Passion Fruit Baobab Brownies

Constant access to a supply of fresh and affordable passion fruit is one of my favorite parts of living in West Africa. With Its sweet yet tart pulp and crunchy seeds, a little passion fruit goes a long way in adding a tropical twist to any dessert. Given that I bought a huge bottle of baobab pulp, I've been brainstorming different ways to use it. When a friend suggested I make a dessert for her potluck, I decided to experiment in the kitchen, and whip up some passion fruit baobab brownies. My rendition of these brownies was lighter in flavor and texture than your usual run-of-the-mill brownies. I'm typically a fan of slightly undercooked brownies, but at the request of my friend Mike (who'd like me to let you all know that he is currently single and knows how to cook), I fully cooked this batch. However, to my surprise, because of the passion fruit in the batter, the brownies remained moist and fragrant.

I used Kingsbite chocolate from GoldenTree, a Ghanaian-based confectionary company. When chocolate melts, it is usually a smooth, homogenous mixture, but I was disappointed when I melted the chocolate because the cocoa separated from the vegetable oil. I later learned that this process is called "seizing" -- it usually occurs when melting chocolate comes into contact with a few drops of water. Lesson learned. I now know that the best way to melt chocolate is to heat it over a water bath or in 20-second increments in the microwave, while stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn.

Passion Fruit Baobab Brownies

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cup sugar
1.5 teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
2 bars chocolate (about 140g chocolate)
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup baobab pulp (You can buy some via Aduna)
1 cup flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix oil and sugar, then add eggs and vanilla, and blend until smooth.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Stir dry ingredients into the oil/sugar mixture, alternating slowly to make the process easier. 
  5. Pour into greased 9 x 13 square pan.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until sides just start to pull away from the pan.
  7. Cool completely before cutting.

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