Chocolate brownies – what’s the secret ingredient?

22 Jun
Delicious chocolate brownie, but what's the hidden ingredient?! Photo by Jess B.

Delicious chocolate brownie, but what’s the hidden ingredient?! Photo by Jess B.

I’m back in London this week for a few days for my three monthly appointment with my ME/CFS consultant. I’m so happy to have a few days with Mr B in our flat. I miss him, our home and life together so much. Though I know being at my parents is helping my recovery and I am lucky that I have that as an option.

Anyway, being in London means I can see a few friends. On Thursday I saw one of my best friends from my law school days and her beautiful baby girl who is just 8 weeks old. Today one of my oldest school friends and her two year old are coming over for a catch up and cup of tea this afternoon. I’m a firm believer that having friends over is the perfect excuse to make a cake. It’d be rude not to have something sweet and delicious to give them with their cup of tea wouldn’t it?! So my Mum and I baked these brownies (Mum baked, I watched and photographed, my myalgia has been bad again). They are oh so delicious and indulgent. Pure chocolate heaven. They’re gluten free and dairy free (they do contain eggs, tho I’m sure you could use an egg replacer powder).

I would also say these little babies are ‘healthy’ brownies. Well healthy compared to other brownies at any rate! They contain no butter. Can you guess what is used in place of the usual fat? Can you?! Let me give you some clues:

  • it’s purple,
  • its juice stains like hell (slightly concerned about a 2 year old, these brownies and our cream carpet…),
  • it has a deep earthy flavour,
  • it is a great source of soluble fibre,
  • it is often pickled.

Yep you guessed it – it’s BEETROOT!! Isn’t that just the best way of getting kids to eat veggies? Hide them in cake! And it allows us cake loving adults to be able to have our cake and  eat it (without too much concern about calories) too!

Ingredients (makes 10 individual (generous) portions):

  • 400g beetroot, topped, tailed, peeled and cooked and pureed
  • 100g ground hazelnuts
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 220g light muscovado sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g dark chocolate (70% +cocoa)
  • 2 tbsp white rice flour
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

a 22cm x22cm x 7cm baking tin or dish, lined with lightly greased (with vegetable oil) baking parchment.

Pureed beetroot. Photo by Jess B.

Pureed beetroot. Photo by Jess B.

Dry ingredients. Photo by Jess B.

Dry ingredients. Photo by Jess B.


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C / 140°C fan assisted / 325°F / Gas Mark 3.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowel in the microwave on medium heat or over a pan of boiling water. Whichever method you use stir the chocolate a couple of times during melting.
  3. Whisk the eggs, sugar and salt with an electric mixer in a large bowl until it has tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ground hazelnuts, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and vanilla extract into the whisked egg mixture until all is well combined.
  5. Next fold in the pureed beetroot and chocolate until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour the mixture into your lined baking tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin before cutting it into pieces and eating.
Ready for the oven! Photo by Jess B.

Ready for the oven! Photo by Jess B.

Recipe adapted from Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache book of stunning bakes and cakes all using vegetables.

Time for another piece, this brownie is just so good!

Yuuuummmmy! Photo by Jess B.

Yuuuummmmy! Photo by Jess B.

Do you bake with vegetables? What’s your favourite secret ingredient? If you do make these brownies (and I really think you should!) send me your pics 🙂


6 Responses to “Chocolate brownies – what’s the secret ingredient?”

  1. thehomeschoolingdoctor June 22, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Nothing fancy, but we like zucchini bread!

    • myjourneythrume June 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      Ooh yum me too! I do a zucchini and banana loaf with rice flour that is very good. What flours to you tend to bake with on GAPS?

      • thehomeschoolingdoctor June 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

        There are only two. Almond flour and coconut flour, but we can make some great treats! GAPS (as well as SCD, Paleo, Primal, Whole30) avoids all grains (wheat, oats, rice, soy, etc). However, if I ever fix my tummy, I would like to be more lax. I’m anxious for the doctor report! Best wishes!

      • myjourneythrume June 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

        I use coconut and almond flour too sometimes. You’re right they make great treats. You’re inspiring me to look into GAPS. Happy weekend and best wishes to you too!

  2. Jackie June 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    Yum! This looks good. What is the texture, density, and moisture level like?

    • myjourneythrume June 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      It is really good! It’s really moist and soft, quite dense but not as bad as brownies made with nut flours. Highly recommend it!

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