BFF Brownies

June 13, 2011

Recently I’ve been on a bit of a brownie mission. Rich, gooey, dense cocoa cakes have been filling my dreams. And so, into the kitchen I hibernated, trialling batches in a cocoa-daze until I was happy with the end product…

I call these brownies my BFF Brownies for two reasons. The first is because they contain Banana, Flax and Fibre. The second is because once you eat them, they’ll be your Best Friend Forever.

Yes, there are loads of delicious brownie recipes out there. But this one is a little bit special…it’s healthy. Honestly, it is! It contains ground flaxseed , so you’re getting a dose of Omega 3 Fats, and a fibre blend so you’re getting, well, fibre! Fresh dates and mashed banana provide natural sweetness, as well as vitamins and minerals. The dark chocolate is giving you a little antioxidant love, but the main cocoa goodness comes from cocoa powder.

These brownies do contain a little brown sugar, because I wanted them to taste rich and gooey, like a brownie should, rather than morphing them into a health bar with a bit of cocoa and passing them off as a ‘brownie’. Plus, there is no butter or oil in them, and that’s pretty fantastic. And they’re gluten free to boot.

Yep, they’ll be your best (brownie) friend forever. My other BFFs are already requesting large batches be made at frequent intervals. That warms my heart.

BFF Brownies – Banana, Flax, Fibre Brownies

(Gluten Free)

Makes 15 Brownies

Ingredients

1 cup Almond Meal
3 heaped tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1 1/4 teaspoons Gluten-Free Baking Powder
1/3 cup plus 1 heaped tablespoon Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Melrose Organic Golden Flaxmeal
1/3 cup Melrose Organic Omega Fibre mix
1 teaspoon Salt
200g pitted Fresh Dates (~10 large dates) – you need FRESH dates for this recipe, not dried. Find them in the chilled fruit/vegetable/herb section in supermarkets.
2 Eggs
1 very ripe medium-large Banana
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 cup Low-Fat Milk
2/3 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 180 Degrees Celsius, Convection setting.
2. Grease a 15x25cm baking pan with margarine/butter and line with baking paper.
3. Into a large bowl, sift the almond meal, cocoa, baking powder and sugar (to get rid of any lumps). Add in the flaxmeal, omega fibre-blend and salt. Stir to combine with a large wooden spoon.
4. Cut along the dates lengthways and remove the pit. Place the pitted dates in a hand blender. Whiz until it resembles a rough paste.
5. In a separate, large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the banana to the egg mixture and mash with a fork. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
6. Spoon your rough date paste into the egg mixture and mash to combine. You will end up with a slightly clumpy mixture.
7. Add in the milk to the egg mixture and gently stir.
8. Pour the milky egg mixture into the large bowl containing the dry mixture and gently fold – don’t overwork the batter.
9. Add the chocolate chips to the batter and gently fold them through.
10. Pour the batter into the prepared (greased and lined) baking pan. Spread evenly, smoothing the surface.
11. Place the pan in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. If your oven is not so efficient, it may take a couple more minutes to cook. Be careful not to overcook your brownies, though. You want them to be a little gooey.
12. Remove from the oven and let them cool in the baking tray for 10 minutes. Slice into brownie-sized squares – this mixture will make 15 modest-sized brownies. Lift the baking sheet and brownies out onto a wire rack.
13. Serve warm with a cold glass of milk or cup of tea. For dessert, a warm brownie (heated quickly the microwave) with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream would be delightful.
14. Allow the remainder of the brownies to cool completely on the wire rack. Store in an airtight container. Alternatively, you can individually wrap the brownies in Plastic Wrap then pop them in the freezer (to be removed a few hours before eating).

A Little Announcement and a Giveaway…

This is the first recipe I created as part of my work with Melrose. I am currently working with them to create healthy recipes using their products, including nut spreads, oils, omega spreads and flaxseed products. I am thrilled to be a part of the inspired, respected and friendly Melrose team, and look forward to creating many delicious and exciting recipes for them (and you!).

