Rachel Kelly
Writer, Mental Health Campaigner, Public Speaker

Feeling Fragile Dark Chocolate Brazil Nut Brownies

A re­cipe from the happy kitch­en: Good Mood Food.

We spent ages per­fect­ing these dark chocolate brownies with Brazil nuts, en­sur­ing that they were soft, rich and gooey in the centre. Though they are still a treat, you have more con­trol over the in­gredients as you are mak­ing them your­self. Spelt flour is wholeg­rain, mean­ing that it won’t lead to a sugar spike as white flour does, and Brazil nuts con­tain selenium which, as we have seen, plays an im­por­tant role in the im­mune sys­tem. Cacao is a rich sour­ce of mag­nesium and anti­oxidants.

Makes about 15 squares

  • 10 Brazil nuts
  • 125g dark chocolate (ideally 100% cocoa, or use 85%)
  • 100ml almond milk
  • 150g coconut oil, plus extra for greasing the tin
  • 250ml maple syrup
  • Seeds from 1⁄2 vanilla pod or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 50g raw cacao powder, sieved
  • 3 eggs
  • 130g spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

1. Pre­heat the oven to 190°C. Grease a 30cm x 20cm brow­nie tin and line it with bak­ing parch­ment.

Leave the paper stick­ing up at the sides to make it eas­i­er to lift the brown­ies out when they are co­oked.

2. Roast the Brazil nuts in the oven for 15 minutes, turn­ing them once halfway through. They should be slight­ly brow­ned. Leave them to cool, and then chop them up co­ar­se­ly.

3. Put the chocolate, al­mond milk, co­conut oil, maple syrup and van­il­la seeds or extra­ct in a saucepan over a very gentle heat, stirr­ing re­gular­ly, until every­th­ing has mel­ted and you have a rich, glossy-looking batt­er.

4. Re­move the pan from the heat and whisk in the cacao powd­er.

5. Allow the mix­ture to cool for 10-15 minutes, and then beat in the eggs. Add the flour, bak­ing powd­er and chop­ped Brazil nuts.

6. Pour the mix­ture into the pre­pared tin and bake it in the oven for about 12 minutes. In­sert a co­cktail stick and it should come out with a lit­tle chocolate re­sidue. If you like your brown­ies less gooey, put the tin back in the oven for a furth­er 3-5 minutes but take it out be­fore the top starts to crack, ot­herw­ise the con­sis­ten­cy will be more like cake.

7. Re­move the tin from the oven and use the bak­ing paper to help you slide the whole brow­nie on to a co­ol­ing rack. Cut it into squares once it has co­oled com­plete­ly.

Togeth­er, over 5 years, Alice Mac­kintosh and I de­veloped re­cipes that put around 150 nut­rition­al stud­ies into prac­tice. They’ve hel­ped me to be­come more en­er­gised, less an­xi­ous, clear­er think­ing, more balan­ced and a bet­t­er sleep­er. Our con­ver­sa­tions and ex­peri­ments led to our book the happy kitch­en: Good Mood Food . In it, I share in de­tail what I have learnt about eat­ing for hap­pi­ness. By har­ness­ing the power of food to boost my mood, not just on melancho­ly days, I have been able to stabil­ise my feel­ings. Nut­ri­tion has be­come an im­por­tant ele­ment in my holis­tic approach to stay­ing well.

Image credit: Laura Ed­wards