Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May 15-16, 2008: Chocolate beetroot brownies

Orange, coffee, mint, fruit and nuts: these are the flavours I'm accustomed to pairing with chocolate. But what about beetroot? It seemed like a match made in purgatory when I first heard it. Yet I was impressed by the agreeable earthy flavour once I sunk my teeth into that dark, moist chocolate and beetroot cake about 12 years ago. I was in high school and it had been baked by my friend's older sister - the cake probably contributed some way to my image of her as cool, alternative, and galaxies away from my closeted life.

Not being much of a cook at the time, I wasn't curious to try my own hand at it. It's only since I've been blogging that I've started collecting recipes that pair chocolate with beetroot. And here's my first trial of the odd couple at home, a recipe for brownies that recently appeared in Karen Martini's section of the Age's Sunday Life magazine. I baked them for the occasion of another guest speaker at work, and I was a little anxious as to how they'd be received. Consequently I went a little overboard with the chocolate "drizzle" over the top (it was more of a downpour).

I thought these brownies were fantastic. Chocoholic as I am, I was actually quite happy for my favourite food to take a step back from centre stage and share the limelight with almond meal, nutmeg and beetroot. They combine to form an organic, complex flavour and moist, slightly chewy texture. I'd even skip the chocolate drizzle altogether next time, though it probably did ease the way for a couple of skeptics in the group. My new-old mixmaster made the beating stages effortless, though I didn't spend quite long enough incorporating the eggs (make sure you do!). Deciding to make one and a half times the original quantity to share around (these are the measurements given below), I finally found something to fill up a convincing half of the mixer's gigantic bowl. The only nuisance was grating the beetroot, but that certainly won't stop me from making these again.

Chocolate beetroot brownies

150g butter, softened
150g brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
165g plain flour
6 eggs
135g dark chocolate, melted
150g ground almonds
170g raw beetroot, finely grated
75g extra chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a baking dish with paper and grease it well.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the vanilla, nutmeg and flour. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined (I failed to do this!).

Once the melted chocolate is at room temperature, add it to the batter. Fold in the ground almonds and beetroot.

Spread the brownie mixture in the baking dish and bake it for 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Once the brownie has cooled, drizzle over the melted chocolate before slicing and serving.


  1. Thanks for this one - I saw the recipe in the paper and tried to put it aside but it disappeared so I have been hoping it would turn up somewhere - this is one I would like to make so glad to hear that your experience with it was good!

  2. Chocolate + beetroot + brownie are most definitely three words that should go together. Nice recipe and glad to hear they turned out so well.

  3. Looks delish! Like the new photos too of you guys, looks like we have all updated our photos! Vida

  4. Wow this looks amazing, I'm going to try it tonight! You should upload it on to www.bakemap.co.uk too - you can win some great prizes if people try it and like it.

  5. Interesting combo. It looks lovely. Nice new blog look btw.

  6. I saw this recipe in the paper, but I have not been game enough to try it. Glad to know it's a good one!

  7. I've been waiting to read this since you mentioned it on Facebook :D Then forgot all about it!!

    It's certainly... different. But I SO want to give it a go. I mean, I love beetroot, I really like chocolate, so combined they should make something I'll really enjoy.

  8. Happy to be of service, Johanna. :-)

    Thanks, Kathryn! I'll have to utilise this fantastic combination more often.

    Aw, thanks Vida! I enjoyed your birthday glamour shots and just saw your new blog header - gorgeous. :-)

    Thanks anonymous commenter, that's a cool site. But as Aussies, we're not eligible for the competition.

    Thanks, Mallika! I've been wishing for a more stripped-back blog look for a while. Not sure how long my poorly photoshopped cow is going to last...

    KJ, take the plunge! I'm sure you won't be disappointed. :-)

    Hiya Anna! It is an unusual mix, if you feel unsure about it then go for the extra chocolate on top. That way it'll probably just taste like a moist chocolate slice. :-D

  9. These brownies look amazing!!! I love your photo of them :-)

    Looking forward to seeing more of your delicious recipes.

  10. I always wanted to prepare brownies but I never tried so far.... this recipe with beetroot seems really interesting thanks for sharing.

  11. Welcome Natasha! And thanks - I really wanted to show off the uniquely pink interior. :-)

    Hi hyp0th3rmi4! Making brownies at home is not too difficult, for your first shot you might like to try a more 'normal' recipe like this one for cream cheese brownies. Even non-baker Michael excels at it. :-D

  12. Yum - these look great! I have made a chooclate beet cake before, but I'd love to try these as well.

  13. Thanks, Cakelaw - these are actually quite different in flavour to the beetroot cake I remember, so I reckon it's worth trying them both. :-)

  14. I have a recipe for a chocolate and beetroot cake... and when I saw it I was like "WTF???" .. you have inspired me to try it out!

  15. Go for it, Shellie! I'll be interested to see how you like it. :-)

  16. Michael you look like that actor on Revenge, the TV series.

  17. Made this tonight, was divine. I used the food processor to grate the beetroot. Effortless

    1. Phew, that was a quick turnaround Susan! Maybe I should get my food processor on the job too.