brownie than it might otherwise have been, so I am submitting it to Credit Crunch Munch which is hosted this month by Michelle of Utterly Scrummy Food For Families. This is a monthly challenge normally hosted by Fuss Free Flavours or Fab Food 4 All.

I’m also entering these into the No Waste Food Challenge with Turquoise Lemons as the theme is root vegetables this month and I had a mass of beetroot I did not want to waste.

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Beetroot and Orange Brownies

by August-25-2013
A soft but gooey brownie with a good orange flavour and a delightful purple colour.
Ingredients
  • 4 medium sized roots, weighing in at 350g once topped, tailed and skinned) Beetroot – boiled
  • 200g Dark Chocolate (half orange flavoured, half 70% plain)
  • 100g Unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp Orange liqueur
  • 3 Eggs
  • 200g Light brown sugar
  • 50g Dark brown sugar
  • 100g Flour (half wholemeal spelt, half plain white)
  • 25g Cocoa powder
Instructions
1. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a pan over very low heat. Stir until smooth, then allow to cool.2. Puree the beetroot with the orange liqueur – I used a stick blender.3. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until the mixture is thick and has doubled in volume.4. Fold in the chocolate mixture, followed by the beetroot trying not to stir all of the air out of the egg mixture.5. Sieve in the flour and cocoa and fold in until just combined.6. Pour into a 9″ sq silicone cake mould and bake in the middle of the oven at 180°C for about 30 minutes when the top is firm, but the middle is still a bit squidgy.7. Allow to cool in the mould, then cut into 16 squares.
Details

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16 pieces

Sour Cherry Brownies – A Miracle

Brownies & Blondies | 28th June 2013 | By

This is another post that’s been sitting in my archives for a very long time and one I keep thinking I must post as it might be useful to others. I call these miracle brownies, because just as I thought they were a complete flop and I was panicking about running out of time to make a substitute, a long shot paid off and they came together quite miraculously.

Sour Cherry Brownies

In my humble opinion, no self respecting cake display is complete without some brownies. So when I was planning what to bake for my friend’s house party, I knew some sort of brownies would need to be included. As it happened, I came across a recipe for Chocolate and Cherry Brownies in Green&Black’s Unwrapped when I was looking for another recipe. Brilliant, I had two bars of G&B’s sour cherry chocolate I’d bought at some point just waiting for the right occasion. I have a particular fondness for this bar, it’s a 60% dark chocolate packed full of sour cherries. The bitter, sweet and sour makes for a terrific combination. So substituting this for the dried cherries in the recipe, adding some cocoa and scaling it down by a third, this is what I did:

  • Melted 200g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat with 2 x 100g bars of dark cherry chocolate.
  • With electric beaters, whisked 300g vanilla sugar (granulated) with 4 eggs (1 duck & 3 medium hen’s) and a pinch of Pink Himalayan salt for several minutes until thick and tripled in volume.
  • Stirred the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
  • Sifted in 130g flour (half wholemeal, 1/2 white) and 1 tbsp cocoa then folded in until just incorporated.
  • Poured into a 9″ sq cake mould and baked at 180C for 25 minutes.
  • Left to cool and tried to cut into 36 squares BUT disaster, the mixture had not only sunk but was still liquid! Having spent the day baking cakes, I’d had enough at this point, so covered them up and went to bed.
  • In the morning with a clearer head, I thought there was nothing to lose by attempting to rebake them. So back into the oven they went for a further 12 minutes.
  • Amazingly, the mixture rose again – it was a miracle!
  • At this point, I was convinced I’d overdone them, but on cooling and cutting this time, they were just about perfect.
Sour Cherry Brownies

So, I learnt a really useful lesson here. Brownies can be doubly baked with no harm coming to them at all. The brownies were so good, I vowed I would make them again as soon as possible – nearly two years on, I still haven’t done so.

Chococo Brownies and Matcha Madeleines

Last weekend saw me very busy with a mammoth bake for a friend’s birthday party. When asked if I could make some cakes to bring along, the only request made was for small cakes that were easy to eat and weren’t cupcakes. It took me a while to come up with some ideas. I wanted to include lots of different flavours, textures and colours. Eventually I got there. Sometimes I find it hard to get hold of good quality free range eggs. Luckily, I had plenty of organic ones from Penbugle Farm which I’d been given to use.

