Monday, March 18, 2013

Gluten-Free Brownies

I've been playing around quite a bit with a brownie recipe that I found online recently, as I pointed out in our last post about brownies.  The recipe is credited to Katherine Hepburn, who is perhaps one of the most prolific movie stars of all time.  Well, was one of the most prolific movie stars of all time.  She passed away about ten years ago at the impressive age of 96.  She won four academy awards for best actress (a record that is still unbroken), and probably led the way for the 'modern woman' by way of being a strong and independent individual who dominated the public spotlight without conforming to the Hollywood standard for how a lady should act while simultaneously retaining her femininity.  Surely you must have heard of her, and even more likely you've seen her in one of her many roles.  So, what does this all have to do with brownies?

Absolutely nothing.  I liked the framework of the recipe because it uses simple, whole ingredients for the most part.  Real chocolate, butter, eggs, and not much else aside from sweetener.  The sweetener doesn't have to be processed sugar, as I established in my Jaggery Brownie experiments, and even the flour isn't a necessary component of the recipe.  You'll need some sort of flour-like substance, but given how little of the body of these brownies depend on the actual flour (1/4 cup for the whole recipe), the door is really opened for trying substitutions.

The substitutions that I made use of this time were of a granulated unrefined sugar (sucanat) for the prescribed sugar, and coconut "flour" and cocoa powder to replace the wheat flour.  This would also make the brownies free from gluten, which isn't an enormous concern of mine but is a very trendy food component to avoid these days as well as being an actual dietary concern for a small portion of the population.  More appealing to myself is the reduction or elimination of processed flour from our food.  I've been doing most of my roux with fresh spelt flour, which has a nice body and good flavor for that, but I didn't want any of that flavor to come out in these brownies.  I do use the term "coconut flour" rather loosely, as aside from being a fairly dry powder it does not perform admirably in any other format that I have tried it in thus far (thickening sauces, creating a roux, etc..)  I had heard that it was pretty decent for baking some quickbreads that don't need much body, so it seemed like a good choice here. 

So, gather up your ingredients.  The sucanat was a first for me.  It's not crystallized, but rather coarsely ground:
Much drier than jaggery, but still with a strong flavor of molasses.

 The chocolate was still some leftovers from my stash of unsweetened amazing chocolate brick, and the butter is grass fed from pastured cows milked during the summer months.
If I had a personal logo, this might be it.
The eggs, as always, are also pasture raised.  Let's just take a quick look at these gorgeous eggs.
Approaching the boundaries of food porn...I love it.
OK, enough with the somewhat unnecessary and almost completely gratuitous photos of my favorite ingredients.  Start off like before, by melting the chocolate with the butter (actual recipe is at the bottom of the page) and stirring the eggs, sucanat, and vanilla together.
Ingredient megaphoto...because I wasted all of that space earlier on egg pictures.

Also, be sure to preheat the oven and butter/flour your baking dish.  Ah, but these are gluten/flour free, so we don't want to actually flour the dish.  Coconut flour, right?  Heck no - I don't want the outside of these brownies to be covered in a chalky coating of dried out powdered coconut.  A much better idea is to dust the pan with some cocoa.
It's brilliant, really...more chocolate!
  Now, melt combine all of the ingredients (melted chocolate and butter, eggs/sucunat/vanilla, and coconut flour with a bit of sea salt) into a smooth velvety batter.  Again, use a small amount of the warm chocolate mixture to temper the eggs before combing completely to prevent a chocolate egg scramble.  (One of these days I'm just going to have to make chocolate scrambled eggs to see if they're even better than the brownies, and whether or not it pays to avoid making them at all.)
It's not completely melted yet if there's a chocolate island in your pan.
Chocolate mind began to wander.  So, pour it into the prepared baking dish, bake it, and then let cool completely before cutting up the brownies for service.  Service, and lots of brownie photos.
Milk is a natural addition to this party.

Gluten-Free Brownies

  • 1 cup Sucanat
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces of butter
  • 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (fine dry)
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  1. Melt chocolate and butter in saucepan that is large enough for all ingredients.  Remove from heat.
  2. Combine eggs, jaggery, and vanilla.  Temper and then incorporate into the chocolate and butter pan.  Whisk in the coconut flour and salt.  Stir thoroughly to combine all ingredients.
  3. Pour into a buttered and cocoa-ed 8" x 8" baking dish and bake at 325F for 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Is 8 ounces (2 sticks) correct? Katherine's recipe called for 8 Tablespoons, or 1 stick.