I don’t know if you remember my batch of seized chocolate from my post of 5 July. Well I stored my sweet embarrassment in plastic ziplock bags, to lie in wait for its fate.
On Monday afternoon, I opened my pantry with an epiphany and a resolve to create raw chocolate, no-bake brownies. And that is precisely what I did.
Recipe #98: Raw chocolate brownies. A gluten-free, dairy free and sugar free recipe. Makes 12-20 brownies, depending on how thin you press them, and how big you cut them at the other end.
This is a completely raw recipe if you don’t roast the hazelnuts. I prefer my hazelnuts roasted.
You will need:
► 1 quantity raw chocolate, made (or seized, as in my case) as per my post of 5 July [this yields 350-400g chocolate]
► 200g almond meal, or 200g blanched almonds processed into meal
► 65g hazelnuts, freshly roasted and roughly chopped/bashed in a mortar & pestle [roasted as per my method for peanuts in Recipe #91]
► 14 dates [I used the regular ones. You will need less if using the larger medjool variety]
► 1 tbsp honey
What you will need to do:
1. I started by cutting the mass of chocolate into little chunks and melting it in my Thermomix at 37°C on speed 3 until it was uniformly melted.
>If you happen to have made your chocolate afresh and it’s still all melty delicious, then you can skip this step.
2. If you are making this in a Thermomix, add the dates, honey and almond meal to the chocolate and blend on speed 7 or 8 (still at 37°C) until well combined.
If you are making this recipe with a traditional blender, or food processor, whiz up the dates until they are a pulverised paste, then blend in the almond meal and honey.
3. Stir in the hazelnuts (for Thermomix users, this is the ‘soft’ stir on speed 1 or 2 for less than 10 seconds).
4. Press the mixture into a lined slice pan and chill for at least an hour (until set) before cutting into pieces and serving/storing.
I served my brownies with a dash of my own cacao powder-nibs blend and strawberries that had been macerated (softened) in agave syrup and bee pollen. You can prepare the strawberries while waiting for the brownies to set.
To macerate your strawberries in agave syrup: remove green leaves and white core from a punnet of strawberries, then pour just enough agave syrup over the strawberries to coat them. Add less than a teaspoon of bee pollen. Turn the strawberries through the agave-bee pollen mixture for a good 2-5 minutes, until all strawberries are well coated. Spoon the liquid over the strawberries every 10-15 minutes thereafter, until ready to serve.
Hence my chocolate drama twisted itself into an end product most pleasing and one that opened my eyes to the fact that culinary failures are as other hurdles in life — learning curves and opportunities for innovation just begging to be recognised. Incidentally, I have more seized chocolate (from the same batch) still to use, so keep an eye out for more related ideas in coming weeks.
I challenge you to try this recipe for yourself. Better yet, I challenge you to turn your next kitchen disaster into a creative opportunity — even if that means baking your failed pastry into a doorstop for your kids to paint as a Father’s Day present.
I would love to hear about your culinary disasters and how you managed to turn them around. Or not. Feel free to share with friends in this judgement-free space.