To celebrate me joining the Melrose team, I am having a little giveaway! Melrose has kindly provided a variety of their products for me to send out to some lucky readers. A few months ago I took a tour of the Melrose factory and was amazed at the big range of products they produce and distribute. Their work really is very varied, and they have a strong organic philosophy. This is great for me, as I am provided the opportunity to work with a huge range of natural, quality products. And I get to make brownies…how wonderful is that?! So for you, my lovely readers, there are 6 Melrose goodies to be won (open to Australian readers only)…

Hazelnut Spread – made from 100% roasted hazelnuts.

Organic Coconut Oil (or butter)

Organic Mayonnaise – dairy free, egg free and gluten free.

Organic Worcestershire Sauce – gluten free.

Organic Castile Liquid Soap x 2.

To enter, leave a comment outlining which product you would love to try and why (be sure to send me your email address). I will select winners in two weeks time.

Heidi xo

27.6.11 GIVEAWAY WINNERS ANNOUNCED
Hazelnut SpreadHannah
Organic Coconut OilZoe
Organic MayonnaiseRebecca
Organic Worcestershire SauceKat
Organic Castile Liquid Soap Michelle
Congratulations and enjoy! I’ve contacted you all via email. Thanks again to Melrose!

  • Hannah June 13, 2011 at 9:20 am

    These looks amazing Heidi! I would never have thought to add a banana! I actually bought the melrose organic coconut oil the other day!! πŸ™‚ And it's so delicious, I've been using it for everything! (even as a lipbalm).

    I'd love to try the hazelnut spread though as I've just run out of almond butter and am currently loving my nut butters! They're so great on toast in the morning when I'm in a rush πŸ™‚ (hany_bany14@hotmail.com)
    Hannah x

  • Julia June 13, 2011 at 9:23 am

    these look so gooey and delicious! i've been wanting to try raw brownies made with fresh dates for awhile but i don't have a food processor. must get one soon!

    i would love to try the hazelnut spread! i've only tried abc spread and almond butter so far and love them both, hazelnut sounds great. i wonder if i could try it with something chocolatey for a nutella hit!

  • Emma June 13, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Heidi these look delicious! If i made a batch today (although might not be able to get all of the ingredients being a public holiday) but if i can, would they last the week if i keep them in the fridge? I've been wanting to make a delciious snack to keep me going at uni πŸ™‚

  • Michelle June 13, 2011 at 9:36 am

    They look amazing!
    I would love to try any of the products they alls ound great. But if I had to choose maybe the castille soap or the Hazelnut spread.

  • Heidi June 13, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Hannah – yes, their coconut oil is great as a lip balm too! Nut butter on toast, is there anything better?… πŸ™‚

    Julia – Yes I've been dreaming up a 'healthy nutella' alternative using the hazelnut spread too! & I think a food processor or hand blender is a great investment.

    Emma – they should do! But try my tip of freezing them for an even fresher result. Just wrap individually in glad warp and take them out the night before you want to eat them (or in the morning). That's what I do. My freezer is full of brownies at the moment πŸ™‚

    Michelle – yes it's tough to choose, they are all great!

    Heidi xo

  • Leah June 13, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Love a gooey, sweet brownie.

    Would love the hazelnut spread, I have never tried a 100% hazelnut spread, well not besides nutella….. :p

  • Iron Chef Shellie June 13, 2011 at 10:10 am

    mmmmm brownies!

    I'd love to try the hazelnut spread. I've been addicted to Nutella since I was little, and any healthy alternative would be much appreciated!

  • Bejewelled Dresser June 13, 2011 at 10:15 am

    nom nom nom! Those look amazing!

  • Sherilyn @ Wholepromise June 13, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Wow these look absolutely delightful. I think i am going to make them this afternoon.

  • Sherilyn @ Wholepromise June 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Oh i forgot to add that the coconut oil sounds fabulous and why – well you can never have enough of a good thing i say!

  • Heavenly Ingredients June 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    these look like the full fat, full sugar versions. yum!
    I'd love to try the hazelnut spread – I love nut spreads but haven't tried this before.
    thanks Heidi

  • Harry Longbottom June 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    well done with melrose!
    i like the sound of the soap!

