Sunday, September 12, 2010

Amazingly fudgy dark chocolate gluten free brownies!

If you know someone who is gluten free or recently diagnosed with a wheat or gluten allergy, these brownies are a great way to ease into gluten free living.  While we are fortunate enough not to have wheat sensitivities in the family, we love these because they are practically indistinguishable from regular flour brownies and give us a break from a traditional grain heavy diet.  I have made these with both Spectrum vegetable shortening and butter.  And as much of a butter fan as I am, I actually liked how they turned out with the shortening better.  (I know, no one was more surprised than I.)  They are also dairy free that way for people to whom that is a concern.  What follows is the full recipe but a great thing to do with these is make a half batch in a loaf pan.  They are better fresh anyway and every piece gets some edge - a good thing for edge fans.  You also can't go too crazy and eat a whole pan full yourself that way.  Not that I'd ever do that...  o.O  You are welcome to add nuts if you like, I'm not a nutty brownie fan myself.  Oh yes, I recommend erring on the side of underbaking with these beauties.  Gluten free brownies do not like to be overcooked.  This recipe actually beat out all the wheat flour recipes I've tried for best fudgy brownie.  Goes to show that living gluten free doesn't have to be a study in giving up your favorite things.  Gluten free or not, give these a try, I'm sure you'll love them!

Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies (Gluten Free)

5 oz. good Belgian or dark chocolate (I used 70% Dark chocolate Divine bars but XOXOX Chocolove is deliciously smooth as well)
½ cup unhydrogenated vegetable shortening (Spectrum Organic or Jungle Shortening)
2 pastured eggs, room temperature
½ cup loosely packed blanched almond flour (I used Honeyville Farms)
¼ cup teff flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 tsp good bourbon vanilla extract
½ cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, divided, optional (Enjoy Life is a great gluten, dairy and soy free brand, available at many grocery stores now)

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line an 8" square baking pan (or an 8x4" loaf pan for a half batch) with foil or parchment and lightly grease the bottom.  In a small saucepan, melt the dark chocolate and shortening on the stove. Stir together to combine. Set aside.  In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs on medium high speed until frothy. Add the brown sugar and beat until smooth.  Add the melted chocolate mixture into the egg-sugar mixture gradually.  Beat well for a minute or so. The chocolate should look smooth and glossy.  In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients: almond flour, teff flour, sea salt and baking soda; whisk together. Add the combined dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture and beat well for a minute. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.  Stir in half the chocolate chips and spread the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Shake the pan a little bit to even out the batter.  Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake in the center of your oven for 25 to 30 minutes, (around 15 for a half batch) or until the brownies are set.  Don't overcook.  (Gluten free brownies get crumbly if you bake them too long.)  My oven runs fast and hot so I often start checking things 10-15 minutes early depending on the recipe, even after turning it down.  Be vigilant on your first run.  Cool on a wire rack; remove the brownies from the pan by pulling on the foil edges.  Chill for ease of cutting.  Gluten free baked goods do tend to freeze well if desired.  

Makes 9-16 servings depending on how gluttonous you wish to be.  ☺  I cut the half batch into 8 squares.  Store tightly covered or they will tend to dry out and get crumbly.  They might last better in the fridge.  (Aw who are we kidding, how long are they going to last anywhere?)  But I understand they are fabulous chilled!

Flavor options:  If you like minty brownies, try using the mint flavored dark chocolate bars for a subtle hint of mint, or add a tsp of peppermint extract to the recipe as well for an even bigger hit.

I like to add a tsp of espresso powder to my brownies to really enhance the chocolate flavor.

Adapted from gluten-free goddess

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