Chocolate beetroot brownies, hand-made by Girl on the River
I can’t deny I make sacrifices for my readers. I like to go the extra mile. Which is why, in a supremely self-sacrificial gesture, I have forced myself to make and eat a batch of chocolate brownies, just so you didn’t have to. I know, I know, it’s crazy, but that’s the kind of girl I am.
Now, our Monmouth women’s squad takes race day seriously. We have email threads running to many hundreds of emails on the subject of what to wear both on and off the water and when travelling (I’m actually not exaggerating here). But far more detailed are our food plans. These are planned in meticulous detail. Race day food matters, after all. Get it right and you feel like you’ve got wind in your sails. Get it wrong and you’ll feel like you’ve got wind somewhere else altogether.
So… back to the brownies. These ones are extra-special because they’ve got beetroot in them, and if that makes you feel queasy, hear me out. You can’t actually taste the beetroot in them and there is method in my madness.
There is this much beetroot in one batch of 16 brownies.
Beetroots are just the business. They contain potassium, magnesium, iron and folic acid as well as vitamins A, B6 and C (besides carbs, protein and antioxidants). If that’s not enough, they might even improve your performance – research from the University of Exeter suggests that beetroot juice improves endurance, helping you exercise for up to 16% longer. The reason is thought to be the nitrates in beetroot; the researchers think it affects oxygen uptake in the body.
There’s another good reason to include beetroot in your brownie. The beetroot replaces a lot of the fat – the usual amount in a recipe like this would be 250g rather than 100g – so they are much lower in fat than your average brownie. As the body diverts energy and blood to processing fats, you don’t want to load up on fats before you race (seriously, step away from the burger van).
In the interests of testing them out (I told you I was a martyr to my readers) I even tried one of them out a few hours before a particularly nasty sprint session and can confirm that it was pure rocket fuel. My husband, who is equally altruistic, had one-and-a-half of the beauties at lunchtime and put in a PB on a run later in the afternoon.
Still good close up
Aside from the beetroot, it’s a pretty traditional recipe and the result is a brownie with just enough goo without being sickly. And yes, that is cayenne pepper. It’s optional, but it gives it a nice little kick.
The rest of the ingredients
So, enough already. Here’s the recipe. Oh, and if you read to the end, there’s even a picture of what my kitchen really looks like. Hey, you didn’t think I was that tidy and stylish all the time? I spend my spare time rowing, not cleaning.
Chocolate beetroot brownies
Note: this is an amalgamation of various recipes. You can play around with it, to taste.
- 150g plain flour
- 250g cooked beetroot, drained (you can roast your own, raw beetroot if you’re feeling keen. I bought mine ready-cooked from Lidl)
- 250g dark chocolate (preferably min. 70% cocoa solids)
- 250g light brown sugar (if you want to use ordinary caster sugar, knock yourself out. It’s really fine)
- 100g butter, plus extra for greasing the tin (I told you it wasn’t much)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Up to 1 tsp cayenne pepper (I used slightly less)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees (180 if it’s a fan oven). Grease and line a baking tin. Mine was about 23cm x 26cm – a bit smaller would be fine. I wouldn’t go any bigger.
- Puree the beetroot in a food processor until it’s smooth. This takes a a little while – be patient or you’ll end up with tiny chunks of beetroot in your brownie. Even I wouldn’t like that.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. You can do this in the microwave too, apparently, but I haven’t tried it.
- Add chocolate mixture to the beetroot and pulse a few times. Crack in the eggs, pulse again, and add the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and cayenne pepper. Whizz until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour into the baking tin and put in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, but check from 20-25. You want it to be set on top, but if you like it nice and squidgy you don’t want to overdo it. If you stick in a skewer you want it to come out clean-ish.
- Allow to cool completely in the tin.
- When it’s cold, cut into 16 pieces. Do not eat all at once.
And finally, as promised… so you don’t imagine I’ve really gone all food-blogger on you…
OK, I’m quite ashamed.
Tweet me with other ideas for race day baking. As I say, I’ll even eat cake for you.
Tags: #doyouevensift, beetroot sports performance, chocolate beetroot brownies, chocolate brownies, Monmouth women's squad, race day baking, Rowing