Back in my uni days I actually did my dissertation about the acceptability on taste of replacing the butter in brownies with fruit and vegetable purees. Beetroot was one of the veg I used and worked very well, producing a moist and tender brownie with no added butter. Another variety I tried was using pureed prunes. This too worked well, although it gave a denser and very sweet tasting brownie.
I hit upon the idea of using pureed beetroot to replace the butter in my brownies and combining it with pureed prunes, this time to replace the sugar in my brownies, as both prunes and beetroot are naturally very sweet. I had a quick internet search for prune and beetroot brownies and was actually quite chuffed when I couldn’t find a single one. There were plenty of prune OR beetroot brownies, but no prune AND beetroot brownies – a new brownie innovation hurrah! Feeling very excited I set to work.
The brownie batter turned out quite thick and a little coarse from the blitzed prunes and beetroot, but smelt very rich and inviting. I did use chocolate in the recipe, but as it was dark chocolate this would have contributed very little sugar or fat to the recipe. The lick of the spatula also tasted lovely.
After baking the brownies had puffed up slightly and yet set into quite a heavy feeling brownie. On slicing I was pleasantly surprised it was actually very light, moist and fudgy in texture, similar to a flourless chocolate cake. It had a fabulous deep chocolate colour with a dark ruby hue to it.
The top surface was slightly crackled and nicely sticky. The flavour was of a strong earthy chocolate, largely down to the beetroot, with a fabulous springy bite and nice chew from the pureed prunes. It was perfectly sweet and almost treacly in flavour which I think was contributed by the prunes. It was really rather addictive and I didn’t feel at all guilty eating 1 or 2…ok 4 squares in one afternoon as they must be relatively healthy brownies. Not that you’d know it!
The following day the brownies had become more compact and a little dense, but stayed wonderfully fudgy with a slight chew. So if you are looking for a chocolaty Easter treat that won’t pile on the pounds, maybe give these prune and beetroot brownies a go! Gluten, wheat, dairy (if non dairy choc), added fat and added sugar free! Probably higher in fibre, lower GI with added vitamins and minerals too. Now you can have your chocolate brownie and eat it too!
Happy Easter Everyone
Prune & Beetroot Brownies
An Apple & Spice original recipe
200g cooked beetroot
100g soft prunes
150g dark chocolate 60-70%
15g cocoa powder
60g brown rice flour
¼ tsp gluten free baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 175C. Line the base of an 8inch tin with baking paper.
Place the prunes into a food processor and blitz until a thick sticky paste is formed. You may need to scrape down the sides of the mixer every so often.
Remove the prunes, and add the beetroot. Puree until very finely chopped and almost pureed.
In a medium sized pan melt the chocolate until smooth and glossy, then remove from the heat.
Lightly beat the eggs and then quickly mix them into the warm chocolate mixture, followed by the vanilla.
Add the prune and beetroot purees and fold together.
Scatter over the flour, baking powder and cocoa and fold in well to create a thick, slightly coarse mixture.
Spread the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes.
It should be evenly risen, firm yet slightly squishy to the touch. Leave to cool for 20 minutes in the tin before removing to a rack to cool.
Slice and enjoy