Recipe: Accidental Teff Gingerbread Brownies

I freely admit, this recipe did not start off as brownies.  I had been given some Teff flour, originally with bread in mind, but my wrist ganglion won’t really let me knead dough at present, so that was just not going to happen.  So then I  was planning to make cookies, on the generally sound principle that when experimenting with a new kind of flour, cookies are a fairly safe bet (they are small enough to maintain structural integrity even with a fairly non-sticky flour).

But then I realised that I kept on using things in measures of 1/3 cup, and I got all excited about making a recipe based on everything going in 1/3 cup measures and had to keep going come hell or high water… and then I realised that this recipe wanted a bit of a gingerbread personality, which means treacle instead of sugar, and then with oil replacing the butter (and I still don’t know why I did that, given that I then went and replaced the egg with yoghurt, so it isn’t like this recipe is dairy-free in any case), the whole batter started looking very cake-batter-ish, and indeed, soon took on that shiny texture I associate with brownies.

I know when I can argue with a recipe, and I know when a recipe is going its own way.  This recipe knew what it wanted, and I did not have the strength of will to stop it.

The result?  Well, it’s somewhere between brownie and cake.  Teff flour, it turns out, has quite a distinct flavour – wholemeal and nutty and something else I can’t quite identify.  It is also a little on the powdery side, though the denseness and moistness in the cake rescue it somewhat.

But do you know what’s really weird about this brownie? It tastes like a rum and raisin brownie with walnuts, despite containing none of those ingredients.  Bizarre.  Don’t get me wrong – the flavours are lovely.  They just aren’t the ones I was trying to put into the cake…

As culinary experiments go, I think it’s a success.  Though if I were writing this up as a paper, I’d probably fudge my initial aims and hypothesis a bit, to match my results.

(Come to think of it, I wrote more than one history paper as a student where I had to go back and re-write my introduction once I was done, because during the course of writing, I had argued myself around to a completely different point of view.  So perhaps this brownie is actually an essay about Eleanor of Aquitaine.  Stranger things have happened.)

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1 1/3 cups Teff flour
1/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp gingerbread spice (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg)
1/4 tsp dried orange peel powder (optional, or use zest of one orange)
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup yoghurt
1/3 cup treacle
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/3 cup chopped glacé ginger


Now what will you do with it?

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C, and line a 20cm brownie tin with baking paper.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the wet ingredients, and mix together until you have a fairly smooth batter.

Stir in the dried apricots, dark chocolate and glacé ginger.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, and bake for 35 minutes, or until the brownie is dry on top, and it very nearly passes the skewer test.

Let cool completely in tin before dividing into squares.  You may want to reheat prior to serving.



This recipe is gluten-free and egg-free, but not dairy-free or nut free, and not FODMAP friendly, either, due to the dried apricots.  You could probably leave them out and add actual walnuts, as opposed to the ghostly ones currently in the mix.

I don’t think it would be difficult to make this dairy-free.  Soy yoghurt would work just fine, or else you could use that staple of egg-replacement, apple sauce.  Or any other thick fruit puree, really.   Actually, mashed sweet potato would be a fantastic replacement for either the yoghurt or the almond meal.

In terms of flavour variations, I really don’t know what to suggest.  Perhaps you should add some raisins macerated in rum, and some walnuts, and see if you end up with a brownie that tastes like it contains apricots and glacé ginger?  Or maybe like coffee and anchovies.  Frankly, I’m inclined to think anything is possible…

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2 comments for “Recipe: Accidental Teff Gingerbread Brownies

  1. January 21, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Gotta love it when inspiration takes a life of its own. The list of ingredients dominated by 1/3 cups are impressive indeed!

    • Catherine
      January 21, 2015 at 9:46 pm

      The whole thing took on a life of its own! I’m still deeply puzzled by the way it tastes as though it has a completely different set of ingredients…

      (I like to minimise washing up, so the 1/3 cup thing is appealing on that score alone!)

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