Maggie Bob Makes: Vegan Beetroot Brownies

Chocolate and beetroot is not as weird a combination as you might think. As well as replacing the eggs, butter and/or milk, the beetroot enhances the chocolate flavour of the cocoa, and lets you keep the whole thing vegan too. I’ve tried making chocolate cake with beetroot in it before, but the results were a little… earthy. Turns out I had seriously underestimated how much pre-cooking beetroot actually needs. But I’ll let you in on a little secret – buy the pre-cooked beetroot from the supermarket. You get three vacuum packed bulbs already perfectly cooked and ready to go for about 50p. Plus you don’t end up with pink fingers, worktops, kitchen.

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I decided to focus on brownies – this recipe delivers the cracked top and fudgy interior I crave. These will keep for at least a week in an airtight tin and are great eaten just as they are, warm with a scoop of ice-cream, or I’ve been taking a piece in my lunchbox each day to enjoy with my afternoon cuppa.

Ingredients
(makes 24 squares)

250g pre-cooked beetroot
200g self-raising flour
150g soft brown sugar
60g cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
200ml oil

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Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200oC and line and grease a brownie tin – mine is 20cm by 30cm, different sizes will just mean different sized pieces
  2. Tip your beetroot in to a food processor and blitz until you have a purple mush (puree). If you don’t have a processor, mash the beetroot down to as smooth as you can.
  3. Sift the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Stir the vanilla and salt through your pureed beetroot, then tip the beetroot in to the mixing bowl and stir to combine with the flour mixture.
  5. Gradually pour in the oil, stirring in to your mixture until you have a smooth wet batter that almost looks grainy (see my pictures) and more or less sits together in one ball
  6. Tip the batter in to your lined tin and spread out level using a pallet knife. Don’t worry if some oil rises to the top at this stage – this is what gives the brownie its crust
  7. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes. You’ll know the brownies are done when the top is cracked and dry and an inserted skewer comes out with just a little bit of mixture sticking to it.

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There are really rich and fudgy and a gorgeous colour – almost akin to Red Velvet cake. And because the beetroot performs the job of an egg here (binding the mixture together), these are ‘accidentally’ vegan. So whether you’re baking for a vegan friend, trying to sneak more vegetables in to a diet or just looking to enjoy a bloody good brownie I hope you give these a try!

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