Brownies just had to be on the menu. I decided to use a recipe from my newest chocolate book Chococo which CT bought for me as a Valantines surprise. This uses far less sugar than is normal in brownies, but the author Claire Burnet claims that they are still sweet and delicious. I Swapped the pecans for walnuts, the rice flour for buckwheat flour and made a few other adjustments.

This is how I made:

Walnut Brownies

  • Melted 150g unsalted butter with 225g 70% dark chocolate in a pan over low heat, then left to cool.
  • Whisked 125g dark brown sugar with 3 large organic eggs. 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp fleur de sel using electric beaters until mixture was thick, pale and doubled in volume.
  • Sifted in 50g buckwheat flour and folded in as lightly as possible.
  • Stirred in 60g chopped walnuts as lightly as possible.
  • Folded in the chocolate mixture until just incorporated.
  • Poured into a 22cm (9″) sq cake mould and scattered 20g chopped walnuts over the top.
  • Baked at 180C for 17 minutes. Left to go cold then cut into 16 squares.
These were not like your average brownie; they were very light and quite delicate. Despite the reduced amount of sugar compared to most brownies, Claire was right: these tasted sweet and delicious.

As well as the honey and spice cakes I’ve already blogged about, I also made Blackcurrant Bakewell Slices and Date and Rum Slices. The piece de resistance which I will post about later was this lime and pistachio birthday cake. CT got into the spirit of thing and drew appropriately illustrated labels for each bake. We all had a deal of fun on the night including a Beetle Drive and lots of dancing.

The final bake I took along were these Japanese green tea Madeleines which CT refers to as Matcheleines and which I based on my chocolate chilli Madeleines. As some of you will have gathered by now, I am a big fan of using matcha in baking. It works particularly well, not only giving an interesting colour, but adding great flavour too. They were as good as I was hoping they might be; CT would have happily demolished the lot given half the chance. There were certainly none left at the end of the evening. Perhaps I should have made crepes as my friend is actually Breton.

This is how I made:

Matcha Madeleines (Matcheleines)

  • Melted 75g unsalted butter gently in a small pan then set aside to cool.
  • Whisked 2 duck eggs and 75g golden caster sugar together for quite a long time it seemed, using electric beaters. Whisked until the mixture had trebled in volume and was pale and thick.
  • Sifted in 90g flour (half spelt, half white), 1 tbsp matcha (Japanese powdered green tea) and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • Folded this in as gently as possible trying not to lose too much air from the eggs.
  • Poured the butter in down one side of the bowl and folded this in until just incorporated.
  • Placed 1 tbsp of the mixture into each of 16 Madeleine moulds.
  • Baked for 10 minutes at 200C until well risen and firm to the touch.
  • Turned out onto a wire rack to cool.
  • Dusted with caster sugar.

As Madeleines are a classic French bake (mais peut etre pas normalment avec le matcha), I am entering them into Tea Time Treats where the theme this month is French tarts, cakes bakes and pastries – ooh la la. Hosted this month with Karen of Lavender and Lovage, the challenge is co-hosted by Kate of What Kate Baked.

These also fit nicely into Bloggers Around the World where Chris has chosen Japan for this month’s national cuisine. Matcha is the taste of Japan for CT who drank it zealously whilst he was there.

I’m also entering the brownies into Choc Full Easter over at Jagruti’s Cooking Odyssey an Easter event celebrating ….. chocolate of course!

Nathan Outlaw’s Cornish Salted Fudge Brownies – Random Recipes #22

This month Dom tasked us with randomly selecting a recipe. Not from a book, but from our piles of clippings and odd cuttings filed away in recipe books – you mean I’m not the only one that does this? I’ve been squirrelling away various recipe cuttings for years and have probably lost more than I currently have. I cut them out because I really like the look of the recipe and know I have to make it very soon. Then it somehow disappears into a pile, as a bookmark and occasionally into an actual file. Now, I may not be as organised as I’d like to be and I can’t guarantee that every chocolate recipe clipping is in the same place, but I do have a cuttings folder of chocolate recipes. This was the one I thrust under CT’s nose, told him to close his eyes, put in his hand and pull something out, which he obligingly did.

