Saturday, July 23, 2011

Never-Use-A-Box-Again Brownies

Please never go out and buy a brownie mix again! You don't need it! It doesn't matter your level of baking expertise, whether you are able to burn water as it boils, or even if you have a track record for screwing up the heating of a frozen dinner. You can make these! I have faith in you!

Now that you've had a little pep talk, I hope you are ready for a recipe that will revolutionize the way you make a meal. These brownies are so simple that they whip together with very little effort, and all you have to do is smell the deliciousness as they bake for 25 minutes. They are a perfect oh-shoot-I-didn't-plan-dessert-for-my-guests dessert. 5-10 minutes of active time, and you've got something in the oven for your dinner guests. My mom used to make brownies that tasted almost identical to these. She never needed to buy a box of brownie mix because this recipe uses things that most bakers have on hand. It wasn't until I recently asked for the recipe that I realized it was a recipe my Aunt B. learned when she was in 4-H.

The original recipe only calls for 1/2 cup of flour, which is the perfect amount for a one-flour, gluten-free substitution. The more flour a recipe calls for, the trickier it is to make a gluten-free substitution. When a recipe calls for 2-3 cups of flour or more, it is best to make a blend of flours to substitute. I will share my flour blend in another blog post in the not-too-distant future. Anyway, I'm digressing. I'm far too excited about this brownie recipe and it has me off-track. Back to the delicious matter at hand...

Never-Use-A-Box-Again Brownies (Adapted from Aunt B's 4-H recipe)

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/3-1/2 cup cocoa (depending on how chocolate-y you want your brownies)
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine (or oil if you are eliminating dairy)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, unbeaten**
1 tsp. gluten-free vanilla (like McCormick brand)
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum**
1/2 cup broken nut meats (optional)

**for more cake-like brownies, use three eggs and omit xanthan gum. There is nothing "wrong" with xanthan gum, but it is a processed food, and I like to avoid it when I can.

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 8-inch square baking pan, or line it with parchment paper. Mix brown rice flour, cocoa and sugar until mixed thoroughly. Stir in melted butter (or margarine, or oil), 2 eggs (3 for more cake-like), vanilla, xanthan gum (if using), and nuts, if desired. Mix well. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake for about 25 minutes.

If you can (I know I don't have the will-power), wait to serve until brownies are mostly cooled. They taste better, and don't fall apart as easily.

Enjoy! And never buy a box again!

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