Bye Bye Bad-For-You Brownies

These gluten-free, refined-sugar free and (can be) dairy-free brownies taste absolutely incredible and look and feel exactly like "normal" brownies. The secret ingredient in this recipe is protein-rich besan, also known as gram flour or chickpea flour. I know what you're probably thinking: "chickpeas and chocolate, no thank you!" But I promise you will be able to fool even the greatest health-food sceptics; they taste as decadently rich and moist as their wheat and sugar-laden counterparts. I tested them on my discerning partner and my colleagues this morning without telling them there was anything unusual or healthy about them... and they passed the test with flying colours!

Besan or gram flour truly trumps wheat flour in its protein and folate content and I like it because, aside from lending itself brilliantly to cake baking, it is naturally gluten-free, rather than a lot of the gluten-free flours out there that have gluten extracted from them artificially. Half a cup of besan flour has 201 micrograms of folate, compared to 26 micrograms in whole-wheat flour. Besan flour also delivers a boost of iron (great antioxidant), magnesium (promotes vascular health and regulates blood pressure) and phosphorus (helps maintain strong bones).

So these brownies are not only moreish and decadent but full of nutrients and good fats (eaten in moderation of course).

Squishy Gluten-Free Brownies

Makes about 12 squares

Ingredients:

3 free-range eggs
150g coconut sugar
120g raw full fat butter or organic coconut oil
1 pinch of sea salt (omit if using salted butter)
50g dark organic chocolate
3 tb raw organic cacao powder
80g organic chickpea flour

50g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped (optional)

1 tsp of gluten-free baking powder

Instructions:

1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small pan and let it cool a little.

2. Whisk eggs and sugar together in a large mixing bowl before adding the butter and chocolate. Stir well.

3. Add salt, hazelnuts if using, raw cacao and gram flour to the wet mixture. Mix very well and pour into a greased square cake tin (25cm x 25cm) or a muffin tray for cupcake brownies.

4. Bake in a pre-heated oven 180C/350F for about 25 minutes, it depends on how thick they are so use a toothpick and they are ready when it comes out clean.

N.B. 26 September 2014: I ran out of my usual organic dark chocolate and only had this Lindt Chilli Chocolate to make birthday brownies. They were divine with that little kick of heat. Experiment with different types of chocolate but make sure the cocoa percentage is as high as possible.

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