Our dear friend PeteA has coeliac disease, and a pre-diagnosis history of passionate chocolate brownie consumption. For the past fifteen years, I’ve been trying to bake him a really good gluten-free brownie.
I didn’t want something which was nearly as good as, or a reasonable substitute for, a regular brownie. I wanted a recipe that was moreish, irresistible and absolutely delicious in its own right.
The litmus test was my husband Pete. The fudge brownies are his personal favourite, yet he felt the chestnut version was as good as, if not better than, the original. The chestnut flour adds a subtle nuttiness and richness which we both found very appealing.
Please remember that this recipe works best with 50 – 60% cacao dark chocolate – anything higher than that, and you could end up with an oily brick. I discussed this in depth in the original post here.
The batch I baked for PeteA had chocolate chips stirred through the batter, but the recipe should work equally well with added nuts instead.
The reworked gluten-free version is as follows:
- 90g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 225g (8oz) 50 – 60% cacao semisweet chocolate (I used Callebaut 54%)
- 150g (¾ cup) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large (59g) eggs, at room temperature
- 40g (¼ cup) chestnut flour (sifted)
- 135g (1 cup) toasted and chopped nuts, OR 150g (1 cup) chocolate bits (Note: for the all chocolate version, I used 100g Callebaut 44% bake stable sticks, broken up AND 50g Callebaut 70% callets)
1. Preheat oven to 175C/350F or 160C/320F with fan.
2. Measure out all your ingredients and have them ready to go. Line a 20cm (8″) baking pan with parchment paper.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then add the chocolate and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined.
4. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the sifted chestnut flour all at once and stir vigorously until you can feel the batter “snap”.
The batter starts out grainy and fairly loose. As you beat it by hand, it will initially feel like nothing is happening, and then it will suddenly feel a bit stiffer – that’s when you’ll know a state change has occurred. This might take one minute, or it might take several. Stop occasionally to check how it’s going. Unlike true fudge, it’s not a huge “snap”, but the texture will definitely change noticeably – it will feel stiffer, look smoother, and pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan.
5. Gently stir in the inclusions.
6. Scrape the batter into the lined tin and smooth out the top. Bake for 25 minutes until just firm. Do not overbake. Allow the brownies to cool completely before lifting them out of the pan and slicing. Enjoy with gluten-free abandon!