Butternut Squash and Roasted Pecan Brownies.

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Brick lane, London

Judging by all the Valentine hearts that were pasted on shop windows, men in the high street carrying huge paper Michael Kos shopping bags, the ‘make your own card’ commercials on repeat all over the T.V and all the lovely Instagrams and Facebook photo’s, we gave a lot of love away this Val’s day. But this next recipe I have developed and am going to share today is about taking the LOVE IN! It’s all about us.

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The Hoxton Hotel, London

So let’s put the good stuff in and let the good vibes out. Happy, healthy treats that make you feel naughty but then…’oh, it was completely nutritious! Nourishing mind, body and soul and perfectly balanced for a healthy life style. Better eat two then to take full advantage of the goodness’.

If you regularly read my blog then you know I’m a big fan of ‘afternoon tea’. My mission is to bring afternoon tea back to 4pm! To all my friends in Europe and those State side who are wondering what on earth I’m going on about – it’s an old British tradition of coming together and eating cakes and sandwiches at a certain time of day (the afternoon). For a more detailed description of its origins scroll back to my Sweet can be healthy blog with a recipe I have developed for Sugar free, fat free Scones. In fact everyone go and have a look back at this blog post right now (bossy pants alert!) as it’s such a lovely recipe. Spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with shredded apple and dates. It also contains my secret ingredient, avocado! Ok, miss bossy boots is leaving the building. She’s gone. In fact I see her sloping off through the door rather sheepishly. The fire exit, as she is a bit embarrised. Apologies about her. How rude!

Afternoon tea is and was a big part of my life and I try and have it every day, so that between lunch and dinner I am energised all afternoon and stay productive right until I put down my spatula or shut the lap top in the evening. You may feel a little dip at about 4pm, feel fatigued, watching the clock as it ticks slowly up to home time, totally unfocused and lack lustre.

Energise that brain with a healthy, happy, body loving treat. These Butternut squash brownies are soft, melt in the mouth, feel good food. The texture is so chewable and dreamy, it makes the brownie. Texture is half the pleasure of a good brownie and the squash makes it…well squashy. Sorry, I literally can’t describe it any better. You will fully understand when you sink your teeth into one of these bad boys. These may be wheat free, butter free, contain very little sugar and made using a vegetable, but I do not compromise on taste here. This recipe was developed after thinking of the dietary requirements of a friend and thoughts and needs from other friends and family members.

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Butternut squash and roasted Pecan Brownies. Are they healthy? Yes. Clean eating? Yes. Dairy free? Yes. Are they fat/oil free? Yes.  Wheatfree? Yes in deedie. So what’s in them?? This recipe uses butternut squash as an alternative to butter, oats and buck wheat as alternative to wheat and raw cocoa powder, cinnamon, dried fruit and a touch of Carob maple Syrup for sweetness (you can use any naturally occurring sugar you like. This is just my preference)

Why are these so good?

My dreams are made of butternut squash brownies! If I’m not eating them, Im sharing them or thinking of them. Seriously I think I may need professional help. “Doctor, doctor I think I’m turning into a butternut squash and roasted pecan brownie.  I’m turning orange and I gotta gooey centre”.

I’ve got it bad.

I’m in love!

This is a ‘no fear’ recipe that’s simple and quick to make with absolutely no bother. It all goes in the bowl at pretty much the same time. It’s the perfect fix to a 4pm slump or sweet tooth craving. You will need to cook your squash first. You can do this just before you make the recipe or the night before. Roasted Pecans and buckwheat gives this a real smoky taste and the cinnamon is added to compliment these two. Let’s not forget the chocolate. I use unsweetened cocoa powder and a table spoon of 85% dark chocolate for extra depth.

Let’s get started! As I am gonna have a craving in exactly 45mins time.

NOTE – Naturally occurring sugars? Carob syrup, Maple syrup or Date Syrup. You could also use pure honey.

Butternut Squash and Roasted Pecan Brownies – makes 6, bake 25 mins.

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Ingredients

40g Oats

50g Buckwheat (if you are not a fan use Wholemeal Spelt or wholemeal flour)

25g Raisins

30g dates

300g  butternut squash

3 tbsp Cocoa powder

2 tbsp Maple or Carob Syrup

1 heaped tbsp 85% Dark Chocolate (melted)

50g Baked or pan fried Pecans ( no need for oil to pan roast).

MethodPre heat on to 180.c/350.f

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1 – Boil or steam your Butternut squash until mash-ably soft.

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2 – In a large bowl add the mashed Squash and sift in the Buckwheat flour and cocoa powder,

3 – In a food processor add the oats, raisins, dates and Maple Syrup (or whatever naturally occurring sugar you prefer)

4 – Add the blitzed ingredients to the butternut squash ingredients and mix well.

5 – For the nuts you can grab yourself a small frying pan and after breaking up a big handful of pecans toast them over the heat and toss them every so often. As soon as they have started to brown, your done. Or you can grab a baking tray, add baking paper and add the pecans and toast in the oven, regularly tossing and checking or checking and tossing!

6 – After you have added the nuts to your mixture put your dark chocolate in a microwavable bowl and (depending on your microwave) melt for 30 secs or keep checking until the chocolate has just melted.

TOP TIP – regularly check your chocolate and stir. Only melt the chocolate until JUST melted any longer then the chocolate will turn lumpy and gritty. It’s burnt!

7 – Mix in the melted chocolate to your big bowl of deliciousness and do a taste test to make sure your batter has enough chocolate flavour for you.

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8- Add the mixture to a prepared baking tray or dish lined with baking paper and greased. I use coconut oil to grease mine.

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9 – Add the dish to the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

10 – After 25 mins test with a tooth pick and if it comes out clean we’ve won!!

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Allow to cool if you can bear it and then attack attack!!

IMG_4323I love the way the orange colour of the squash still comes through the deep chocolate. These have great brownie texture which feels like eating velvet. In perfect contrast you get the crunch of the pecan. In the words of Jamie Oliver and Dell Boy ‘Lovely jubbly!’

Lets have a look in close up of this Butternut Squash and roasted Pecan Brownie.

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Butternut squash – Vitamins – A, B, E and K. Minerals – magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. It’s also high in fibre.

Looking for more healthy treat inspiration ? – Check out my Wheat-free, Sugar free Scone recipe, on my Sweet can be healthy blog post that I spoke about earlier.

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My Apple, Date & Avocado Scones

If you are like me and fly out of the house first thing in the morning these might be a perfect breakfast on the go or just a great feel good treat for you. Have a quick look at my Good morning sunshine bars blog.

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Bursting with seeds, nuts and fruit.

It would be great to meet you all. You can find me on Instagram @thecakediariesofficial or Tweet me @thecakediaries1

Stay happy and healthy and know that spring is on his way! He told me.

Yours truly

The Cake Diaries xoxo

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