Since Davina appeared on This Morning a few days ago and unveiled her sugar free brownies recipe there has been quite the storm on social media with members of the public up in arms over her use of the words "sugar free". Now here's the thing: Davina isn't stupid and neither are you or I. A quick glance at the ingredients (honey, maple syrup, chocolate) and it soon becomes apparent that this recipe does indeed contain sugar. BUT it's the kind of sugar that is in question here - naturally occurring versus refined. So what I'm saying and, I'm sure Davina would agree, is that these brownies are meant to be enjoyed as an OCCASIONAL treat when your sweet tooth is getting the better of you but you're still determined to avoid ingesting a whole bunch of refined sugars. Got it?
Jolly good. Now let's eat some REFINED sugar free brownies and enjoy every single bite.
*125g/4.5oz dark chocolate
100g/3.5oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
150g/5oz maple syrup
Seeds scraped from ½ split vanilla pod
50g/2oz cocoa powder, sieved
150g/5oz wholemeal spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
* 100% cocoa if you can find it since it doesn't contain any sugar to sweeten it. I had to make do with Lindt 90% cocoa.
Preheat your oven to 190ºc/375ºf or 170ºc/340ºf if you have a fan oven. Mark 5 if you have a gas oven.
Grease a 30cm x 20cm brownie tin and line with greaseproof paper. If you don't have that particular pan size then just use what you have. Leave the paper hanging out at the sides since this makes it easier to lift out your sweet treats once they're done.
1. Put the chocolate, milk, butter, honey, maple syrup and vanilla seeds in a substantial saucepan. Warm over a very gentle heat (I used mark 3 out of 6) stirring regularly until everything has melted and you are looking at a rich and glossy mixture. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder.
2. Allow the mixture to cool for a minute or two and then beat in the eggs. Do make sure your pan is off the heat as the last thing you want is scrambled eggs in your brownie mixture! Finally add the flour and baking powder.
3. Pour the very-tempting-to-lick-right-now mixture into your prepared tin and bake it in the oven for about 15-16 minutes until it is just set in the middle but still nice and gooey on the inside. Double check by sticking a skewer in the centre. It shouldn't come out completely clean but should still have a little batter attached. However, if you prefer a cakey brownie then bake until the skewer comes out clean. Personally, I'm all about the goo!! And the bass.
4. Completely cool your cakey creation on a wire rack and then cut into squares - big or small. You choose!
5. Oh! And a light dusting of icing sugar always provides a rather lovely finishing touch.
BEWARE OF BOYFRIENDS AND WHIPPETS LYING IN WAIT!
There is no way I can give these brownies anything other than 10 out of 10! Craigy took a bite and looked at me wide-eyed before exclaiming: "They're better than the ones you normally make." Just to make sure he wasn't stroking my baking ego as a kind and loyal boyfriend should I went two doors down to see Hezza my Bezza who is my other official taste tester. As the last bit of brownie made its way into her esophagus two words came out of her mouth: "A triumph".
As for the honey contained therein, one of my Warriors asked me yesterday after I announced on Facebook that I was making these whether or not the taste of honey is discernible as she simply cannot stand the stuff. I could make out the hues of honey but Craigy could not so it's all down to your own tastebuds and their sensitivity.
My own tastebuds were highly receptive and very grateful so the only thing left for me to do is to thank Davina and to urge you to get your aprons out and start baking!