Brownies au Naturel

If you’re looking for a sweet fudge brownie, this probably isn’t for you. IF, however, you are a lover of dark chocolate and rich intense flavours this definitely is. 2014-09-22 19.05.01

I’ve tried my hand at various brownies and have dabbled in the healthy variety once or twice. I follow lots of healthy foodie types and I’ve often seen avocado substituted for butter in recipes. I could see how it might work and they have a fairly mellow flavour I assumed chocolate would easily overpower, but I’d never tried baking with them. 2014-09-22 15.52.50

Why stop at avocado? I decided to take the trial to a whole new level, using only natural ingredients and no refined sugar.

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I was initially sceptical but I love all of the ingredients in these dark delights and you can never really have too much of a good thing(s) can you? See for yourselves – don’t knock ’em til you try ’em!

  • 115g avocado
  • 150g date paste
  • 50g honey
  • 220g dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 80 black beans
  • 10g cocoa powder

Melt the chocolate and allow to cool slightly

Blend the avocado and date paste, add the chocolate and whisk to combine

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This didn’t look too appealing to start but as I blended the avocado, dates and chocolate I was pleasantly surprised at the thick glossy mousse forming before my eyes. Looks were not deceiving, I discovered, spooning a generous mouthful into my greedy gob. The avocado made the batter more luxuriously creamy than anything I’ve ever done with butter.

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Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition

Blend the black beans and cocoa powder – This is the only stage where I ran into a little bit of trouble, as the paste is really thick. To solve the problem I added some of the avocado chocolate mix, in order to smooth things up a little bit, and then folded it back in once it was at the desired consistency

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Fold the blended black beans into the remaining avocado mix and then transfer to a prepared baking tray

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Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. As with most brownies they’ll probably be slightly underdone and really soft so let them chill overnight before slicing and serving.

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Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean.

 

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Soda Bread

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I’m not a bread kind of girl. I know people that live for toast but not me.  That is, unless it’s soda bread. I could eat soda bread all day, everyday. Preferably spread thick with salty butter and honey or heaped with smoked salmon and a drizzle of lemon juice.  My Irish family are all great cooks, whether it’s a roast, apple pie, lasagna or strawberry mousse (my favourite ever dessert, I don’t think I’ve had a birthday without it) food is always delicious and my aunties in particular knock up a mean soda bread. I’ll never bake one half as good but when the craving struck I decided to have a go. My mini loaf was neither a raging success nor a huge disappointment and it did the trick!

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*Because making the bread is quick and I wasn’t sure I’d blog it I didn’t take any ‘process’ pictures. Instead you’ve got a breakfast overload. Enjoy!

Preheat the oven to 190C

  • 250g wholemeal flour
  • 50g oats
  • 230ml buttermilk
  • 15g butter
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda

**Double for a normal sized loaf**

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and rub in the butter.

Pour in the buttermilk and mix it up quickly, you’ll have a really sticky dough.

Shape the dough into a round and place on a lightly oiled piece of baking paper.

Score with a deep cross (this helps the bread to cook better inside but you may still find it slightly doughy, I did)

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I had to bake my loaf for about 40 minutes and it was a small one so I’d recommend up to an hour if you’re making a larger one.

The bread should be a nice golden brown when done and should sound hollow if you knock on the bottom.

Leave it to cool a while on a wire rack before slicing.

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I went for a different choice of topping to normal, a poached egg and avocado to sort me out after an early morning sweat session. It didn’t disappoint but a slice of bacon or salmon certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss.

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I can never just have one slice…