Brownies

I’ve owned two of Marcel Desaulniers’s cookbooks, Death by Chocolate and Desserts to Die For, for ages- they date back to my pre-diagnosis days. I gave them a fresh look a few years ago, and discovered that lots of his recipes are free of flour as written! Who needs flour with that much eggs, chocolate and butter?

 

His brownie recipe did contain a small amount of flour, so I modified it to be gluten free… and added some more chocolate. You’ll notice that the recipe below has some options. This is because, if you use corn starch and omit the xanthan gum, you have a recipe that requires only ingredients that are readily available at any grocery store. Just be aware that it is best to buy fresh containers of baking powder, corn starch, and cocoa, instead of using opened containers that have been in a gluten-containing kitchen. Starting fresh will avoid any possible contamination with the wheat flour bin.

 

So… the really important question for all brownie recipes: Fudgy or cake-like? Well, if you include the xanthan gum and use tapioca flour, the brownies are most definitely fudgy. If you omit the xanthan gum, then the texture can best be described as smooth and truffle-like. These brownies taste great with regular Baker’s chocolate, but if you really want to indulge, Scharffen Berger’s 3 oz. semisweet and bittersweet bars say “gluten free” right on the wrapper.

 

Yield: 8” x 8” pan of brownies, 12 servings

 

Ingredients:

  •  4 Tablespoons butter (half-stick or 57g)
  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate (85 g)
  • 3 oz. bittersweet or unsweeted chocolate (85 g)

 

  • 1/4 c. tapioca flour (32 g) or corn starch (35 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (10 g)

 

  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (200 g)
  • 1 teaspoon GF vanilla
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • nonstick cooking spray (optional)

 

Other Equipment:

  • 8” x 8” x 2” baking pan
  • parchment paper
  • double boiler (see instructions for description)
  • mesh sieve
  • electric mixer fitted with whisk or balloon whip attachment

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Line the baking pan with parchment paper. To get nice, neat corners, lay the parchment on top of the pan and crease the top and bottom to match the size of the bottom of the pan. Push the parchment down and then fold in the sides. Fold them back out and trim off any excess. Then unfold the top and bottom creases, tucking the excess paper at the corners behind the flap. Trim of any additional excess. For the best brownie release, spray the parchment with a light coat of nonstick spray.

 

Fold the parchment so it sits in the bottom of the pan...

 

... then fold the edges back up and tuck the excess at the corners behind.


Melt the butter, bittersweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate together. This can be done in a double boiler, if you have one; otherwise select a heat resistant bowl, and a pan that is smaller in diameter than the bowl. Put about an inch of water in the pan, and then set the bowl on top of the pan. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Put the chocolate and butter in the bowl, and bring the water to a gentle simmer.

Once the chocolate and butter are melted, set them aside. While they are cooling, prepare the other ingredients. Sift together the dry ingredients: corn or tapioca starch, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, and cocoa. Measure out the sour cream and put it somewhere where you won’t forget it! Place the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of the electric mixer.


Whip the sugar, vanilla, and eggs together on medium-high speed until they thicken and turn a pale yellow, 1.5 – 2 minutes.

Add the melted chocolate-butter mixture, and blend on medium speed to combine, about a minute. Add the sifted dry ingredients and start mixing on low speed to prevent a flour blow-out. Increase to medium speed and mix until just combined. Finally, add the sour cream, and mix to incorporate. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and bake for 40-45 minutes. The brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan before lifting them out. For cleaner cuts when slicing the brownies, chill them in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes after they have cooled to room temperature. Rinse the knife in hot water before each cut. I say “cleaner” cuts, not “clean” cuts because these brownies just don’t slice that neatly. The price of fudgyness!

 

Brownies made with corn starch (left) and tapioca starch (right)

Easy to print recipe:

Brownies

Yield: 8” x 8” pan of brownies, 12 servings

Ingredients:

  •  4 Tablespoons butter (half-stick or 57g)
  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate (85 g)
  • 3 oz. bittersweet or unsweeted chocolate (85 g)

 

  • 1/4 c. tapioca flour (32 g) or corn starch (35 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (10 g)

 

  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (200 g)
  • 1 teaspoon GF vanilla
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • nonstick cooking spray (optional)

Other Equipment:

  • 8” x 8” x 2” baking pan
  • parchment paper
  • double boiler (see instructions for description)
  • mesh sieve
  • electric mixer fitted with whisk or balloon whip attachment

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Line the baking pan with parchment paper. For the best brownie release, spray the parchment with a light coat of nonstick spray.

Melt the butter, bittersweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate together in a double boiler or a heat resistant bowl and a smaller pot. Put about an inch of water in the pan, and then set the bowl on top of the pan. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Put the chocolate and butter in the bowl, and brig the water to a gentle simmer.

Once the chocolate and butter are melted, set them aside. While they are cooling, prepare the other ingredients. Sift together the dry ingredients: corn or tapioca starch, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, and cocoa. Measure out the sour cream and put it somewhere where you won’t forget it! Place the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of the electric mixer.

Whip the sugar, vanilla, and eggs together on medium-high speed until they thicken and turn a pale yellow, 1.5 – 2 minutes. Add the melted chocolate-butter mixture, and blend on medium speed to combine, about a minute. Add the sifted dry ingredients and start mixing on low speed to prevent a flour blow-out. Increase to medium speed and mix until just combined. Finally, add the sour cream, and mix to incorporate. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and bake for 40-45 minutes. The brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan before lifting them out.

Comments are closed.