Sunday 16th June 2019
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Serves
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
200g pitted Medjool dates, chopped
100ml boiling water
1 very ripe banana, mashed
50g wholemeal rye
flour
25g ground almonds
75g unsweetened cocoa powder (or raw cocoa powder)
130g unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 large free-range eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
100g almonds, roughly chopped

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Recipe by Dominic Franks, Belleau Kitchen

‘Laughter is the best medicine’, they say, and for many chocolate comes a close second. Indulging your sweet tooth needn’t spoil a healthy diet, says Dominic Franks.

With a huge trend towards wellness and mindfulness in everything we do it’s not surprising that it has had a massive knock-on effect in what we eat and what we cook.  I’m a true believer that eating a little of what makes you happy every day is better than abstaining from what is perceived to be ‘bad’ food.  Of course there are many incredible super-foods out there and I’ve packed these special brownies with all kinds of goodies such as nuts and seeds. I’ve also removed all those nasty refined sugars and replaced them with foods that are naturally high in sugars, such as Medjool dates and bananas.  I’ve stuck with regular butter because, let’s face it, what’s a brownie without butter. But I think that if you treat yourself to a delicious organic butter you’ll be doing your body, as well as the natural world, a favour. I was keen to go back to basics with this recipe and try and knock-out something that was pretty simple to do, used mostly ingredients that you’d be likely to have in your cupboards already but that was still healthy, sugar-free and of course ultimately tasty. These brownies really hit the spot and not only are they divine but they are super-easy to make – all the things that make me very happy!

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.

Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm square cake tin.

Place the chopped dates in a bowl and pour over the boiling water and leave to soak for about 15 minutes.

Gently melt the butter in a small pan along with the fennel seeds so they infuse into the butter.

After 15 minutes, spoon the dates into a blender or food processor along with the banana and blitz until they are shredded, then pour in the melted butter and fennel seeds and add the rest of the ingredients, except for the chopped almonds and blitz again until you have a thick, glossy paste.

Stir in two-thirds of the chopped almonds and spoon the mixture into the brownie tin and sprinkle the remaining almonds on top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is firm to the touch – set aside on a wire rack to cool completely in its tin, then cut into squares.

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