Cherry and Almond Chocolate Brownies
Who doesn't love some form of chocolate brownie!? Amongst the many recipes online and having baked many trays of Rachel Allen's recipe for a local cafe a few years ago, chocolate brownies are my favourite go to for a sweet baked snack. Now having said that, my digestive system doesn't always thank me for my love of regular chocolate brownies (nor my energy levels or even my skin these days). So I've tweaked a different recipe variation to come up with something delicious and satisfying AND that works for my body.
I've taken inspiration from Susan Jane White's PMT Brownies with the delicious creamed coconut as the base. I've always enjoyed the original recipe but recently have been experimenting more with psyllium husk for its researched benefits of supporting cholesterol levels, improving gut health and helping stabilise blood sugar levels. The result is a lighter textured but equally rich and delicious brownie. As with all brownie recipes you can add any extras you wish; for chew I love glace cherries and for crunch I love walnuts. But with our intuitive cap on, we know there's nothing stopping you adding both or neither if you so wish. That's what I love about intuitive eating, it really asks us in any given moment what our food preferences are with what is available to us, and knowing there are no rules we need to follow.
Chocolate is renowned for its mind and body supportive properties. With its impressive magnesium and other mineral profile, chocolate with 70% or more cacao content has been shown to lower morning cortisol, support healthy cholesterol levels and provide a rich source of polyphenols called flavanoids. Polyphenols are plant compounds that have antioxidant capacity and also provide nourishment for our ever-so-important gut microbiota. So that means happy taste buds and gut bugs too!
I also believe it's important not to over intellectualise every mouthful, but when it comes to chocolate I think its both interesting and helpful to offer this gentle nutrition info. Lastly, not to forget the pleasure principle of chocolate. Taking pleasure in our food is nourishment in and of itself.
And so without further ado, here's the recipe. This will make 16 brownies that also freeze exceptionally well.
200g block of coconut cream (I use the Pataks blocks)
200g at least 70% dark chocolate
optional (an extra 30-50g chocolate cut into chunks- or use chips)
140g light muscovado sugar
2 heaped tablespoons of pysllium husk
160ml oat milk
80g ground almonds
50g glace cherries roughly chopped (or equivalent chopped walnuts)
pinch of salt
Line a square cake tin with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 170C.
In a bowl that is happy to go over a pan of simmering water, break the chocolate and the creamed coconut to slowly melt. Meanwhile in another smaller bowl, mix the psyllium husk with the oat milk- this mixture will thicken within a few minutes. Add the sugar to the chocolate/coconut mixture and mix well. Working quickly add the thickened oat/psyllium mixture, the 2 eggs, pinch of salt and finally fold in the ground almonds, cherries (and extra chocolate chunks/chips if using). The mixture will be quite stiff. Carefully fill the lined baking tin with the mixture and place in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes. All ovens are different so these are average measures. The brownies should have a gentle wobble when done. The trick is to leave them to cool completely. Cutting them too soon will likely cause a crumbly (albeit delicious) mess!