This month’s letter for the AlphaBakes challenge, which is being hosted by Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker, is “N.” On reading this, Nutella immediately sprang to mind, but I wanted to try and come up with something a little less… obvious – I’m kind of expecting about half of the entries to be Nutella based. The day before the deadline however, the only alternatives I’ve managed to come up with are nuts, nutmeg and noodles. Nuts seems a little too broad (I feel it’s like using fruit for F – does that really count?), nutmeg is something I tend to use as an accent rather than a main flavour (again, does that count?) and noodles just weren’t inspiring me.
So I’ve had to give in to my total addiction to Nutella and go down that route… Gutted. About a year and a half ago I made some utterly scrumptious Nutella fudge brownies – they’re still one of my favourite baked goods because they’re not only delectable but also incredibly easy to throw together. One bowl, a whisk, lots of Nutella and an oven and you’re sorted. Their sheer simplicity is actually a bit of an issue – it’s almost too quick and easy to whip up a batch. On the other hand, they’re great if you’re a little pressed for time, and guaranteed everybody will like them. Unless they’re allergic to nuts. But they’d definitely enjoy them before going into anaphylactic shock.
I decided to try and make an egg-free version of the brownies using the replacing-an-egg-with-banana trick so that everybody at the lab could enjoy them. My first attempt was tasty enough, but they just didn’t quite live up to the original. I tweaked the recipe a little further and the results were rather better. The one thing that irks me is that the middles sank on cooling. I presume that in the original version, the egg provides structure to the brownies when it cooks, whereas obviously without the egg this isn’t the case. And baking them for longer would result in a loss of the fudginess. But they’re still pretty (a dusting of icing sugar helps with that) and, more importantly, super yummy. Indeed, they were devoured by the lab… except the person who doesn’t like chocolate. It’s difficult to please everyone! If there’s no particular reason for you to bake egg-free, I’d recommend my original version since it’s a little quicker to throw together and I do slightly prefer the texture.
Egg-free Nutella fudge brownies
Based on One Ordinary Day
The brownies will sink a bit in the middle on cooling because the centre will still be all fudgy and yummy (and I suspect that the lack of egg results in a slight loss of structure) – a dusting of icing sugar helps make them look pretty anyway. Don’t worry about the fudginess meaning that they haven’t been cooked through properly or anything – if you look at the ingredients, there isn’t anything for which that might be an issue (such as egg) as they are predominantly composed of Nutella. The brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to three days (although I rather doubt they’ll even make it into an airtight container!).
½ banana (not an over-ripe one)
1½ tsp yoghurt
5 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp kirsch
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Icing sugar, to serve (optional)
1. Line 6 muffin holes with paper liners or set out silicone moulds on a baking tray. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C.
2. Mash the half banana to a pulp in a medium-sized bowl (you may want to purée it with a blender). Add the Nutella and yoghurt and whisk together with an electric whisk until smooth. Add the flour, kirsch and cinnamon and continue whisking until well blended.
3. Split the mixture evenly between the muffin liners (I found them to be between ½ and ⅔ full) and bake for about 15 mins. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. If using silicone cases, allow them to cool in the cases. Once cooled, sprinkle with icing sugar before serving (totally optional of course, but it adds a nice touch).