Vegetables and dessert don’t make sense together. They should be separate parts of a meal rather than partners in the same dish. I remember being baffled by the idea of chocolate and beets as a pairing when watching an episode of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage while we were living in London. Was this one of many cultural differences that an American like me would just never be able to comprehend, or was this simply a culinary phenomenon for an unlikely match?
On my next grocery trip I bought all the ingredients to bake chocolate beet brownies. I was very skeptical, but I was intrigued enough to give them a try. Much to my surprise these rich, cake-like brownies had a subtle earthy complexity. Only on second glance did I notice their deep brown color was tinted with the signature magenta hue of the pureed beets folded into the batter. Since then, when I have extra beets, I make these brownies instead of the classic kind.
Chocolate Beet Brownies
Loosely adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Makes 16 brownies
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for pan
8 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup pureed cooked beets
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter.
In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring occasionally.
While the butter and chocolate are melting, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
Once the butter and chocolate have melted, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the sugar and vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Stir in the beet puree and then gently fold in the dry ingredients. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies has a few crumbs on it.
Cool the brownies on a wire rack before cutting into 16 squares.