My chocolate brownie is my go to recipe whenever we have unexpected visitors or I just need a scrumptious dessert in a hurry. This one's a real sweet treat but luckily not all sugar is created equal. Made with coconut sugar, this is just one type of sugar superior to the white refined stuff you most commonly see on the supermarket shelf.
Coconut sugar also happens to be my all round favourite and can be easily substituted into most recipes to replace refined sugar. It has a slightl caramel flavour which makes it delicious on top of porridge or with coffee. Coconut sugar crystals are formed during the evaporation process of sap from a flowering coconut tree. It contains some minerals; mainly iron, zinc, calcium and potassium, as well as inulin a type of fibre which may be responsible for giving coconut sugar a lower glycemic index. Even though it has some nutritional value, at the end of the day it is still a sugar and contains fructose and should be eaten in moderation.
Other sweeteners I like to use include honey and dried fruit. A combination often works well to keep the consistency of a batter close to one made with refined sugar. Stevia is great too, but not so much for baking as it doesn’t contain the bulk needed to pad out the other ingredients.
If these are a little out of your price range you could consider rapadura. Much like coconut sugar, rapadura is made with the juice of sugar cane and contains minerals and vitamins meaning it is a better choice over refined sugar. However, if you need something more affordable then I would recommend raw cane sugar, preferably organic due to the high toxicity of sprays. It is only marginally better than refined sugar but it does have small amounts of minerals still intact due to less processing.
Enough talk of sugar, it's time for the taste test!
3/4 cup of coconut sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 free range eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 tsp. gluten free baking powder
Preheat oven to 180˚C and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Melt butter slowly in a pot then add cocoa and sugar stirring for two minutes before removing from the heat. Leave for 10 minutes to cool then beat eggs in one at a time. The mixture should now be smooth and ready to beat in sea salt and vanilla extract. Mix through baking powder and almonds and spread evenly in the tin. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a tray. Dust with cocoa powder and enjoy hot with custard or ice-cream, or cold on its own or with greek yoghurt.