Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gluten Free Brownies

      If asked what the most epic of failures is - so far - in my Gluten-free cooking experience, I'd have to say it is a toss up between my mum's birthday cake and the bean brownies.  Although, when you come right down to it, the fact that the birthday cake got eaten and the brownies got tossed is pretty definative. 
  If asked what my most appreciated success was, I'd have to say . . . . .  the brownies.  Huh?  Not the Bean Brownies (epic failure), The Brownies.  There's a difference.

      The Bean Brownies were a horrible study in contradiction.  Visually it was a nice brownie.  Unfortunately that is where the 'nice' ended: texturally it was moist, but it tasted incredibly dry.  There are some things that can't be fully explained - this would be one of them.  (By the way, Mrs. B . . . if you want to pass along your recipe for Black Bean Brownies, I'd like to see it.  I'm pretty sure whatever I tried was not what you had in mind when you said they were good.)
      On the other hand, we have The Brownies, adapted from GlutenFreeGoddess's Dark Chocolate Brownies.  When I mixed up the batter it tasted like brownie batter; when I slid it in the oven, it smelled like brownies.  And they tasted yum . . . just like normal brownies.  I was ecstatic!  And I wanted to share them with you.  But like most things, there were details I wanted to tweak . . . the first time I made them I substituted coconut flour for the almond meal, which worked but we weren't terribly fond of the fiberous texture it added.  And they were too sweet - ridiculously so.  Then again, there are people in this house who would tell you that it is near impossible for me to leave a good thing alone. 
      So I sat down today with my kitchen notebook, the Dark Chocolate Brownie recipe, and the recipe I used to use pre-GF.  (Aside from the flours used, the recipes were very similar.)   And there are a few things that we'll do differently next time . . . .

      Those are some pretty light brownies . . . I think the word I used when I pulled them out of the oven was "blond".  So it is definitely more of a "milk chocolate" brownie than "rich" or "dark".  But they'll do.  For now.    At least now I know the flour combination works, the texture turns out quite well, and the sugar ratio is almost right.
      Say hello to our Cast of Characters!  (Hey, look at that - this time Sugar made it.)  Here we have:

5 oz chocolate chips, which equals a generous 3/4 cup (I should have used baking chocolate - live and learn)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
(or you can use a full half cup of one or the other)
1 cup sugar (gahh!!)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup buckwheat flour*
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

*Before we get too far into this, I should mention that I added a little chia meal to this.  I threw about a tablespoon in my mum's electric coffee grinder, buzzed it a few times . . .

 . . . and threw it in the bottom of the measuring cup before I started to measure out the buckwheat flour.  I figured it would work really well as a binding agent instead of the gums I'm trying to avoid.  Okay - back to the recipe.

     Before we get started, lets preheat our oven to 350 F.  Now the fun part.  :)  Put your chocolate chips and butter/coconut oil in a saucepan and melt over medium heat.

      Get it nice and melty . . . and then exercise some self control and refrain from eating it right out of the pan as is.  Tough, I know, but it will be worth it later.  Once that is done remove it from the heat, and while it is cooling - and you're not sticking your fingers in for just a small taste - measure your dry ingredients into a bowl.  Make a little dip in the center and pour in the whisked eggs and vanilla.

      The instructions say to pour the eggs and chocolate in at the same time, but my chocolate was still a bit warm.  And runny, scrambled chocolate eggs didn't sound appealing.  So I did the eggs first, and then added the chocolate.

(Don't eat it yet, don't eat it yet, don't!) 
 . . . . ahem!  Once you get the chocolate in there, beat the stuff until it is a bit glossy.  Then pour it in your greased pan. 

(I will not eat the batter, I will not eat the batter . . . .)
Now smooth it out nice.  We don't want the Franklin Mountain Range to show up in our oven.  Ahh . . . that's better. 
(Now its okay to lick the spatula . . . if you really want to.  Just don't "find" a batter wrinkle that needs fixing afterwards. Smiley)
      Slide it into the oven and bake for 32-35 minutes, or until the brownies are set.  And while you're waiting, clean up.  No really - of all the details that go along with cooking, this is the one I am most likely to forget.  Unless my recipe involves half of the mixing-bowls in our cupboard, various measuring utensils and a dozen mixing spoons clean up should only take about five minutes.  So I'm not quite sure why I end up delaying this part . . . . yet another thing I need to work on.

      Once your brownies are done go ahead and sample - although they really are a little easier to cut when they've been given a chance to cool a little.  Oh yum!  (Please don't count all the "taste tests" that are missing from our original photo.)  When we got serious about serving up a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of mint chocolate sauce made it fancy.  Oh sigh . . . . it doesn't get any yummier than that.  Gluten or not. Smiley

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