Crack, squidge and melt – these are the three actions you can certainly expect to see, hear and taste when tucking into the perfect brownie. A firm, almost charred, cocoa top should be followed by a slightly wet and squidgy centre, while once that square you’re given is tasted, it must melt in the mouth in a cascade of sweet, rich, spongy chocolate. Drooling yet?
Now there’s not a whole lot you should aim to improve upon on the above. A brownie pretty much does it’s job 100% of the time, every time. But that’s not to say that you can’t up the satisfaction levels with a lull of spice or a sharp spritz of fruit to cut through the richness or to add another element to, let’s be honest, one of the most indulgent and delicious bakes that your oven will bless you with.
Our version of this classic recipe has a beetroot base, providing colour, earthiness and a deep punch to the palette, while followed up and intermittently teased by the tart, fresh burst of raspberry, both speckled whole throughout and swirled and stirred through the chocolate middle.
These are fantastic for sharing, but, you would also be rightly forgiven, and even expected, to want to be alone with this tray of complete indulgence if you’re feeling particularly low or in need of edible comfort.
250g raw beets, peeled and grated
200g caster sugar
200g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g dark chocolate (or 50:50 dark and milk)
120g plain flour
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp baking powder
50-100g organic cocoa powder (depending on taste)
125g raspberry purée (instructions below)
8-10 whole raspberries
1/4 tsp salt (plus extra, coarse, sea salt to sprinkle on top after baking if you like)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a 22cm square springform tin with parchment paper.
2. Put a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt the chocolate and butter together.
3. Meanwhile, peel and grate your raw beets into a small bowl. Keep all the juice that leaks.
4. In another bowl on standby, combine your dry ingredients – flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.
5. To make the raspberry purée, simply mash raspberries with a little salt and sugar until it becomes a very loose jam consistency.
6. Now to your main bowl. Sift the sugar into the eggs and whisk until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy. Give it a good two minutes work. Then add your beets, stir all together as the mixture becomes wonderfully pink.
7. Add your dry mix and chocolate mix alternately, beginning and ending with the dry. So in your head judge your dry mix into quarters and your wet mix into thirds. Add a quarter of the dry mix to the big bowl, stir, add one third of the chocolate, stir… and so on until everything is combined.
8. Just as everything has come together, lightly stir in the raspberry purée.
9. Pour into the lined tin and push a few raspberries into the mixture
10. Pop on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. You want the top to be ever so slightly cracked and firm, but still gooey inside.
11. Cut into six or eight slices and serve.
These first appeared in a feature on TheGayUK digital magazine as a commission for a Halloween piece, but these are fantastic any time of the year. They work so well for All Hallows Eve, of course, due to the dripping, blood red raspberry goo within and the dark, bitter, chocolate colour – while the earthy backnote of beetroot adds a deeper, devilish element to the taste. But behind the subtle spook, it really is just a really rich, sweet and earthy brownie recipe – which would be fantastic for a lazy, rainy weekend or a night in on the couch in front of some good TV or movies.