Cream Cheese Swirl Beetroot Brownies | Gluten Free

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.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI 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.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAs 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.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNow, 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.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI 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


  1. 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).
  2. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) square tin with baking paper. Set aside until required.
  3. In a medium bowl beat together beetroot puree and oil.
  4. 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.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together cocoa powder, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, hazelnut meal, and baking powder.
  6. 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.
  7. Reduce speed to low and add beetroot mixture. Add dry ingredients and mix until completely combined.
  8. Pour brownie batter into the prepared pan.
  9. In a small bowl beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar, white rice flour, and milk and beat until smooth.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Are you a beetroot and chocolate lover? How are you spending your Valentine’s Day?

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars

Brown butter is distracting. Chocolate chips are distracting. Add them together and you have double the distraction, and double the deliciousness. In fact, this post has taken me two days to write because every time I get started I remember the container of shortbread bars sitting on the kitchen bench just waiting for me to open it up and devour another crumbly, buttery, dark chocolate morsel filled bar.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

My sister and I did a mega-workout morning on Saturday (9km of dog walking, 5km of cycling, and a Body Attack class) and by the afternoon my tummy was craving a treat for all the hard work my body had put in. When my body wants a treat the first thing that crosses my mind is chocolate chip cookies. They are my favourite everything. But then I started thinking about browning the butter, maybe adding some hazelnut meal, and so the Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bar was born.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This recipe is the answer to your buttery dreams because in addition to browning a half cup of butter, we also cream another half cup with sugar and vanilla. Double the butter = double the treat = double the happiness. To this beauteous bounty of butter we add a medley of gluten free flours, an egg, and a large helping of chocolate chips (to be honest, I should have added more chocolate chips to my mix because you can never, ever, have enough chocolate chips).

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeYou then press your mixture into a lined slice tray (steal a little taste test of the dough too – oh boy) and it gets to rest in the fridge for two hours. This ensures the butter chills again and gives your shortbread the flaky, buttery crumble that we expect.

When these bars emerged from the oven I knew I had created the treat my body was craving. Crumbly but chewy, brown sugar sweet but browned butter salty, and studded with semi-sweet dark chocolate chips. These are the perfect treat for when you are resting your weary legs on a Saturday night with a new novel, and a happy dog at your feet.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars

Gluten Free | Makes 24 bars | Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days

Note: this article is a great explanation (with photos) of how to brown butter.


  • 250 grams butter, softened
  • 150 grams brown sugar
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 75 grams brown rice flour
  • 75 grams white rice flour
  • 75 grams sorghum flour
  • 75 grams hazelnut meal
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (or more, to taste) dark chocolate chips


  1. Place half the butter (125 gram) into a small heavy-based saucepan and melt over medium-low heat. Keep heating butter once it has melted continue to heat it, stirring frequently. The butter will foam a little and once the foam has disappeared keep a close watch of the butter – it should now be a light caramel colour and smell nutty. When little brown specks begin to appear at the bottom of the pot remove it from the heat and pour the butter into a small bowl to cool for 20 minutes.
  2. While browned butter is cooling line a 7 x 11 inch (18 x 28 cm) slice tray with baking paper. Set aside until required.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, sorghum flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Beat together remaining softened butter, brown sugar, caster sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Once browned butter is cooled beat it into batter until fully incorporated.
  5. Beat egg into batter.
  6. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined.
  7. Add chocolate chips and mix until well distributed.
  8. Press mixture into prepared tray and chill in the fridge for two hours.
  9. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and bake bars for 30-35 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and bounces back when lightly touched.
  10. Allow to cool completely before slicing. I recommend slicing the bars in the tray as it saves you a lot of mess.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These buttery bars are sure to become a favourite in our house, and I hope you enjoy them too.

Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice (gluten free)

“Tuesday’s child is full of grace.” June Fourth 1957 was a Tuesday. In Aarhus Denmark my Mama was born, and she has truly lived a life of grace. My Mama has the warmest hugs; when you are enfolded in her arms you feel like she is hugging you with her soul, like nothing can go wrong, and that as long as you have this place to come back to then you can weather any storm. She is kind: whenever I bring home a friend she opens her heart and home to them and has mothered more souls on this planet that just my sister and I.

Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice 3

My Mum has been one of my greatest teachers and her lessons are more important than anything I learned at university. Treat others the way you would like to be treated; there are always two sides to the story; work to live, don’t live to work; don’t count the days, make the days count; there is no such thing as too many books; popcorn is an appropriate breakfast food on school holidays; and that love is the hardest work you will do, but also the biggest gift you will give and receive in your life.

Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice 2

This treat is one that Mum used to make with Jess and I on winter school holidays. These were always her favourite, she says, because winter school holidays meant snuggling under the blankets after Dad had gone to work, lying in front of the TV watching our favourite movies (The Princess Bride being chief among these), and doing some extra special baking together. I have taken Mum’s family recipe and changed it a little. I added salted peanuts to the caramel layer, made the biscuit base gluten free, and added coconut and gluten free oats because that’s what the crumbly biscuit base should contain in my opinion. Here the caramel is slightly chewy and the salted peanuts heighten the sweetness. Then the whole thing is coated in a milk chocolate layer because that’s what wintery birthday treats should be about – indulgence and tradition.

Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice 4

Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice

Makes 24 squares | Gluten Free



  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 50 grams white rice flour
  • 40 grams sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 cup gluten free quick oats (I use Freedom Foods brand)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 125 grams butter


  • 400 gram tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 60 grams butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup roasted salted peanuts
  • Pinch of salt


  • 200 gram block milk or dark chocolate of choice


  1. Line an 11 x 7 inch pan (28 x 18 cm) with baking paper and preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, sorghum flour, coconut, oats and brown sugar.
  3. Place butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second bursts, stirring in between, until melted.
  4. Stir melted butter into dry ingredients until a crumbly mixture forms. Press this into the tin, ensuring that it is as evenly distributed as possible. You may wish to use the side of a flat-walled glass to roll and press the mixture into the tin.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden.
  6. Allow to cool completely.
  7. When the base is cooled place sweetened condensed milk, golden syrup, and butter into a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir until butter is melted and caramel is golden brown in colour and thickened slightly.
  8. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla essence, salted peanuts and a pinch of salt.
  9. Spread caramel peanut mix over the cooled base. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the top is golden in colour and firm.
  10. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  11. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second bursts, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Spread chocolate over the caramel layer and place in fridge until set.
  12. Once set use a hot knife to slice into squares.
  13. Slice will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. In my experience it rarely lasts that long.

Happy Birthday Mama Chickpea

My beautiful Mama

My beautiful Mama