Following on from yesterday's little teaser.....
....This is a brownie recipe that has come about through reading many other blogs and online vegan recipes and combining what I consider to be all the ‘best bits’ to create a healthy brownie of my own. This was one of the first ‘healthy cake recipes’ I ever created and it has undergone various refinements over time to maximise the balance between yummy and healthy. I don’t know why it’s taken me until now to get it up on the blog- you saw a little sneaky teaser way back here at the beginning (ok so maybe it wasn’t so long ago but if feels ages to me!!)
It contains a lot of fruit and veg… maybe it can even count as one of your ‘five a day’…. now wouldn’t that be amazing!
I have called this brownie a ‘brownie torte’ because to me the classic non-vegan brownies that use eggs (and all sorts of other things) tend to have a very characteristic delicate dry flaky top, I’m probably not explaining that very well…hmmm. The vegan brownie recipes I’ve tried and tested seem to have a denser more moist consistency and don’t have that flaky topping. That’s not to say they are in any way inferior but I wanted to simply make a distinction so as not to evoke any pre-expectations. Also, as I like to serve my brownies warm with a decadent soft and fudgey centre, as opposed to a more cake like bite the ‘Brownie Torte’ title seemed so much more appropriate.
It is typically the amount of ‘flour’ (either spelt of GF) used and the cooking time that dictates the ‘cakeyness vs torteyness’ and this has been noted below.
The inclusion of the balsamic vinegar, prune puree and cinnamon all help to bring out the best of the chocolate flavour. The can be omitted/substituted if necessary(i.e sub the prune for more apple puree or soy yoghurt).
This recipe also uses beans. The 'bean' theme in healthy baking seems to have become quite popular. I also used beans in this amazing blondie recipe. The general idea is to use black beans for chocolatey cakes and white beans for lighter coloured cakes.
Note- brownies also taste better the next day once the flavours have had a chance to fully infuse and the texture becomes more ‘fudgey’ (not sure why this is!). They also freeze well...so make a big batch!
P.S these pics were taken at the 'veg patch lunch' at work during the summer- hence the warm glow (I could do with a bit of that sunshine now!) On this occasion I also frosted the top with some cocoa mixed with agave nectar, but it's perfectly fine without.
Recipe: Chocolate brownie torte
Makes 16 squares
- 1tsp ground flax seed mixed with 1tsp hot water and 1tsp balsamic vinegar
- ¾ cup silken tofu (150g)
- ¼ cup tinned prunes with juice
- ¼ cup apple puree
- ½ cup agave syrup and ¼ tsp stevia (more agave or maple syrup to taste if needed)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup drained black beans
- 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour or for GF sub see below* (use up to 1 ½ cups to get a more cakey brownie)
- ¼ tsp baking powder (use ½ tsp to make more cakey)
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ chopped walnuts (or mixed nuts) optional
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chunks or cacoa nibs
Mix the ground flax seeds with hot water and vinegar and set aside for 1 min. Blend all wet ingredients (including flax mix) and cocoa powder in food processor until very smooth. Mix all remaining dry ingredients (apart from nuts and chocolate chips) in a bowl and combine well. Pour wet mixture into dry and mix well. Add nuts and chocolate chips last and fold through. Pour batter into 8x8’ square baking tin lined with parchment paper. Bake for approx. 15 mins at 180C (bake for approx. 20 mins if you are going for a cakey brownie). Cool and cut into squares. Best stored in the fridge and heated for a few seconds in the microwave before serving!
Note: This mixture makes enough for a small 8x8’ pan at approx. 15mm thick. I have also made 1 ½ times this quantity and poured into a 9’ round cake tin cooked for 20 mins to get a slightly thicker slice and cut into wedges- when decorated with fruit and vegan cream this is a crazily decadent and rich desert!
* the spelt flour can be subbed with a mix of ½ cup almond meal and ½ gluten free flours- I use a mix of buckwheat and tapioca flour. I have tested this out and it tasted just as good as the spelt version!