Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free brownies’

We’ve had a solid week of rain in Sydney.

I’m not exaggerating – we only had 45 minutes of Spring sunshine last week, which led to a mild case of cabin fever and culminated in a manic baking frenzy.  I made several batches of chestnut flour brownies – they’re gluten-free, simple to bake and perhaps just a little too easy to eat!

I also whisked up a batch of Anna’s Canelés – the only time a silicone baking mould ever gets used in our kitchen. I made big ones…

…and baby ones, all flavoured with a hint of dark rum…

A wet week necessitates lots of custard (according to my Pete), which resulted in a glut of egg whites. I turned some of them into friands – these blackberry and Valrhona chocolate ones are a variation on our original recipe.  The red wrappers were very cheery…

…and matched the rosy filling!

The remaining four egg whites were turned into a baby pavlova

…which was topped with whipped cream, strawberries, kiwi fruit and a drizzle of vanilla syrup just before serving.

Serendipitously, Nic at Dining with a Stud is hosting the Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop.  Nothing marks the start of summer in Australia like a pavlova…

The sun finally returned on Saturday afternoon, and we were able to head out to inspect our soggy garden.  Thankfully it was mostly intact, although parts of it were very muddy!

How’s the weather in your part of the world?

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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.

By substituting chestnut flour for the plain flour in our fudge brownie recipe, I think we’ve finally succeeded!

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.

Edit Jan 2019: It’s been eight years since I wrote this post, and my hands are eight years older as well, so these days I use a handheld mixer to beat the batter. It only takes a minute or two, but it’s just easier.

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!

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