chocolate fudge brownie

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Everyone loves a chocolate brownie. These little crowd pleasers were subject to heckling in the baking of them. Housemates were crying out in revolt, “Can you stop with the chocolate smells, please?!” My gym-geared gal pal hollered, “You’re killing me in here!”

I tried to ease their pain and get rid of the evidence by licking the spoon…the bowl…and the bench. But now, as I sit here waiting to pull my little slice of chocolate heaven out of the oven, we’re all helpless to its charms. We’re salivating like hounds, scratching at the oven door…

They will be mine. Oh yes…they will be mine…

  • 225g butter (I used Nuttelex for a dairy free option, plopped straight into the saucepan), chopped coarsely (or 150g butter + 1/2 cup or 120g sour cream)
  • 300g dark eating chocolate (I used 80% cocoa dark Lindt blocks), broken into chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar or 200g caster sugar if you prefer
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup (150g) hazelnut or almond meal
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees C fan-forced).

Melt the chocolate and the butter in a medium sized saucepan over low heat. Stir in the sugar and vanilla essence and take off the heat to cool for about 10 minutes.

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While you wait, beat the eggs, crush the walnuts, sift the cocoa and line a slice pan approx 19cm x 29cm with baking paper.

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Stir through the eggs, flour, cocoa and walnuts. Turn the mixture into the lined pan and spread evenly.

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Bake brownies for 35-45 minutes, depending on your preferred gooey rating. At 35 minutes, they will be firm on top, but still squidgy underneath. At 45 minutes, they should be more solid throughout.

Cool in the pan before cutting into squares. Serve dusted with cocoa or icing sugar…if you can bear to wait that long…

two sweet nut balls

spirulina & sesame balls

Ok, before you run away – don’t freak out at the colour of these. I promise they won’t burst into tiny green alien goop balls in your stomach. Spirulina is a rich vegetable protein and high in vitamins which make it a great addition to any diet, though particularly for vegetarians, and (look out: fun fact ahead…) is apparently used by NASA as astronaut food! So as that dark green cloud settles over the rest of your ingredients (and down your front, and on the bench, and under your nails) just remember, you’re entering a space age where everything radiates a little brighter and a little stronger. This is the new norm.

  • 1 tblsp spirulina powder
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup mixed raw nuts, crushed
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds or linseeds
  • 1/2 jar or 7 tblsp almond or cashew spread/paste
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp stevia granules
  • extra sesame seeds for coating

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coconut & almond balls

While they look less like alien fodder, these little balls of bliss could be described as ‘out of this world’. Proof: I took a full batch of these to work and between six, these little beauties were devoured. So make sure you cover all your bases and leave some extras at home in the fridge because once you offer these up over morning tea, trust me on this – you’re going home empty handed.

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup mixed raw nuts, crushed
  • 1/2 jar or 7 tblsp almond or cashew spread/paste
  • 3 tblsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp stevia granules
  • extra sesame seeds or crushed nuts for coating

Alternatives and additional extras (measurements may vary to taste/consistency):

  • 1/4 cup psyllium husks
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1 tblsp rice malt syrup (instead of stevia)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until combined. Set aside a small dish containing the extra crushed nuts or sesame seeds.

Roll a tablespoonful of the mixture into a ball in the palm of your hands. Roll each ball in the dish of nuts or sesame seeds until they are covered all over.

Place the balls on a tray or plate lined with grease proof paper. Keep refrigerated so that they stay firm, but perhaps pull them out half an hour before you serve them up so that they soften slightly before everyone pounces.

Makes 14-16.

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