And out he drew a recipe from Food, a local magazine focussing on the South West: a recipe from celebrity chef Nathan Outlaw no less. Nathan Outlaw is one of Cornwall’s Michelin starred chefs and although I’ve never eaten any of his food, Fiona of London Unattached is quite a fan. His recipe for chocolate, fudge and Cornish sea salt brownies put a happy smile on my face. I always have a tub of Cornish sea salt on hand as I use it to make my weekly loaves, so that wasn’t a problem. The Cornish fudge wasn’t a problem either. We have our very own fudge maker here in Liskeard, Gingham Chicken and very popular her fudge is proving to be. I had to adapt the recipe a little as the quantities were large. I used 100% wholemeal spelt, which I find works perfectly in brownies.

This is how I made:

Cornish Salted Fudge Brownies

  • Melted 110g unsalted butter in a large pan with 110g of Fairtrade 85% chocolate.
  • Stirred in 160g dark brown sugar and took of the heat to cool slightly.
  • Beat in two large duck eggs.
  • Stirred in 110g wholemeal spelt flour
  • Added a scant tsp of Cornish sea salt and stirred.
  • Chopped 50g of local Cornish fudge and stirred into the mix.
  • Poured into an 8″ square cake mould and baked at 150C for 20 minutes (as the recipe stated). It was still runny at this point, so I turned the oven up to 180C and baked for another 7 minutes. It was well risen and the top was crusty, but it was still gooey (not runny) in the middle – just right.
  • Left to cool then cut into 9 squares.

Even though I love salted caramel and salted chocolate, I did find it very strange at first bite to taste salt in a brownie. In fact, I’m sitting on the fence on this one and can’t make my mind up if I like it. I don’t dislike it and the brownies were lovely and fudgy and it was fun to come across the chunks of fudge, which gave additional flavour and texture. CT, whilst also sitting on the fence, managed to polish off a fair few of them.

These brownies are my submission for this month’s Random Recipes with the Dashing Dom of Belleau Kitchen.

I’m also adding submitting this to Jac’s Bookmarked Recipes from Tinned Tomatoes.

Apple Ricotta Cheesecake Brownies for National Chocolate Week

Brownies & Blondies | 10th October 2012 | By

It’s National Chocolate Week 2012 and I fancied some brownies. I had a tub of ricotta to use up and some Cornish apples from my mother’s garden. So to celebrate this most auspicious week, I decided to experiment and make some apple ricotta cheesecake brownies.

This is how I made them:

  • Peeled, cored and sliced two medium apples weighing 200g (unspecified Cornish variety) and placed in a pan.
  • Added 50g vanilla sugar (caster) and a tbsp of water.
  • Simmered for 5 minutes until the apples were soft and no longer wet. Allowed to cool.
  • Stirred in 250g ricotta.
  • Beat in 1 medium egg.
  • Melted 100g unsalted butter in a large pan on low heat.
  • Broke up a 100g bar 85% dark chocolate (G&B) and added to the pan.
  • Added 200g dark muscavado sugar and stirred well until all smooth, then left to cool.
  • Beat in 2 duck eggs and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Stirred in 75g wholemeal spelt.
  • Spooned half of the batter into a 9″ square mould, covered this with the cheese and apple mixture and then topped with the remaining batter.
  • Dragged the end of a teaspoon through the mixture to try and swirl it a bit, but it stubbornly decided to stay a sandwich rather than have a marble effect.
  • Baked in the middle of the oven at 180C for 25 minutes when the top had set but the middle remained slightly squidgy.
The chocolate gods must have been smiling on me because these turned out to be a fitting tribute to National Chocolate Week. They had a crusty sugar top, which turned deliciously chewy in a toffeish sort of way. They were soft in the middle and would serve equally well as a pudding eaten with a spoon. They retained their shape, however and could be eaten perfectly well using fingers, as CT can testify; I did have to shoo him away from the tin. The cheese was sandwiched elegantly in the middle and acted as a foil to the dark richness of the brownie. The 85% dark chocolate combined with the slight tartness of the apple, helped to counteract the sweetness, making for a very pleasant eating experience.

