My approach to Pesach baking has always been to avoid the ‘traditional’ Pesach recipes – which tend to replace flour with things like potato starch and matza meal, and have a unique and identifiable ‘Pesach flavour’ – and instead to find recipes which are just inherently kosher for Pesach. There are enough gluten-free and Paleo recipes kicking about these days that it really isn’t too hard to come up with something suitable.
So, a couple of months ago, in an unusual fit of being organised and planning ahead, I had a go at making flourless chocolate brownies. I picked a highly-rated recipe off the internet, and made it pretty much as written. Disaster. So horrible in fact, that I went back and checked the ingredients list to make sure I hadn’t misread something.
The main problem was that it had just TOO MUCH BUTTER. Way too much. When I took the brownies out of the oven, molten butter was bubbling up at the sides of the tin. Bleurgh. After it had cooled, most of the butter absorbed back into the brownies, giving a claggy texture and greasy mouthfeel. Ugh.
(Fortunately, DH’s colleagues will eat anything that resembles a cake! They polished the too-buttery brownies off in just a few minutes…)
However, the flavour of the flourless chocolate brownies – darkly chocolately, slightly nutty and not too sweet, was great, so rather than abandon the recipe altogether, I tweaked and adjusted and gave it another go. The version below was a HUGE improvement on the original, contains only about half the butter, and is frankly delicious.
Dense, fudgy, deliciously chocolatey and pleasantly nutty. I added a handful of chocolate covered cranberries to these brownies, just because I had some, and they were fabulous! A sweet, fruity nugget in every other bite makes them even yummier. I also sprinkled the top of the brownies with flaked almonds, which look lovely and serve to advertise the nuttiness within. I’ve called this a ‘brownie cake’ mostly because I’ve served it in slices, like cake, rather than squares, like brownie. What differentiates a cake and a brownie, anyway?
This will definitely be added to my list of Pesach-friendly baking recipes. I’ll also make sure to have it handy whenever we have gluten-avoiding friends round for tea.
Flourless chocolate hazelnut brownie cake
- 200 g dark chocolate (8oz or approx 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips)
- 100 g butter (scant 1/2 cup)
- 100 g caster sugar (1/2 cup)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 3 eggs
- 75 g ground almonds (2/3 cup)
- 75 g ground hazelnuts (2/3 cup)
- 75 g chocolate coated cranberries (optional, or use chocolate raisins or 25g chocolate chips) (approx. 1/3 cup)
- flaked almonds to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 170C (340F). Line a 22cm (8 1/2 inch) round springform tin with baking parchment.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together over a low heat. When fully melted, beat in the sugar and vanilla and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. While beating, gradually pour on the melted chocolate mixture. The mixture will thicken and turn glossy. Once all the chocolate is added, beat well.
- Stir in the ground nuts and mix well to combine. Finally, stir in the chocolate cranberries, if using.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Bake at 170C (340F) for 25-30 minutes, until the centre is just cooked.
- Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
This month’s Love Cake challenge, hosted by JibberJabber, is on the theme of Spring into Easter – but since we don’t do Easter, I have special permission to offer up a Pesach cake instead 🙂
(This flourless chocolate brownie cake is good in the Spring, and not bad the rest of the year too!)