Chocolate Beetroot Brownies (vegan and gluten-free)
A healthier take on chocolate brownies but no less indulgent. Rather than sweet and sickly, these are dark, fudgy and intensely chocolatey. Using unrefined sugar and containing flax seeds and almonds to provide healthy fats, these brownies also have a nutrient boost from the hidden beetroot, so you can enjoy your sugary treat knowing that you are getting a little goodness mixed into your sugar load. A dream for those with restricted diets as these brownies are also vegan and gluten-free!
Set the oven to 180°C / 350°F and line a 22cm/8" square brownie tin with baking parchment (or use non-stick mini loaf tins, lightly greased).
Mix the flax seeds and water and set aside for 10 minutes while you prep the other parts.
Break up the chocolate into pieces and put in a glass jug with the coconut oil. Melt by microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring well between each. (It usually takes me about 1-2 minutes depending on how quickly I take it out of the microwave each time).
Whizz the dry ingredients in a food processor briefly until well combined with no lumps. (Thermomix setting: 15 secs / sp. 5). Set aside.
Whizz the wet ingredients, the flax mixture and the melted chocolate and oil mixture in the same food processor (no need to wash it out) until smooth with only very small lumps of beetroot (don’t worry, these won’t show in the finished brownie). (Thermomix setting: 30 secs / sp. 8).
Add the dry ingredients back into the food processor with the wet ingredients. Whizz together briefly (or pulse) until the ingredients are all combined. (Thermomix setting: 15 secs / sp. 5).
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and put it in the oven.
Bake for around 30-40 minutes at 180°C / 350°F.
To check if it is ready, feel the top. You want it to be quite firm but springy. I like to use a thermometer to gauge the inside temperature. I stick it in the middle (not going down to the base), leave it there for 30 seconds and it should read about 80-90°C (175-195°F).
Once out of the oven, leave the brownies in the tin for 5 minutes to firm up, then take them out of the tin (see notes below for some tips on this). Leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.
I use the vacuum packed cooked beetroots for this recipe just because it is easier and I usually have some in my fridge. Feel free to cook up some beetroot yourself if you prefer. Just boil in some water until soft.
You can use any oil you like for this recipe instead of coconut oil.
You can make these nut-free by substituting the almond flour for more plain gluten-free flour.
For lifting out of the tin once they are cooked (a) if using a square tin, carefully lift the baking paper out of the tin and set it on the cooling rack; or (b) if using a mini-loaf tin, set the cooling rack over the top of the mini loaf tin and tip it over. The brownies should drop out and you can then quickly flip them over so that they cool facing the right way up.