Hey there….. it’s been a while I know.
More than 3 months to be exact, since I sat and wrote to you and shared a new recipe from my kitchen.
After posting a new recipe nearly every week for the past 2 years, I can’t believe the last 3 months have come and gone so quick.
How have you been?
I’ve been doing Life With a Capital L. Probably the same as you.
I remember vividly sitting down with a cuppa towards the end of January and thinking through what was to come over the next few months and wondering How On Earth We Would Get It All Done.
But as sure as the sun rose this morning, here I am. Sitting down in my quiet house, next to my warm fire and writing once again, with the last few months already in the past.
There was no magic formula to managing the mayhem of the last few months. We tackled it the old fashioned way – one day at a time.
We’ve had a few firsts in our house this year.
My husband started a new job which has been super exciting and I finally got the courage up to enrol in a Masters of Teaching so I can take my love of food and cooking and teach it to high school students. I have been dreaming of doing this since my early 20’s, but each time I thought I about it seriously, it just didn’t seem to be a good time.
That doesn’t mean now is a great time either. Life, Marriage and Motherhood have taught me that nothing is neat and straight forward. It’s messy, a juggle and full of lots of give and take and compromise and sometimes you just have to dive in and figure it out as you go. It dawned on me late last year that if I kept waiting for the perfect time, when all my ducks were in a row, I would never do it.
So I am 2 subjects in and filled with excitement and sheer terror at the thought of getting through the next 4 years. I have been talking to myself a lot lately, and I am trying to follow the advice I often give the boys – don’t look too far ahead. Do what is right in front of you and tomorrow will take care of itself.
Just to keep things interesting, we added 2 x children surgeries, 1 x child’s broken wrist, and decided to put our house on the market and sell it.
We tackled it like any normal person would. With loads of lists, help from family and many more take away meals than I would usually admit to. Oh.. and lunch orders too.
There was no spare time for coming up with new meal ideas or playing in my kitchen. If I wasn’t using my own website for recipes that take less than 20 minutes, I was sitting in our local shopping village, feeding the boys Subway at 6pm on a Wednesday night.
It hasn’t been all chaos and drama. Recently we celebrated my husbands ‘special’ birthday, the one that starts with a 4….My husband loves the water, so after he spent a day sailing with a bunch of mates, the boys and I joined him for a night on a boat. It was a fun thing to do as a family after a pretty stressful few months and a great way to celebrate him.
Despite still having uni work to do over Easter, we enjoyed a change of scenery at the Farm. A few days of rest and reflection and country air did us all the world of good.
So that brings us to today.
The idea for these brownies popped into my head while working on one of my assignments.
Inspired by a recipe from Bourke St Bakery, I wanted to make a brownie that was moist and chocolatey, but didn’t have the normal 2 cups of sugar that are in most brownie recipes.
The chai-soaked prunes are the star of this recipe – whilst you can’t actually taste the prunes, they are what makes these brownies ultra moist and sweet. The longer you can soak the prunes for the better. Overnight at the very least, but up to 3 days if you can handle waiting that long!
Replacing butter for almond butter, normal flour for gluten free flour, using good quality 70% chocolate (with no dairy) and using rice malt syrup to sweeten it just a little means that this becomes a recipe people on restricted diets can enjoy.
My boys LOVE these brownies, but to make it school friendly, I will need to use normal butter instead of almond butter. I think 200 grams of unsalted butter would probably work fine.
It’s great to be baking again.
- 1 1/2 cups pitted dried prunes
- 1 chai tea bag
- 250 gram jar of almond butter
- 200 gram 70% or 85% good quality dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup rice malt syrup
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup gluten free plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
- Place prunes in a heatproof bowl with the chai tea bag.
- Pour enough boiling water over to cover the prunes, no more than 2 cups.
- Remove the tea bag after 5 minutes.
- Cover with cling wrap and sit at room temperature for 2-3 days.
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius.
- Line a rectangular slice tin with baking paper.
- Place chocolate, almond butter and rice malt syrup in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted. (This mixture will be stiff and not 100% smooth, but it doesn't matter.)
- Place prunes and soaking liquid in a food processor, add the chocolate mixture and blitz for a few seconds till smooth.
- Add eggs and blitz till combined.
- Add remaining ingredients and process for 1-2 minutes.
- The mixture will be mousse-like and quite thick.
- Pour into tray and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until risen and it springs back when pressed lightly.
- Cool in tray for 15 minutes.
- Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
- This will keep for a few days in an airtight container.
- Place in fridge to extend it's shelf life, but eat at room temperature or slightly warmed for maximum flavour.