Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Tropical Brownies – Random Recipes 7

Tropical Brownies

Brownies & Blondies | 7th August 2011 | By

With heart in mouth I watched as CT picked a recipe for this month’s Random Recipe challenge, created by the dastardly Dom of Belleau Kitchen. This month we get to randomly pick any book in our collection and then randomly pick a recipe from said book. In my case this means a choice from my nine and a bit chocolate books, rather than my whole collection.

CT always does the honours so that I am unable to cheat. He’d already picked the book and it was the one I was most dreading, although I was also rather curious. I was given The new taste of chocolate by Maricel E Presilla many years ago and I have never made a single thing from it. Now why is that? It’s a lovely book and I enjoy reading it. It’s subtitle is: a cultural and natural history of cacao with recipes and that is what it is. Maricel was brought up in Cuba where cocoa was grown on the family farm. She gives a personal and informative account of the subject and there are many interesting pictures to peruse. The trouble starts when it comes to the recipes. Not only are they in US measures (and I do not get on with cups) but they are rather on the extravagant and complicated side. These two factors have combined to keep the book well clear of my kitchen. Thankfully CT picked a recipe for Flo Braker’s Tropical Night Brownies, which meant I had only one of my two aforementioned aversions to cope with – brownies are comfortingly easy. Perhaps, I was being a little harsh after all, Dom is a genius and his random recipe challenge is great fun.

Even if I’d wanted to, I wouldn’t have been able to follow this recipe exactly. One of the problems with using cups as a measurement is that there is no standard UK equivalent. Every conversion table I’ve looked at gives a different result and who has a conversion for cocoa nibs? But apart from differences in the quantities used, I omitted the cocoa nibs as I had a bar of chocolate containing them that must have been waiting for just this occasion. I also used spelt flour and substituted vanilla sugar and some vanilla chocolate for the vanilla extract.

  • Roasted 2oz cashew nuts in the oven at 200C for 10 minutes until golden, then chopped roughly.
  • In a large pan, melted 5oz unsalted butter with 5oz cocoa nibbed chocolate (77%) and 2oz 85% dark chocolate.
  • Stirred in 4oz vanilla sugar and 6oz soft brown sugar.
  • Left to cool for 5 minutes then beat in 3 duck eggs and a tbsp rum.
  • Sifted in 5oz flour (3oz spelt, 2oz white) and 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • Stirred in 2oz desiccated coconut and the cashews.
  • Poured into a 9″ sq cake mould and baked at 180C for 17 minutes.
  • Sprinkled the top with icing sugar.
  • Cut into 16 squares.

Cooked to perfection (not something I always manage with brownies), these were dark, lush and delicious, especially warm from the oven where I just couldn’t help myself! They had a fragrant flavour which I can’t quite describe but CT thought it was fruity. They were wonderfully chewy, had a nice crunch to the top and were altogether addictive. I shall be making these again.


  1. Rhyleysgranny

    7th August 2011 at 7:41 am

    Your Brownies look delicious. I know what you mean about cups. I never got on with them but now I have bitten the bullet and just gone with the cups thanks to two little pyrex measuring jugs from Tescos.LOL They seem to work.

  2. Hanna

    7th August 2011 at 7:53 am

    Coconut and cashew in a brownie sounds delicious! I bit the bullet and bought a cheap set of metal measuring cups from Sainsburys and they are great for measuring things like popping corn and nuts but not so much for flour and icing sugar!

  3. Chele

    7th August 2011 at 9:49 am

    Well despite your obstacles these look pretty fantastic to me. I share your dread though as Hubby is picking the book for this month’s challenge for me too!

  4. Suelle

    7th August 2011 at 9:04 am

    Like Hanna, I just can’t get on with measuring cups of flour and sugar – it’s so messy compared to weighing. I convert using a set of conversions which have always worked for me, and don’t even need to look up the basic ingredients now.

    The brownies sound very tasty!

  5. Kate@katescakesandbakes

    7th August 2011 at 9:05 am

    Ohhh, these sound great Chele! Were they like a combination between a bounty brownie and snickers brownie!? you’ve just reminded me to buy some cup measurers- there are so many great recipes I’m put off baking because I’m a but rubbish at all the coverting!

  6. Alice

    7th August 2011 at 10:36 am

    These look delicious, so rich and moist and yummy.

  7. A Trifle Rushed

    7th August 2011 at 9:54 am

    The brownies look so lovely, what an interesting taste combination. I have 5 sets of measuring cups, but still prefer converting. I have a chart from Waitrose magazine, laminated and stuck inside a kitchen cupboard door! Jude x

  8. Jacqueline

    7th August 2011 at 12:01 pm

    They look really good Choclette. Coconut is always a good choice with chocolate 🙂

  9. Foodycat

    7th August 2011 at 11:17 am

    Being Australian, I am happy using a mixture of cups and weights, but going into American recipes where the cups are a bit smaller throws me right out!

  10. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    7th August 2011 at 4:07 pm

    nice bloody work!… if you ask me they look so good and the combo of coconut and rum in a brownie is perfection!… what’s weird is that I am making rose and fennel brownies for your challenge this month (when I get to an oven that is..). so it will be interesting…

    By the way, I love how i’m dastardly one minute and then a genius the next… i think you’ve summed me up quite neatly.

