Well these have to be one of the cleverest ways to get more vegetables into your diet in the nicest possible way!
To be honest, I didn't quite know what to expect with these brownies because they have a "secret" ingredient in them that I wasn't too sure about! You can see from the pictures I have taken these brownies have a beautiful, glossy, rich "red velvet hue" but this color hasn't come from a bottle, it has come from your humble and healthy (wait for it...) beetroot, yes, you read right, beetroot!
While you can't call these a health food, being able to add in extra nutrients and make the foods you eat more nutritious is always a win in my book! Beetroots are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fibre, and essential minerals like potassium (for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beetroots also contain folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
You can use ready cooked beetroot (though I wouldn't recommend tinned beetroot because their flavor alters and texture is quite different). If you can't purchase the ready cooked beetroot, usually stored in vacuumed sealed plastic bags, it is very simple to cook your whole beetroots a pressure cooker at home, which is what I did. I suppose you could also steam them until cooked through as well.
To boost the flavors I threw in some of my Pumpkin Pie Spice and it really works to bring all the flavors together. You can use mixed spice if you wish. I really recommend that you make these brownies a day before you want to eat them because the flavor completely changes overnight. If you eat it hot straight out of the oven you may feel you've done something wrong because the flavor of the beetroot will be strong until is cools so leave them overnight to get that rich, luscious brownie taste and texture!
It is really very important in this recipe that you get your cooked beetroot as smooth and fine as possible in this recipe because that way it imparts it's beautiful color into the brownie batter and also imparts is subtle but interesting sweetness into the brownies. A hand held stick blender or your food processor will do the trick nicely but please ensure the beetroot is fine and smooth as possible - definitely no chunks!
Please use a glass bowl and not a plastic bowl to melt your chocolate and butter in the microwave as plastic can leach harmful chemicals into your food
Allow to cool completely overnight and eat the next day for the best flavor and color (because the beetroot flavor is strong until it cools and the color will deepen as the days go by to a more chocolate brown)
Will easily keep for 4-5 days stored in the fridge in an air-tight container
They are perfect as a tea time snack by itself but topped with cream cheese frosting it is sublime!
YOU WILL NEED
Red Velvet Brownies
125g | 4 ounces | half a cup unsalted butter
200g | 7 ounces dark chocolate
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200g | 7 ounces cooked beetroot drained (approximately 2 medium sized beetroots)
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of my Pumpkin Pie Spice OR mixed spice
100g | 3.5 ounces | just over half a cup dark chocolate chips
180g | 6 ounces | 2 cups roughly chopped walnuts or pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting (completely optional but delicious - halve this amount if you want to keep some plain and some frosted)
80g | 3 ounces cream cheese
40g | 1.5 ounces unsalted butter
Juice of ½ a lime OR small lemon
160g | 5.5 onces sifted icing sugar
Extra Pumpkin Pie Spice (optional)
Heat oven to 170°C/340°F.
Grease and line with baking paper a square 20cm x 20cm / 8 inch x 8 inch cake pan.
In a large glass bowl add the butter and dark chocolate and melt in a microwave using MEDIUM heat setting for about 2 minutes, check and STIR to see if it has melted, if not, continue cooking for another 30 seconds at MEDIUM heat, stir and continue until melted. You can also do this step on the stove over low heat in non-stick saucepan until fully melted.
Add the eggs and sugar into the chocolate and using an electric hand blender or in your food processor, blend until smooth the chocolate looks rich and glossy.
In a separate bowl use your hand blender or a small food processor, blend the beetroot until as SMOOTH AS POSSIBLE.
Add the processed beetroot the chocolate mixture and blend again ensuring that everything is well mixed and smooth.
Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, pumpkin or mixed spice and gently fold everything together until no flour is at all visible.
Use your hand blender one more time to get as smooth a batter as you can.
Add 3/4 of the dark chocolate chips and walnuts or pecans.
Pour into your greased and lined cake pan and top with remaining chocolate chips and nuts.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until set. The mixture is ready when if you press gently in the centre it is firm.
Allow to cool overnight stored in an air-tight container, cut into squares and enjoy if not frosting.
If frosting, in a small mixing bowl add the cream cheese, unsalted butter, lime/lemon and icing sugar and mix until well combined. Spread evenly over your cooled overnight brownies, sprinkle with a touch more of the Pumpkin Pie Spice if desired, cut into squares and enjoy.
MAKES 16 DELICIOUS PIECES
BEST MADE ONE DAY AHEAD AND STORED IN AN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER FOR UP TO 4-5 DAYS.