BFF Brownies

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'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

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 Milk
2/3 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

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 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

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 Spread - HannahOrganic Coconut Oil - ZoeOrganic Mayonnaise - RebeccaOrganic Worcestershire Sauce - KatOrganic Castile Liquid Soap - Michelle Congratulations and enjoy! I've contacted you all via email. Thanks again to Melrose!