As Valentine’s Day approaches, I’m reminded of something Jane Austen is rumoured to have said — that the only way to find a man like Mr Darcy is to make him up. It strikes me that the same is true of brownies. There are a lot of sub-par (and overpriced) brownies out there. Dry, cake-y, and sickly sweet are my pet hates; a brownie should be rich, gooey, and crackly on top. Vegan brownies especially tend to fall into the cake-y category, as they lack the high quantities of butter and eggs that traditionally give a brownie its desirable qualities.
The addition of raspberries was inspired by Valentines Day, as chocolate and raspberry often seem to feature together in luxurious and romantic settings — and with good reason, as they’re a perfect match. The crunch from the toasted hazelnuts, the richness of the dark chocolate chips and the coarseness of the sea salt complete the scene. If you’re in need of a gift for a loved one this Wednesday (be it a friend, a lover, family, or yourself) I think this is it. Making your own brownies is a lot easier than making your own Mr Darcy, after all.
Makes 12 brownies.
Ingredients (as ever, please buy fair-trade where relevant):
- 150g hazelnuts
- 175g raw cane sugar
- 175 light brown sugar
- 175g whole spelt flour
- 50g ground almonds
- 100g cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g coconut oil, melted
- 200ml boiling water
- 1 tsp instant coffee
- 100g 85% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 100g frozen raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 200 C (fan). Once hot, roast the hazelnuts for three minutes until fragrant and lightly toasted, then turn down the oven to 160 (fan). Grease and line a 9inch square tin.
- In a large bowl stir together the sugars, flour, almonds, cocoa, baking powder, soda, and salt. If you want to guarantee it’s lump free, sieve it first, but personally I’m far too lazy for that.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the hot water and coffee (don’t worry, the brownie won’t taste of coffee, it just gives it a richer, deeper flavour 🙂 ) then stir in the melted coconut oil and vanilla extract. Pour into the dry mixture and stir well.
- Roughly chop the chocolate and hazelnuts, then mix them into the batter along with the raspberries. Transfer the mixture to the tin and bake for around 35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then transfer to the fridge to firm up for at least an hour. DO NOT SKIP THIS. If you try to cut the brownies before chilling them they will just be goo. Srsly be patient.
- Once firmly chilled, cut up and enjoy!