    Thanks for taking part x

  11. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    7th August 2011 at 4:08 pm

    oh and go and buy yourself some blinking cups for goodness sake!

  12. Working london mummy

    7th August 2011 at 4:19 pm

    looks fabulous and such a nice flavour combination. very different. yum!

  13. C

    7th August 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Another one in the disliking cup measurements camp, so good on you for tackling this one! They look great, and the flavours sound really intresting, glad to know they are good. It sounds like a really interesting book too.

  14. Aveen

    7th August 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I used to think it was just me who didn’t like cup measures but I see I’m not alone! Love the sound of these, I’d never have put cashews in a brownie but I’ll try it next time. No idea what Himalayan pink salt is so I’m off to google it!

  15. Janice

    7th August 2011 at 8:37 pm

    How unusual and delicious. I’m with Dom – buy the cups! I bought my first set in 1980 in the US, they were plastic and lasted until two years ago. I now have a lovely stainless steel set that should last forever with any luck!

  16. cityhippyfarmgirl

    8th August 2011 at 2:59 am

    Yum. Love all those flavour combinations.

  17. The Caked Crusader

    8th August 2011 at 7:20 am

    Lovely and what an inviting photo that last one is!
    I think chocolate takes tropical flavours well – I particularly love it with pineapple or coconut

  18. Baking Addict

    8th August 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Looks great! I always look forward to your random recipe challenges. I’m with you on the cup measurements – I bought a set of cups and weigh it out so I know how much to use next time.

  19. Gloria

    9th August 2011 at 2:10 am

    Look absolutely nice ! gloria

  20. Choclette

    9th August 2011 at 6:28 am

    Rhyley’s Granny – I guess I should try, but I have a stubborn streak that doesn’t want to play.

    Hanna – Yes, it’s things like flour that puts me off, especially when I always use a mix of flours – scales are so much easier.

    Suelle – I guess that is the key, just use one set of conversions and stick to it. Trouble is most of them don’t go into enough detail.

    Kate – surprisingly they didn’t taste that bounty like, but they are up there with the top brownies I’ve ever had.

    Chele – he he. Dom doesn’t call it a challenge for nothing. Good Luck.

    A Trifle Rushed – now that is a good idea and such a simple one. I should get myself better organised.

    Alice – thank you.

    Foodycat – I didn’t even know Australians used cups and if I’ve seen them used on blogs just assumed they were using American measures. Thank you, that’s Interesting.

    Jac – thank you, it’s one of CTs favourite combinations.

    Dom – fennel and rose sounds really interesting – can’t wait for your verdict on those. the oven can’t be too far off now. My stubborn streak has come to the fore with regard to those darn cups!

    WLM – Thank you. I was a bit dubious about the cashews, but they worked really well.

    C – the great thing about this challenge is that it has made me revisit this book and it is well worth the read. And the brownies wereworth the headache!

    Aveen – Cashews worked really well. I always use Himalayan pink salt in my baking – it’s meant to be particularly mineral rich. It’s one of the ways I like to kid myself what I’ve cooked is healthy 😉

    Janice – the camp is definatley split on this cup issue!

    CityHippy – these have got to be one of the best brownies I’ve made so far.

    CC – Coconut and chocolate is a lovely combination – I’m still not sure about pineapple.

    Baking Addict – now that is the most sensible suggestion yet – I can see I might just have to buy my self a set of cups after all – hummmm!

    Gloria – thank you

  21. Johanna GGG

    10th August 2011 at 1:50 pm

    These sound great – the title is misleading for me – tropical always makes me think of tropical fruit which is not really my sort of thing – but coconut and cashews are – definitely

    I love cup measures but I know what you mean about translating them – I have trouble with this sometimes because Austalian cup measures are different to American ones – just to confuse you further!

  22. hungryhinny

    10th August 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Are these the ones you said might be your best ever?

    I fully shared your dislike / avoidance of recipes that used cups until recently, when I actually went out and bought some instead of trying to convert to grams – so much easier! I still don’t quite trust the accuracy of cup measurements though…

  23. Brownieville Girl

    17th August 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Dastardly Dom ……I love it!!!!!

    They look fantastic – lovin that combination.

    You can buy a set of measuring cups in our local £ shop for next to nothing!!

  24. Choclette

    18th August 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Johanna – do you not like any tropical fruit? Not even mango? This cup thing just gets worse 🙁

    Hungry Hinny – these were very very good and close to being the best. I haven’t yet posted the ones I was talking about. I think the only real answer is to have a brownie fest so we can try a little bit of loads of them – surely then we will find the very best brownie -hmmm, now there’s a thought!

    BVG – ha ha, he didn’t seem to mind! Since writing this post, a very kind person (to be revealed at some point in the future) has sent me a set of measuring cups – so guess I better just try using them.

  25. Maya Russell

    18th March 2013 at 6:18 am

    Thanks for the conversion for us. I hate cups etc too. I think you can have American cups and other cup sizes too. Have just read online – ‘U.S. measuring cups and metric measuring cups may be used as equal in practice.’ There’s so little difference between them apparently. Your brownies look nice.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *