These brownies are literally the best brownies I have ever eaten. They are dense, chocolatey and squidgy, but with a sharp hit from the blackberry layer and a crunch from the almonds. They are a perfect dessert brownie: ideal served warm with a scoop of icecream and some fresh blackberries, but would not survive so well in a lunchbox…! The only slightly annoying thing about these brownies is that you have to wait at least, AT LEAST 30 minutes before cutting them up and diving in, otherwise they really don’t hold their shape. But that is the only annoying thing… apart from that they are absolute heaven!
Blackberry and almond brownies
For the brownies:
- 4 eggs
- 240g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 240g salted butter
- 320g caster sugar
- 70g cocoa powder
- 100g self-raising flour
- 60g plain flour
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped
- 50g toasted almonds, chopped
For the blackberry layer:
- 150g blackberries
- 30g caster sugar
30 x 20cm brownie tin
- Make the blackberry layer by putting the blackberries and sugar into a heavy bottomed pan and heating until the sugar is dissolved, the cook until the blackberries are soft, but not mushy.
- For the brownies, first brown the butter by melting it in a saucepan, and then continuing to heat it until it bubbles and turns a golden brown colour, with a nutty smell.
- Put the sugar and chocolate in a large bowl and pour the butter over, then stir until everything has melted.
- Beat in the eggs, then sift over the flours and cocoa powder and stir together.
- Stir in the almonds and chopped chocolate until they are well dispersed.
- Spoon half the mixture into the tin and spread out evenly. Spoon over the blackberry mixture, then top with the rest of the brownie mix and smooth the top.
- Bake the brownies for 25 minutes, until they still have a bit of a wobble in the centre, but have a bit of a crust.
- Leave to cool in the tin for AT LEAST half an hour, then eat!
I was a bit disappointed by the free-from episode of the Bake Off this week – it rather felt like the bakers were trying to overcome a problem by not using sugar in their cakes, or dairy in their ice-cream, rather than embracing the challenge and a different style of baking to make something interesting! Only Ugne and Nadiya really got into the spirit of the week I thought, although unfortunately Ugne’s sugar (and gluten) free cake didn’t go quite to plan – I felt so sorry for her when it was collapsing in the fridge. Nadiya’s jam made with basil seeds sounded really interesting, rather like a chia jam, and I’m definitely going to have to try it!
This carrot cake is sugar free, gluten free and dairy free, incorporating all three of this week’s tasks! The sweetness comes from maple syrup, as well as from the carrots themselves. Instead of wheat flour I have used a combination of ground almonds and buckwheat flour, and coconut oil instead of butter to make it dairy free. It is still lovely and moist like a non ‘free-from’ cake, and the spices make it a perfect autumnal treat.
This vegan ice-cream is perfect for hot summer days, as it has all the creaminess and texture of non-vegan ice-cream, thanks to the whipped coconut cream, but is also much lighter and more refreshing, as it doesn’t have any dairy in it. It tastes almost like a frozen strawberry smoothie, and is absolutely delicious! This ice-cream is also free from refined sugar, only using maple syrup as a sweetener, so it will set pretty hard in the freezer, which explains the addition of the vodka, and the necessity of removing it from the freezer 20 minutes before you want to eat. However, the lack of refined sugar isn’t all bad – because it only has (mainly!) healthy ingredients, it is entirely acceptable to eat for breakfast… which I have done…!
One of the best things about this ice-cream is that it’s so easily customisable; once you have the coconut and banana base you can add any flavours you want, maybe some mint extract and cacao nibs to make a healthy mint choc chip? Or how about adding peaches instead of strawberries to make a creamy peach ice-cream? Once you have churned the ice-cream you can either put it in a tub to freeze, or spoon it into ice-lolly moulds to make an exciting treat for the kids! The cacao and almond crumb is, of course, entirely optional, but I do find that it adds a lovely crunch of texture.
These shortbread are the ultimate dunking biscuits – tea, coffee or hot chocolate, it doesn’t matter, they are just perfect! The chocolate layer melts so they can soak up just enough of the liquid while still retaining a crunch from the roasted almonds. They would be perfect served with scones as part of an afternoon tea, or simply on pretty, floral china as a spring afternoon treat!
This shortbread uses the classic 3-2-1 recipe, with 3 parts flour (with a little bit of rice flour for crumbliness!), 2 parts good quality salted butter and one part caster sugar, but the nuttiness of the roasted almonds takes them to another level entirely! It’s really important not to roll the dough out too thinly, as you want thick, crumbly shortbread and not thin biscuits.
Roasted almond and dark chocolate shortbread:
- 280g plain flour
- 2 dessert spoons of rice flour or ground rice
- 200g good quality salted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 80g whole almonds
- 200g dark chocolate
- Heat the oven to 180C, then spread the almonds out on a baking tray and cook for 10 minutes, then take them out of the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then stir in the flours until you have a smooth dough (you may need to use your hands at the end!)
- Roughly chop the almonds and then mix them into the shortbread dough.
- Form the dough into a ball and then roll out to a thickness of 2cm.
- Either cut the shortbread into squares or use a cutter, then place the shapes onto a lined baking tray and bake for 18 minutes until lightly golden.
- Transfer the shortbread onto a wire rack to cool.
- When they are completely cool, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, then tip each shortbread into the chocolate so a third of it is covered, then leave to set on the rack.
This crumble is based on a recipe by Deliciously Ella, who has an amazing new book full of healthy vegan and gluten free recipes. It came about when my sister came to stay with me for the weekend and after a long walk we really wanted to do some baking. However she has given up sugar for Lent, so we were very limited as to what we could make! I bought Ella’s book a couple of days ago, so we looked through it for inspiration and found this crumble recipe. Ella uses maple syrup for sweetener, which we replaced with a homemade date syrup (after a mad dash to Aldi for dates!) to keep it sugar free.
We used nectarines and raspberries, and the raspberries went all jammy and lovely, but you could also use blackberries, apples, pears or any other fruit you fancy! This crumble is gluten free, using coconut oil and almonds in place of butter and flour, and is delicious served with some natural yogurt.
Welcome to Day 6 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!
Mince pies are a Christmas essential, and these are really simple to make. They are perfect to make for Christmas gatherings, and are easy for children to get involved with!
You can vary the additions to the mincemeat – I also like using orange zest and chocolate chips, or you can add other dried fruits like cherries and apricots. You can also use different toppings, I like to use a brown sugar meringue, or a simple crumble mixture as an alternative to pastry.
Welcome to Day 1 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!
These pear and ginger tarts are the perfect Christmassy bake, and are a great alternative to some of the richer cakes at this time of year, especially for anyone who doesn’t like mince pies.
They are perfect served cold with a cup of tea, but are just as good heated up with ice-cream as a dessert. Try and use a firm pear, as it will soften as it cooks, and you want it to retain some flavour and texture.