Beetroot adds a smoky, earthy background to the dense chocolate of these brownies, and a sweet sharp cream cheese swirl is the perfect decadent finishing touch. Cream Cheese Swirl Beetroot Brownies are an indulgent gluten free treat perfect for sharing with your special someone.
I wanted to call these heart beet brownies (get it?), but I thought that might be a little too cheesy for you all. If there is a holiday that encourages us towards cheesiness, Valentine’s Day has to be it. I know it’s not really a holiday, and companies make a lot of money off gifts, chocolate, and flowers just for the sake of one day, but isn’t it nice that even in today’s slightly cynically-bent world that we can still find time to celebrate love. The desire for love is universal, and I don’t just mean romantic love. I mean love as in finding someone, or ones, who really see you and accept you just as you are, but are invested in helping you to reach a higher form of yourself too.
As a wise man once said ‘Love is the only shocking act left on the planet.’ To stand in front of someone, a lover or a friend, just exactly as you are and let all the walls down is difficult. And when that person sees you raw and scarred and shining your own light and finds room in their heart to take you in without asking anything of you in return, then you have found love. I have that love in my life in many different forms, and to be reminded, even one day a year to celebrate those people who let me love them, and love me in return, is a valuable thing.
Now, about these brownies. Beetroot is the plant world’s gift to chocolate baked goods. Baked, cooled, and pureed into thick magenta paste and then added to melted midnight black chocolate, beetroot is chocolate’s perfect Valentine. You can’t taste the beetroot here, but it adds a little earthy magic that highlights the slightly bitter notes of dark chocolate. These aren’t brownies for the faint of heart. They are rich, dark, deep in the earth brownies that require coffee and fine plates. Brownies that hit that spot of craving for dark chocolate.
To this deep, dark beetroot brownie batter we add dollops and swirls of sweet and sharp cream cheese. Not so much to overwhelm, but just enough to provide a creamy contrast. Each bite is a mouthful of dark dense brownie with a tiny cheesecake ripple. These brownies are elegantly simple. Decadent enough in themselves to not require any frosting or extra add-ins. They are lush and classic and perfect for a chocolate treat for the one you love.
I took these brownies to a dinner with Chris’s family over the weekend, and we returned with an empty pan. His sister (hi Rosie!) even snuck a container of the leftovers into her handbag before she left. I stood in the kitchen and ate one and a half of these while sipping on a cup of tea. When you feel comfortable enough to start cutting brownie slivers in half in front of people, you know you have found love.
Cream Cheese Swirl Beetroot Brownies
Gluten Free | Makes 20-24 brownies | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days
- 400 grams (to yield about 300 grams, cooked) whole raw beetroot, scrubbed
- 75 mL sunflower oil (or other flavourless vegetable-based oil)
- 250 grams dark chocolate (I used 75%), chopped
- 75 grams cocoa
- 50 grams buckwheat flour
- 50 grams brown rice flour
- 40 grams hazelnut meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 125 grams cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon white rice flour
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 200C. Wrap beetroot in aluminium foil and bake for an hour, or until beetroot are tender in the middle when pierced with a skewer. Allow to cool completely before peeling. Once cooled roughly chop and use a food processor or blender to puree to a smooth paste (you can add up to 1 tablespoon of water if required).
- Preheat oven to 180C and line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) square tin with baking paper. Set aside until required.
- In a medium bowl beat together beetroot puree and oil.
- Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second bursts, stirring well in between bursts, until smooth and melted. Allow to cool and then mix into beetroot mixture.
- In a separate bowl whisk together cocoa powder, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, hazelnut meal, and baking powder.
- In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- Reduce speed to low and add beetroot mixture. Add dry ingredients and mix until completely combined.
- Pour brownie batter into the prepared pan.
- In a small bowl beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar, white rice flour, and milk and beat until smooth.
- Place small drops of cream cheese mixture in a checkerboard patter on top of brownie batter. Use a thin knife or skewer to pull gently through the mixture in a zig-zag fashion to create swirls. Don’t overmix as this will ruin the swirl effect.
- Place into preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.
Are you a beetroot and chocolate lover? How are you spending your Valentine’s Day?