At Last Gluten-Free Brownies

At Last! Gluten-free Brownies
At Last! Gluten-free Brownies

So the year before I got my allergy diagnoses, I spent time perfecting a brownie recipe.  Which was, of course, based on wheat flours, and which did not, of course, translate well to gluten-free.  It was my first attempt at my own gluten-free recipe — I replaced the flour in the recipe with a GF baking mix and made the first and only baked good that was not completely devoured by my office mates.  It was sad; I was sad.

And yet, I kept trying because brownies are something that is almost universally loved.  A very special group of my friends has cannonized my friend Michelle’s *special recipe* brownies, which I’ve added as a decadent alternative at the end of this recipe — “Book Club” Brownies should be reserved for very special occasions, and only for those who are worthy of such decadence.

And now, I bring you this recipe.  I am sorry it’s not nut-free, but I have not yet found the right combination for nut AND gluten free.

I’d also like to introduce my new love, George, the best Christmas present ever.  To clarify some confusion from my FB post — George is a girl, named in part after the Bugs Bunny Abominable Snowman cartoon and in part for George in the Nancy Drew books.  Now that that’s cleared up, meet George!

GEORGE!
GEORGE! I made a video, but it was really really boring.

At Last Gluten-Free Brownies

Line a square pan with parchment paper.  Make sure you know if you have an 8×8 or 9×9 pan, as it will affect baking times below.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds, preferably white
  • 4 Tablespoons water

Grind your chia seeds.  I use a coffee grinder for spices, flax, and now chia — grind it good and fine.  With a fork or small whisk, mix the ground seeds in a small bowl with 4 tablespoons of water.  Set this aside — it will turn into a pretty stiff gel.

  • 1/4 cup soy-free Earth Balance
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil

Melt the oils together in a small pan.  Because I wander off measuring other things, I always do this in my ad-hoc double boiler (small skillet on top of a saucepan).  It’s safer for me, but feel free to do it in a pan directly on the heat or even in a microwave if you own one.

  • 1.5 cups almond flour or almond meal (doesn’t seem to make a difference for this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tablespoons quinoa flour
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed

Mix all your dry ingredients together well — yes, including the brown sugar.  Now, to this, add your chia gel, the melted oils, and the following:

  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dry ingredients with melted oils and chia gel
Dry ingredients with melted oils and chia gel

Mix well, adding a little more almond milk if necessary.  Dough should be stiff, but not dry — more like a cookie dough than a cake batter.  It should stick to the beaters, but not make it hard for them to run.

Add your mix in ingredients.  The chocolate chips are not, in my opinion, optional.  The nuts absolutely are.

  • 1/2 cup allergen-free chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Brownie Batter

Dump your batter into the lined brownie pan.  It should not spread out on its own — so use your spatula to smash it down and spread it out, getting it into the corners.  When it’s smooth, place a piece of parchment over the top and smooth it down onto the batter.

parchment paper topper
parchment paper topper

Bake at 350F.  8×8 pan — 35-40 minutes (my oven takes 37.  It just does.) 9×9 pan — 25-35 minutes (again, 32.)

Now, and this is really really really important:  DO NOT TRY TO EAT THESE BROWNIES HOT.  They don’t have any structural integrity at all when they are warm.  Peel the top sheet of parchment off.  Cool them in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then use the parchment to lift out the brownies as a whole and set them on a cooling rack.  Cool them completely.  Then do your thing.

Bookclub Brownies variation

This is really guilding the lily, but it’s a tradition, so here you go.

In a double boiler (real, if you’ve got it, or fake it again), melt 2/3 cup of allergen-free chocolate chips with 3 Tablespoons of non-dairy milk.  That’s it.

You could also make a frosting or even use a prepared frosting (many of Duncan Hines’ prepared frostings are allergen-free, though I don’t know about cross-contamination issues).  But I find that to be more work than really necessary to get the good flavor here.  Your mileage may vary.

While brownies are still warm and in the pan, pour this chocolate ganache over them and smooth it out.  It won’t look like quite enough first, especially if you’re using a 9×9 pan, but it is.  Taking two toothpicks, or better yet, wooden bbq skewers, poke holes all over the brownies, through the ganache.  Follow through with the COMPLETE COOLING directive.  Enjoy your extra fudgy magic brownies.

If you’d like to guild the guilding and make minty holiday brownies, top with crushed peppermint candies.

Enough Ganache? Ganached Pepperminty goodness

At Last Brownies, with “Book Club” variation

  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds, preferably white
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 1.5 cups almond flour or almond meal (doesn’t seem to make a difference for this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tablespoons quinoa flour
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy-free Earth Balance
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup allergen-free chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Ganache:

  • 2/3 cup allergen-free chocolate chips
  • 3 Tablespoons non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 3 mini candy canes, crushed
mmmmm Brownies
mmmmm Brownies

    Talk to us.