August 6, 2016 — American
‘So here we have it. Dad’s ‘healthier’ version to the Walnut and Blueberry brownies. Even with the reduced fat and sugar they are still amazing. Note his little tip he uses for replacing fats in the method below. Also have a read of our article “Can a Brownie be Healthy?” – for a little background on this recipe’
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2 large eggs
100g wholemeal spelt flour – or other wholemeal flour
50g dark moscovado sugar
50 caster sugar
5 pitted medjool dates
100g dark chocolate 70%
25g cocoa powder
50g unsalted butter
100g Greek yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp baking powder
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How clever of Betty Crocker…
Imagine a powder, which when mixed with water, egg and oil – and then cooked – is magically transformed into brownies. That’s exactly what happens when you make brownies using a packet of Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix. And before you scoff in disdain at this food-lab conjuring trick – Betty Crocker’s marvellous mix makes a very good brownie. So good in fact, our family always used Betty Crocker rather than making brownies from scratch – just like millions of other families. So what makes the product so successful?
The technicians and marketers at General Mills could easily have created a powder that only required water to make a batter – so someone must have realised that a formula requiring the consumer to buy additional eggs and oil would make the product more appealing. And they were right, consumers are more gratified when they’re given the task of providing their own (additional) ingredients. It’s a carefully balanced scientific and psychological proposition: any fewer ingredients and the mix would appear too chemically efficient and leave the consumer with too little to do – any more ingredients and the consumer might feel they were being asked to buy too many key ingredients and do too much of the work. Furthermore, by adding their own eggs, the consumer will be providing their own homely goodness to a manufactured products. It’s a perfect trade-off between convenience and baking skills, chemistry and wholesomeness and company and cook.
Betty Crocker taught me to cook…
I loved making Betty Crocker brownies when I was young. It felt like I was really baking. Instructions had to be read, baking tins needed to be greased, ingredients measured, walnuts chopped, batter mixed, oven temperatures set, and at the end of the bake the all-important toothpick test for doneness (not too smudgy – not too clean). Dare I say it, I was learning to cook.
I have moved on from baking with packet mixes, but I still appreciate the positive influence Betty Crocker’s products can have on aspiring home cooks.
We are told that blueberries are a super food, that walnuts are the healthiest of all nuts and that chocolate can be good for you. These brownies also use wholemeal spelt flour – and I’ve substituted half the butter using Greek yoghurt and used sugar made-up caster sugar, unrefined dark moscovado sugar and dates (which are rich in fibre and nutrients). I’ve used three-quarters of the sugar to make the brownies a little less sweet. If you want a more fudgy and sweeter brownie add another 50g of one of the sugars and take out the baking powder.
Makes about 12 x 7cm x 5cm brownies
Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas 4
Prepare the baking tin. Butter and line a 20-cm square baking tin
Melt the chocolate. Put the butter and the chocolate in a thick bottomed pan on very low heat or in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Stir infrequently and gently.
Mix the dry ingredients. In a bowl mix the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder. Set aside.
Beat the sugar, eggs, dates, vanilla and salt. Chop the dates and put in a bowl with the eggs, brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Beat with a hand mixer for 10 minutes until very light and smooth.
Mix the wet ingredients. Pour the melted chocolate slowly into the egg and sugar mix, stir with a spoon to combine.
Make the batter. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir carefully, add the yoghurt and fold gently. Then add the walnuts and blueberries (reserving a few to decorate the top of the brownies) folding to combine.
Bake the brownies. Pour into the baking tin and spread evenly. Scatter the remaining walnuts and blueberries over the brownies. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer, it should be at the point where batter and crumbs still cling onto the stick but before the stick comes out completely clean.
Cool and serve. Cool the brownies and remove from the tin cut into squares
A perfect winter warmer – Cassoulet!
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An excellent way to turn a popular Italian slow food standard into an easy and quicker family classic.
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