“When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.” A wise saying, that couldn’t better describe my relationship to chocolate. I am so crazy about chocolate, I would definitely say it’s an addiction. I need chocolate every day, be it one little piece, but this piece saves my day. And when we do a sugar-free week I eat raw sugar-free dark chocolate….I know, it’s crazy.
What I really love about this recipe is that chocolate is still the center of the taste. Not sugar, not any fat or oil….just CHOCOLATE!!! You can enjoy them unabashed, even being aware that they are full of proteins, vitamins and minerals. Just perfect!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT – THE DARK SIDE OF CHOCOLATE
What is problematic, is that besides me, millions of other people on our planet are addicted to chocolate. Perhaps many of them are rather addicted to very sweetened milk chocolate and not almost unsweetened dark chocolate, the one I love because it tastes just more genuine, but that is not my point right now.
Chocolate, like coffee, or any other spice or tropical fruit from overseas, used to be a luxury and priced accordingly. Chocolate used to be very expensive in the 70s, and from the 80s on the price was very volatile but never reached its peak of the 70s. Actually due to an increase in supply, 2017 marked another ten year price low point. For around 14 Million people cocoa is the main source of income. On the other side you have 3 large corporations, which dominate the grinding and trading business of more than half of the traded cocoa worldwide. The estimated net revenue of the chocolate industry is 100 billion US Dollar. The interesting thing is, that the cocoa farmer only take home around 6% of the selling price of a chocolate bar, whereas the share of the chocolate companies lies at around 35%.
So: on the one side you have these millions of dependent cocoa farmers, living mostly below the poverty line, going through really hard, long and dangerous craftsmanship, being dependent on child labour because they cannot afford paying workers, being dependent on using pesticides and chemicals, and also on deforestation to enlarge their land and harvesting rates. And on the other side you have the large corporations and big chocolate companies, like Mars earning 18,1 billion a year, selling unhealthy chocolate bars, that make people sick, exploit farmers, and even using more ingredients from unsustainable sources like palm oil.
My point is this, how unfair and unsustainable, socially and environmentally, of a market is that?!
Concerning chocolate, for me there is really no excuse not to by organic and fairtrade. You really have to be diligent when choosing chocolate, because not every certification is as concerned and sustainable as it may appear. Actually organic and fairtrade doesn’t mean that the farmers are paid a fair living wage… it just means it’s slightly “fairer” than conventional. If the companies paid a fair living wage, the consumer (that means us) would have to pay considerably more.
If that matter to you, then you should definitely dig deeper to make sure the chocolate company you are buying from focuses not only on processing organic and fairtrade cocoa, but also aims to make the chocolate industry fairer for the farmers.
SERVES: 10-14 brownies
100g oat flour
50g ground hazelnuts
50g buckwheat flour
30 g cocoa
¼ tsp baking powder
10g ground flaxseeds
3 tbsp tap water
55g vegan butter
55g hazelnut butter
100g dark chocolate (70%)
90g coconut blossom sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
60ml tap water
35g dark chocolate (70%)
30g plant-based milk (I used oat)
1 tbsp maple syrup
NOTE: – I use oat flakes to make my oat flour by adding them into a food processor and processing them until finely ground and it resembles flour – same I do with the buckwheat and the hazelnuts – For a gluten-free variation, just use gluten-free oats – You can also use a 20cm x 20cm baking tin (might even work better)
Mix the flaxseeds with the 3 tbsp of water in a small glass or bowl and let them soak for at least 10 minutes. Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
Preheat oven to 180ºC (upper and lower heat) and line the bottom of a 30cm x 19cm baking tin with parchment paper. Let the parchment paper stick out of the baking tin to make it easier to remove after baking.
In a medium size bowl stir together the oat flour, the buckwheat flour, the ground hazelnuts, the salt, the baking powder and the cocoa
In a small pot add the 60ml of tap water, the coconut sugar and the maple syrup and heat on low heat until it begins to simmer and the sugar has dissolved. Then add the vegan butter, stir and remove it from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate and stir.
Add the water-sugar-chocolate mixture and the flaxseeds-mixture to the flours. Stir with a wooden spoon just until combined. Spread the brownie batter into the baking dish and bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove and let it cool.
Finely chop the chocolate for the glaze and add it to a small bowl. Heat the plant-based milk and before it starts to simmer, pour it over the chocolate. Add the maple syrup and stir it into a smooth paste. Spread the glaze over the brownies, halve the blackberries and scatter them on top.
Healthy for people & planet – please go always organic!