As these brownies contain local and very seasonal apples, I am entering this into Simple and in Season, guest hosted this month by Nazima of Franglais Kitchen.

I’m also entering this into Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays as it is all made from scratch – of course!

Peanut Butter Brownies

4 Star, Brownies & Blondies | 16th September 2012 | By

What cake event is complete without a brownie on offer? Well that’s what I thought anyway. So when it was time for my cake bake for the Book Swap event (some months ago now), it was just a question of what type of brownie to go for. I’d noticed a lot of peanut butter and chocolate combinations on the blogosphere and I’d not used this pairing since I made peanut butter blondies over a couple of years ago and before that peanut butter cupcakes. Both had worked well, so peanut butter brownies it was going to be. I based my recipe on one I had seen on the BBC ‘s Good Food site. Since then of course, I’ve also made caramelised banana and peanut butter cake and peanut butter cookies.

This is how I did it:

  • Melted about 2/3 of a 340g jar of non sweetened peanut butter in a large pan over a low heat.
  • Added a good glug of roasted peanut oil.
  • Added 300g dark muscovado sugar and stirred.
  • Added 150g dark chocolate (G&B 72% Cook’s Chocolate) and left to melt.
  • Stirred it all together until well combined.
  • Beat in 3 duck eggs, one by one.
  • Stirred in 100g wholemeal flour.
  • Poured into a 9″ sq cake mould and leveled out.
  • Melted a tbsp of peanut butter in a clean pan with a small glug of roasted peanut oil.
  • Dribbled this over the top of the brownie mixture.
  • Baked at 180C for 20 minutes.
  • Melted 40g of milk chocolate (G&B 37% Cook’s Chocolate) and using a spoon, drizzled this over the top of the cooked brownie in a random fashion.
  • Left to cool.
  • Cut into 16 pieces.
They were indeed very good and proved to be popular. Luckily, I managed to save one for CT and snaffle one for myself.
This month’s random letter for Alpha Bakes happens to be P for Peanut Butter Brownies of course. Alpha Bakes is hosted this month by Caroline Makes and is co-hosted on alternate months by Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies & a Review

Cookie-Dough Brownies

When asked if I’d like to review a copy of The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, I was intrigued. A whole cookbook dedicated to raw cookie dough? Well it appears that the author, Lindsay Landis, is a cookie dough fanatic. I have to confess some sympathy here as I often think licking out the bowl is the best bit.

The book is spiral bound, but with a hard cover and spine which makes it much easier to file in the bookshelf. It also makes for easy use with the pages staying firmly open where you want them. There is a short introduction on cookie dough and what the book is about. Reassuringly, the first thing you learn is that the dough is eggless so there is no need to worry about eating it raw. Bearing in mind that cookie dough is the whole purpose of the book, this is just as well. There are chapters on: candy, cookies and brownies, cakes, custards and pies, frozen treats, indulgent breakfasts and party fare. Every recipe contains cookie dough either in, on top or underneath. Who would have thought cookie dough was so versatile? Peanut butter and chocolate thumbprint cookies anyone? I found the recipes fun and inventive but also well written and easy to follow.

Although not all recipes have a picture of the finished product, there is a goodly number that do. The photographs are attractive and not as artificial looking as some; they make you immediately want to cook or eat more than is good for you. They make the book a real feast for the eyes and were taken by Lindsay herself. More of her recipes and photography are available on her blog Love and Olive Oil.

I was a little surprised to see the measurements are all in cups; I hadn’t realised the book was aimed primarily at the US market. Luckily I had the wonderful measuring spoons that Jac gave me, so it wasn’t as difficult as it might have been. I was a little disappointed though.

There were several recipes that appealed to me, but I opted to try out the chocolate chip cookie dough brownies first. I made about half the amount specified, though it was hard to split the cup measures. As a result, I made slightly more than half of the brownie mixture. I also used wholemeal spelt instead of white flour in the brownies as I like the texture and slight nutty quality it brings. For the cookie dough, I omitted the vanilla as I was using cardamom sugar.