  • changingmoods June 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Those look good! I'm sure serving them to people would help one make a lot of new BFFs. πŸ™‚

  • msihua June 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    That looks absolutely delicious!
    I would love to try the hazelnut spread.. only because I do go through jars and jars of Nutella throughout the year, and I really think I need a healthier alternative. Don't you πŸ˜›

  • Heidi June 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Laura – yes, and this stuff smells just like nutella but without all the other 'unpure' ingredients πŸ˜‰

    Michele – "mmmmm brownies" – word πŸ˜›

    Bejewelled Dresser – thanks!

    Sherilyn – how fabulous! & yes, well said πŸ™‚

    Laura – you're welcome! I'm glad they look like the real deal, thanks πŸ™‚

    Harry – thanks, and yes the soap is fabulous!

    changingmoods – hehehe yes, true!

    msihua – yes, a healthier alternative may be a good idea!! πŸ™‚

    Heidi xo

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella June 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Yum! And that is a very cute name for them too! πŸ˜› I can totally see how one could become instantly popular with a plate of these πŸ˜‰

  • Hannah June 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Oh gee whiz willikins golly gosh! Yes please! Dates, almonds, flax… I am SO in. If only I hadn't just baked a dozen chocolate muffins πŸ˜›

  • Blithely Unaware June 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Congratulations Heidi!!!
    What an achievement!!

    Unfortunately I don't like bananas so these are a bit of a no go for me… :/ fortunately I'm not a brownie person either so I don't feel like I'm missing out!

    They do look sensational though!!

  • Heidi June 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Lorraine – thank you! I kinda like the name too πŸ™‚

    Hannah – "gee whiz willikins golly gosh" = best reaction ever hehe.

    Blithely Unaware – awe thanks lovely! That's ok, even though you don't love brownies and hate bananas we can still be friends. & at least we agree on the grossness of choc-covered cheap turkish delight.

    Heidi xo

  • ClaireyH June 13, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Of course my kids love Brownies but I don't make them that often as they really are pretty full of bad stuff…well my usual recipe anyway.

    I must admit to never having heard of some of these ingredients but I am keen to give this recipe a try. Are these ingredients available at the supermarket or do I have to do an extra shop somewhere.

    Also wonderful for you to work with a company and share their decent products with recipes.

  • Chutneyandspice June 14, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Heidi so many congratulations on your work with melrose and your first recipe which looks absolutely delicious. I am addicted to brownies but limit myself to the weekends but with these I could be eating them all week and piling them into my children. Such a great mix of ingredients, I'm printing it out now! Look forward to more.

  • Heidi June 14, 2011 at 7:22 am

    ClaireyH – thank you πŸ™‚ & yes, some of the ingredients like the flaxmeal are available at Woolworths, Coles stock their nut spreads, but Health Food Stores will have the better range!

    chutneyandspice – thanks so much!! how lovely πŸ™‚

    Heidi xo

  • Lisa June 14, 2011 at 9:20 am

    oh my – I love these falxed up brownies!! YUMMO!

    And I would love to try the hazelnut spread – sounds delish!

  • The InTolerant Chef June 14, 2011 at 11:45 am

    How exciting for you! I love developing recipes and trying new products too, and now you get them supplied!
    I'd like to try the mayonaise please. It's hard to get a nice tasting one that doesn't contain egg, and this way it can go on the school lunches safely too.
    Great recipe, I love the healthy spin on such an indulgent treat, keep 'em coming!

  • Julia @ Boredom Abounds June 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Oh yum! Yes, brownies must be gooey – it's the most important factor! Great idea to add banana, it would add a nice undertone to the chocolate.

  • anhsfoodblog June 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    heidi, I love the name and the look of this brownie πŸ™‚

  • Kat June 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    congrats heidi! Those brownies literally made me drool so i have to try them!
    I'd also love to try the organic worchester sauce as I'm addicted to the lea and perrins one (especially in bolognese!) so I'd love to see how it compares
    Kat x

  • Lisa June 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    How banana do these taste? I'm with Blithely Unaware and am not a fan, but a healthy brownie sounds brilliant.

