Mixed Fruit and Almond Low Sugar Brownies made with Cocoa Powder

When it comes to baking with chocolate, I tend to get put off by the whole process of melting chocolate then adding it to the batter. Plus, a good bar of cooking chocolate is not an economical thing to buy - where I have to live. Cocoa powder on the other hand, is something that I always have some lying around in the kitchen - something that I can easily get for a reasonable price - with some pretty good options. I can find pure, totally unsweetened cocoa powder that has no unidentified additives. And to be fair, the chocolatey taste is nothing less than what I can get using a bar of cooking chocolate.

I usually get Hershey's Natural Unsweetened or Delfi 100% Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - a rather good local brand here in Malaysia.

So this is the situation right now: I have not been too active in the baking/cooking region of late, so there is some Delfi cocoa powder sulking in the kitchen and it's been bugging me for a while. I think it's time to give it some purpose - just in time for the Lunar New Year celebration. Perhaps some brownies, as I have made some Hazel Nut and Ginger Brownies with cocoa powder before and it turned out fine. I can have some mixed fruit thrown in - as I have a little leftover glacé cherries and apricot from making the Fruit & Nut Loaf Cakes recently.

I weighed the remaining content in the box and it is just about 70g+. So I adjusted my Hazel Nut and Ginger Brownies recipe a little.

Base ingredients:
200 butter
80 sugar
3 large eggs
70 cocoa powder
75 plain flour

Add-on ingredients:
75 mixed glacé cherry and apricot, chopped into small pieces
A handful of almond flakes

First thing first - line a 20cmx20cm shallow cake tray with baking parchment. I don't usually grease the tray as I find it unnecessary - the butter from the batter would make the base rather greasy, and it will never even stick to the baking parchment let alone the baking tray!

Set the oven to 180ºC.

Now to attend to the ingredients. As it is a crazily hot day and I really can't concentrate and focus on complicated process; I have read somewhere before that they would just mix all ingredients together and blend it with a mixer, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Sounds easy - and it was that easy! All 'base ingredients' in a deep mixing bowl, mixed with a handheld mixer and it was evenly blended in under 5 minutes.

Now fold in the chopped glacé cherries and apricot, to just evenly distributed.

Spoon the batter into the cake tray and spread it out to an even thickness. Sprinkle the top with the almond flakes.

Bake for 35 minutes, till the brownie has a crusty top or when sticking a skewer through and it comes out clean.

Take it out from the oven and leave it to cool completely in the tin. I find it easier to cut it while it is still a little warm, with a dough cutter. I've cut it into 24 pieces and when it is completely cool, store in an airtight container.


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