No, you haven’t read that wrong. I did mean to type ‘guilt-free’. There are times when you need to eat something wickedly indulgent. Something packed with chocolate and butter and sugar. I have a brownie recipe for such occasions (which I will hopefully share later in the year), but sometimes we need to exercise restraint. We can not eat fully loaded brownies all of the time. No matter how much we want to, or how many times we say we will work it off the next day (we never do). Some days we want a square (or two) of something soft and yielding, dense yet light and tasting of chocolate that will not cause us horrendous repercussions. That is where these brownies come in. They are almost fat-free – the only fat that they contain comes from 2 eggs – and contain no refined sugar. The secret ingredient is: Prunes. Yep, the humble dried plum. Turned into a puree with some honey and mixed into the batter, they provide moisture and chewiness to these brownies. If you would rather not use honey then it can be swapped for a liquid fruit sugar or brown rice syrup, however I like the way the honey mimics the flavour of the prunes (or is the other way round?), adding a lovely sweet note. All you are going to need now is some coconut sugar, cocoa powder and flour. You can more or less use whichever flour you wish – gf flour blend, rice flour, potato flour etc. as only 50g is added. This time round I used rice flour. I would avoid glutinous rice flour (as I think it would be too gloopy) or buckwheat (as the flavour may be a bit strong, unless of course that is what you want). If gluten is your friend rather than your enemy, then go ahead and use wheat flour. The topping is ridiculously easy – all ingredients in a bowl and then microwaved to melt – so really the only restraint you have to truly exercise is allowing the topping to firm up before cutting. I didn’t. I ate two whilst photographing them. Slightly runny topping and all.
Guilt-Free Chocolate Brownies
For the brownies:
- 420g tin of prunes
- 55g honey, or liquid fruit sugar or brown rice syrup
- 2 eggs
- 55g coconut sugar, or light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 50g unsweetened coco powder
- 50g rice flour, or whichever flour you would prefer
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the topping:
- 15ml coconut oil (I used the unscented one here), or butter or margarine
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp dark chocolate chips
- Couple of drops of vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk, or another milk of your choice
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius / 160 Fan / 350 Fahrenheit. Grease and line an 8 inch x 8 inch square tin with non stick baking paper.
- Drain the prunes and remove the stones. Place them in the bowl of a food processor with the honey and blitz until it is a puree (you could use a hand blender instead).
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and coconut sugar together until pale and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and prune/honey mixture and fold in until fully combined.
- Sift in the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder. Fold in until fully combined.
- Transfer to the prepared tin, spread evenly and smooth the top down with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once it is completely cold, make the topping by placing all the ingredients in a small microwave-proof bowl and heat for 30 seconds on full, or until the chocolate and coconut oil have melted (you could melt it over a pan of simmering water if preferred). Stir together and spread over the top of the brownies.
- Leave to firm up before cutting into 16 squares.
- Store in an air-tight container.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2014