    Congrats on the new role, I'm looking forward to the recipes to come.

    I would love to try the mayonnaise. I'm lucky that I'm fine with both gluten and dairy but I have several friends who can't tolerate either and I always like to cook sympathetically when they are around.

  • zoepitchi June 14, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Hey Heidi, I made these today but after this recipe and trying the little power balls from a while ago I think I am using the wrong dates? I use the only dates I can find in coles, just normal pitted ones. They are quite hard and really won't form a paste like your recipes say they should. I seem to remember seeing some big expensive ones at the local farmers market, is that what I should be using?

    Congratulations on your work with Melrose! I would LOVE to try the coconut butter, because I have been searching all over Perth for it since seeing this recipe: http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/14954/fruit-fundue-with-coconut-carmel-sauce-and-nuts, to no avail. I mean, who doesn't love fondue? And a healthy recipe makes it even more irresistible! I would definitely try the recipe as soon as getting the butter and put it up on my blog, so everyone wins πŸ™‚

  • Su June 14, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Hi there, those BFF brownies sound like a great combo of healthy and indulgent, must try them sometime!

    I would love to try the hazelnut butter because I'm a big fan of Melrose's other types of nut butters like the ABC butter and I'm betting this one will be just as delish :).

  • Heidi June 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Lisa – flaxed-up brownies – love it πŸ™‚

    InTolerant Chef – thanks, lovely πŸ˜€

    Julia – yes, it's a nice undertone, well said!

    Anh – thank you so much!

    Kat – yes, worcestershire is awesome in bolognaise!!

    Lisa – thanks! & yes it's not too banana-y, but you can definitely taste it. Maybe not for you – maybe add more dates!

    Zoe – ooooh no, what a shame! yes you need FRESH dates for these recipes – dried won't work the same at all. Fresh dates are supermarkets in the chilled veggie/herb.fruit section πŸ™‚ thanks for your lovely comment!

    Su – yes the ABC butter is amazing!!!

    Heidi xo

  • Polly6034 June 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I used dried dates for my recipe (250g instead of 200g) which I soaked in water for a little while to soften up – worked ok. My brownies are delicious, got the thumbs up from Mr Polly and his brother!

    FYI Calorie King tells me these are around 700kJ, 3g protein, 5g fibre – perfect snack!

    I'd love to try the coconut butter, to mix through my porridge for some coconutty goodness!

  • Heidi June 15, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for that Pilly, so pleased you liked them! & yes soaking dried dates will do the trick. I'd still prefer the rich, moist, soft texture & flavour of fresh dates though. Thanks for the calorie king info too – yes I'm quite pleased with their nutrient profile πŸ™‚
    Heidi xo

  • Heidi June 15, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Oops, sorry- Polly not Pilly – I blame my iPhone!! Xo

  • nellbe June 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Well these brownies are right up my alley for sure, especially being gluten free. I would love to try anything from that range…maybe the coconut oil especially as I have heard lots about it.

  • Kate@Fudgy Goodness June 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks Heidi, I love the look of these! I wonder if hubby would realise they are so healthy if I just served them up to him? Might give it a go πŸ˜‰

  • Heidi June 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    nelbe – thanks for the comment!

    Kate – sneaky, I like it. He may be able to tell, they certainly don't have the suuuuper rich flavour of many brownies, but they're pretty darn close πŸ™‚

    Heidi xo

  • zoepitchi June 30, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Yay thanks for making me a winner Heidi! πŸ˜€ I have just emailed the email address in your contact page so you have my email address. Is it possible to get the coconut butter instead of the oil?

    Also I made the best burger for dinner tonight based on my favourite Burger at Grill'd. I remembered how you said Ben likes mushrooms on one of my other posts and the burger in question is filled with roasted capsicum, grilled field mushroom, pesto, goats cheese and salads. I will post it up tomorrow hopefully πŸ™‚