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Gluten-Free Brownies

April 25, 2014

In my search for a birthday treat I wouldn’t regret due to gastro issues, I came across many fantastic combinations. Among the simplest was strawberries and burrata, a buffalo cheese that resembles mozzarella on the outside, but is filled with cream on the inside. It’s even better when slightly sweetened. Ricotta would be a decent substitute, minus the outer shell.

When Trader Joe’s started carrying cashew meal, I cluelessly grabbed a bag. While almond flour tastes fairly neutral to me, I found the cashew meal had a much stronger cashew taste. The sweetness of cashews were perfect for pancakes. I swapped out the coconut sugar for cane sugar and the non-dairy milk for cream because it’s what I had on hand.

My favorite discovery, and what is currently in my oven, are these brownies. I tried an almond flour-based recipe that was OK, but not very chocolatey. Because Bravo For Paleo’s recipe is flourless, the Browniescocoa flavor really shines. I also like that I only need five ingredients and the whole thing can be mixed in my food processor. A single batch requires:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C cocoa powder
  • 1/4-1/3 C maple syrup
  • 1/3 C coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

I use 1/3 C maple syrup because I like my sweets to be sweet. Butter could probably be substituted for coconut oil because it’s also solid at room temperature, but I haven’t tried. Melting the coconut oil makes it easier to mix in with the other ingredients. Skipping this step sometimes results in chunks of coconut oil in the final product.

Once you’ve mixed everything together, you’ll bake them at 350º F for 20-25 minutes. The tricky part is figuring out when they’re done. Because coconut oil solidifies as it cools, testing with a knife or toothpick won’t work. I pull them out when it’s got a texture like a cheesecake — set, but still a little jiggly. Undercooked is better than overcooked because you can either put them back in the oven or refrigerate them for additional firmness.

A single recipe is designed for a 4×8 loaf pan. Who owns one of those? Turns out my mother does and a single recipe yielded a dozen brownies. I’m in possession of the more common 8×8 and 9×13 pans, both of which accommodate a double recipe. The 8×8 produces a fudgier brownie, while the 9×13 resulted in cakier brownies, if your cake is flourless.

For an additional treat, I like to top the brownies with something creamy. Successes have included whipped coconut cream, whipped cream, and this vanilla ice cream recipe from Serious Eats.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2014 10:11 am

    NOM! Will definitely give these a try.

  2. Mich permalink
    April 25, 2014 4:21 pm

    Wow, there’s no flour at all. The only powder is cocoa. I’ll love to try these. Is there a taste diff. btw coconut oil and butter?

    • April 25, 2014 4:49 pm

      I find I get a slight hint of coconut (well, maybe more than slight) when I bake with coconut oil. It also depends on the coconut oil, some brands are processed to leave no flavor. I like the brand I use as I love the hint of coconut it gives, esp in chocolate brownies 🙂

    • gingeroid permalink
      April 27, 2014 9:15 pm

      I think so. Like jeanc38 says, there’s a hint of coconut. I tend to use coconut oil more for baking and butter for cooking because coconut might taste good with shrimp, but I wasn’t a fan of it with spinach. Also, I buy my butter salted so there is that element to consider as well.

  3. Twistie permalink
    April 26, 2014 10:18 am

    (raises hand)

    I have about six standard loaf pans.

    What? My mother baked all our family bread when I was a kid and now I do the same for myself and Mr. Twistie… much of it in the same pans Mom used.

    But then I come from a family of avid bakers and I happen to be the single most avid of the bunch.

    I’ll have to try out this recipe for a good friend of mine who is a chocoholic with Celiac’s. It sounds yummy, whether or not one is avoiding gluten.

    • gingeroid permalink
      April 27, 2014 9:20 pm

      Baking bread is a skill I really want to acquire. I’ve accepted there is no good low carb bread recipe so maybe when I have access to a loaf pan during a holiday. I got a hand mixer for Christmas with dough hooks still in the shrink wrap. Do you have a favorite recipe?

      • Twistie permalink
        April 28, 2014 9:26 am

        What I have is a favorite book. The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day has made my life tremendously easy and fun. I bake all the bread for me and Mr. Twistie from that book. I love that the high-moisture technique allows me to pretty much dump all the ingredients into a mixing bowl, combine them quickly, and produce enough dough to make three loaves of bread at a time… which I do not have to bake all at once. You never have to knead the dough and every recipe I’ve used has come out nicely.

        Oh, and I find that when I just make the dough and bake all the loaves at once, the bread freezes well, too, for at least up to a couple weeks. Also? The pizza dough and bagel recipes are very successful.

        If you’re more of a traditionalist and want to do the kneading, though, I consider The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum to be THE book. She writes all my favorite baking tomes. She’s exacting, crystal clear, wildly knowledgeable, and very encouraging.

        And if you don’t want something that in depth, the classic old Sunset Bread Book was all my mother ever needed… or is that ‘kneaded?’

        But there are lots of good recipes for free on the web, too. Take a gander at Epicurious, and I’m sure you’d find plenty of excellent recipes to play with. Also, check out BreadIn5.com, which is the website associated with Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. In addition to recipes, there are also tips, tricks, and reader feedback on recipes.

        Have fun!

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