Chocolate Brownie

Chocolate Brownie

I made a version of this on Monday for a friend’s birthday, and by Saturday I couldn’t help myself any longer and I ran home from the beach to make sure I had enough time to bake another and let it cool in time for dinner.

The day any dessert gets made in this house, chaos ensues and a rather inhumane proportion of it get ingested.

Last night, when I asked “how’s the cake?”, I just got a stealthy sideway glance, with the cheeks full of cake and remnants of chocolate still on the face. No further words were needed, and less than 24h later only half a brownie remains.

It’s also also probably the quickest cake to put together and bake in the history of cake.

There’s no egg involved, so the recipe is vegan unless you go for the butter chocolate icing, like I did. If you want to go full vegan you can probably get away with using coconut cream instead.

Although the icing is completely optional. If you decide to ice it, make sure the cake is fully cooled before you do.

Any nut butter will do, so although I used tahini here, peanut butter, or whichever, will work just fine.

The real trick is to get the cake out of the oven way before you think you should. At 180ºC, I do mine for 10 minutes. Really, 10 minutes… not 11, and definitely not 12. As it cools it will “solidify” so to end up with a gooey and fudge-ey crumb, you really need to under bake it, to let the cooling do it’s job.

Ingredients

Brownie

  • 38g ground flaxseed
  • 220ml boiling water
  • 125g tahini (or other nut butter)
  • 50g almond flour
  • 60g (100%, unsweetened) cocoa powder
  • 60g xylitol
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 50g chocolate chopped or torn into chunks
  • 40g pecans (or your nut of choice) torn/broken into smaller bits

Icing

  • 50g butter, softened
  • 2tbsp xylitol, powdered
  • 2tbsp cocoa powder (100%, unsweetened)

Method

Start by making the brownie:

Place the ground flaxseed and boiled water in a small bowl, use a fork or small whisk to mix them together, and let it sit for a couple of minutes to gel. This is your binding “egg” .

Meanwhile, add the almond flour, cocoa powder, sweetener and baking powder to a large bowl, and blend them well.

By now the flax-egg should be viscous and gel-like. Add to it the tahini, and stir well, using the residual heat to make it easier to combine. It doesn’t have to be fully incorporated, but it helps with the next step if it’s a rather homogenous paste.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and use a spatula to really mix everything together very well.

Sometimes, depending on your cocoa, the dough will feel dry and lumpy. If this happens, add a bit more boiling water so get a rather thick but still pourable dough.

Once everything is well combined, fold in the chocolate chunks and nuts so they’re evenly distributed, and pour it all into a baking dish roughly lined in baking parchment.

I then usually use a wet spatula to evenly distribute and coax the dough into an even layer and into the corners of the tin.

Place in a hot oven at 180ºC for 10min. You want the cake to have a sealed top, but be clearly wobbly underneath when you take it out.

Let cool completely before icing. *

To make the icing:

Place the soft butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl, and use the back of a spoon to blend the powders into the butter to create a smooth paste.

I find it helps to add the cocoa and powdered sweetener in small quantities to make the blending process easier and avoid a “snow globe” kinda situation with icing sweetener and cocoa flying (pulverising) all over the kitchen.

Once the brownie has fully cooled (you’ll see the gooey middle will feel more solid underneath the crust), use the back of a spoon to spread the icing thinly over the top.

Eating this cake is a rather messy and gooey affair, but all the better for it!

* I reckon that without any icing, eaten straight out of the oven, with some vanilla ice cream, might be criminal – but I haven’t tried it yet. If you do, please report back.

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