I love the idea of using fresh and dried fruits in my baking. It helps to cut back a bit on the fat you have to use but more importantly it keeps my cakes and treats with just the right level of sweetness. Prunes, apple sauce, bananas and beetroot are all great additions to anyone’s baking; but my current obsession is dates. I haven’t found much that dates don’t go with yet, but admittedly my baking does tend to focus on chocolate so I can’t really say I’ve made an exhaustive search. Obviously they might make your sponge cakes go a funny colour so I don’t think I’d recommend going that far but I’m all for using them to help reduce my children’s sugar intake over Easter. Fortunately these chocolatey brownie nests are perfect for this time of year and make a great change from the perennially popular chocolate and cornflake combination that pops up everywhere in April. I’m not knocking that combo, they are a great way to get your children into the kitchen and I don’t know anyone that can resist them, but we all like a change once in a while. And, of course, a brownie. Try them; you’ll definitely get your chocolate fix and (hopefully) this combined with the extra fibre from the dates will keep you from diving back into the cake tin too soon after.
Easter Brownie Nests Recipe
Makes 14: 100g Dates, soaked for half an hour in boiling water 50g Natural yoghurt 100g dark (min 70% cocoa solids) chocolate
3 eggs 100g self raising flour 225g Demerara sugar
For the topping:
50 g dark chocolate
50 ml cream
25g icing sugar
Pretty sugar coated chocolate eggs to decorate.
Start by preheating your oven to 180 deg. C, lining a muffin tin with some pretty paper cases and melting the chocolate either in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water, then set it aside to cool slightly.
Puree your dates with a splash of the soaking water in the food processor, then stir through the natural yoghurt.
Mix this through the chocolate then beat in the eggs gently. Lightly mix the flour and sugar in as well then your batter is ready.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases and slide the tin into the oven. Bake for around 20 minutes then cool them on a wire rack.
When the brownies are cool enough, melt the cream, icing sugar and chocolate together carefully over a pan of simmering water and then let it cool slightly and thicken up. Use a teaspoon to dollop teaspoonfuls on top of each cake then immediately press a few decorative eggs on as well.
Perfect for an Eastery afternoon tea. Enjoy!