Coffee does better when there’s chocolate involved. Their chemistry heightens conversation, cocoons us in the moment within which, the world becomes a playground of possibilities. Adventures, dalliances, inventions, alliances, partnerships and other life connections are forged, and memories are born which we continue to savour long after. Even everyday cuppas are so deeply etched into our routine that the day seems amiss if we deviate from our coffe habit. Sitting at the table with steaming mugs, sharing my day with my family is a pleasure that’s simple yet sublime.
But even sublimity does better with chocolate, and chocolate croons when showered by citrus kisses. Still in the mood to celebrate winter citrus, I thought of making our evening coffee special with a batch of dense, chocolate brownies kissed by fresh, juice-plumped oranges. The recipe is inspired by a recipe for eggless chocolate brownies from www.foodfor7stagesoflife.com; but I gave it a healthy twist ( a die-hard habit that sometimes turns recipes into inedible lab experiments). But let me assure you that this one works!
As always, you can make substitutions to suit your taste. Use walnuts instead of pecans and omit the oats altogether if you wish. I just think they add a nice bite to the moist brownie. Also, I chopped the orange rind because I wanted more texture but grated rind works just fine. My citrus of choice was the naartje – a kind of a cross between sweet lime and orange that’s popular in South Africa, but you could choose any other variety of orange or clementines or even tangerines.
Eggless Chocolate Orange Pecan Brownies
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup old-fashiones rolled oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup good quality cocoa
- 1 cup buttermilk or milk mixed with 1 tsp vinegar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder
- 1 tsp soda bicarb
- A pinch of salt
- Juice and grated or finely chopped rind of 1 orange
- A handful of roughly crushed pecans or walnuts
- Lightly grease a 9x9 inch baking tin and line with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, salt, sugar, coffee powder, soda bicarb and cocoa.
- In another bowl, gently whisk together the buttermilk(or milk with vinegar) and oil. Pour into the dry mixture and mix until just combined, taking care not to overmix, else the baking soda will go flat. Now add the orange juice and rind, and sprinkle the pecans on top.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Leave brownies to cool completely in the tin before slicing.