This is what I did:

  • Melted 75g unsalted butter in a medium sized pan over low heat with 50g dark chocolate (G&B 70%).
  • Removed from the heat and stirred in just under 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar.
  • Added 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder and 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt and mixed until smooth.
  • Beat in two medium eggs and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Stirred in 1/4 cup of plain white flour.
  • Poured into a 2lb loaf mould and baked for 15 mins at 180C.
  • Left to cool.
  • Creamed 75g unsalted butter with 1/2 cup light muscovado sugar and 1/8 cup of cardamom (caster) sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Mixed in 1 tbsp milk and 1/8 tsp salt (Himalayan pink).
  • Added 3/8 cup of flour and stirred.
  • Chopped 50g milk chocolate (G&B 35%) & added to the cookie dough.
  • Spooned this onto the brownies and tried to spread as evenly as possible.
  • Melted 25g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat with 50g dark chocolate (G&B 70%) and stirred until smooth.
  • Poured this over the cookie dough and placed in the fridge to set.
  • Turned out of the mould and cut into 18 1″ pieces.

I had a feeling my brownies wouldn’t look anything like as good as the ones in the book and I was right. I know part of that is my own impatience, which is perhaps why I am neither a stylist nor a photographer.

The first thing I noticed when biting into these, was that brownies straight from the fridge are not nearly as nice as those at room temperature. They have less taste and a cold hard texture – I won’t make that mistake again. I also realised that I prefer my brownies straight and not with extras on top of them. The cookie dough and chocolate were a great combination, but all three together just didn’t do it for me.

The brownies reminded CT of cake truffles. He thought they were delicious, but later admitted he preferred eating the layers separately. The brownie worked as a brownie, whereas the cookie was redolent of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice-cream which is a firm favourite of his. So in essence, I think he agrees with me.

I will certainly be making cookie dough again, but next time I will be trying out Lindsay’s cookie dough truffles, which I think will work much better.

Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

When Kavey announced that her Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge this month was for chocolate, how could I not enter? Making ice-cream without an ice-cream maker is not my favourite activity, but after the success I’d had with my chilli chocolate ice-cream a few months ago, I was willing to give it another go. Decision made, I turned immediately to Ben Vear’s Make your own organic ice-cream to see what other chocolate delights he had waiting in store for me to try. Ah ha, a recipe for chocolate brownie ice-cream.

First thing to do was make some brownies then. I used this recipe for almond toffee brownies using 85% dark chocolate (G&B) and instead of using 3 eggs yolks, I used 1 duck egg yolk and 1 whole duck egg. Oh, a handful of chopped walnuts were also thrown in. I slightly overcooked the brownies, so they went crunchy rather than toffee like, but were certainly not cakey. This suited me fine as I thought the crunchy texture would go well with the smooth ice-cream.

This is how I made the ice-cream:

  • Placed a medium pan over a low heat and poured in 200ml double cream and 200ml milk.
  • Added 75g caster sugar and 80g 85% dark chocolate (G&B).
  • Whisked 1 duck egg in a bowl with 75g caster sugar until thick and pale.
  • Poured the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisked until all incorporated.
  • Returned the mixture to the pan and stirred over a low heat for about 15 minutes until the mixture had turned to custard, ie thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Poured into a plastic container and placed in the freezer for an hour.
  • Removed from the freezer and blended thoroughly with a stick blender to prevent ice crystals forming.
  • Returned to the freezer.
  • Repeated this process twice more.
  • Stirred in 1 large brownie cut into small pieces (about 100g).
  • Left to freeze completely.
As I expected, the result was delicious and the crunch of the brownie made an interesting contrast to the creamy smoothness of the ice-cream. The permutations for this are endless, you could use any number of different brownie recipes to give varying flavours and textures as well as flavouring the actual ice-cream with chilli, orange, cinnamon or whatever else grabs your fancy. Next time – yes I really think there might be a next time – I’d like to try a fudgy type of brownie to see how the it compares.
The day I served this up, it was really hot, so the ice-cream had virtually melted before I could take a photograph – that’s my excuse for rubbish photographs this time! I served this with some of Dom’s white chocolate sauce, although it really didn’t need it.

If ice-cream is your thing, I suggest you have a look at the Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream round-ups on Kavey’s blog Kavey Eats – you’ll see some fabulous creations.