I feel like I’m up for the challenge of veganizing pretty much anything. I mean, I’ll at least give it a shot. Sometimes it’s an epic fail, but more often than not, I’m pretty impressed at how I can recreate a dish using no butter, milk or eggs.
Basically, I feel pretty confident in my skills in that area.
When it comes to gluten-free, however, I struggle. It seems like no matter what gluten-free flour mix I try, or what combination of rice flour, xanthan gum, buckwheat, chickpea or almond flour, it’s always a big challenge, and often ends up tasting chalky.
Going vegan and gluten-free with baking is an even bigger challenge.
Not to get into a big science lesson here, but gluten, when activated, creates a web of proteins that help to bind the baked goods together, and it also gives the bread, cake, or cookies a structure and creates that beautiful crumb. Take away the gluten, and often you’re left with a flat, dense, chalky result, and let’s face it, nobody wants to eat that.
I recently was introduced to a new store here in Vancouver called Archipelago, and it’s dedicated to showcasing the food/ingredients from Indonesia.
Now, if you’re not totally sure where Indonesia is, it’s comprised of a series of islands (over 17,000, actually) located between Australia and South East Asia. They are one of the world’s top growers of spices like nutmeg, cloves and galengal.
They also grow cassava. Cassava is root/tuber, much like a potato, and it goes by a lot of different names, like yuca (maybe you’ve had yuca chips?) or manioc. It’s basically a starchy vegetable, so when it’s dried and ground, it creates a gluten-free flour.
Indonesia also grows and exports quite a few other things you need for this recipe: vanilla, coffee, and coconut sugar, which is one of my favourite to work with. It’s both a lower GI, making it healthier for you, but it also adds notes of caramel to your baking.
The end result? A really simple, easy-to-make recipe that doesn’t require 6 different kinds of gluten-free flour, and tastes super yummy. I challenge you to feed this to your friends and have them know it’s gluten-free.
By the way, this recipe is almost vegan. The only animal products in here are eggs. I did try to veganlize it, but it was, quite frankly, an epic fail. I’ll keep working on it, and hopefully come back soon with a fully vegan, gluten free brownies version.
Gluten Free Brownies
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp strong coffee
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup cassava flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- sea salt for sprinkling
- Line an 8″ square pan with parchment, and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, place the coconut oil and the chocolate chips, and melt, stirring occasionally. Once they are mostly melted, add the sugar and stir well until everything is melted together and a little thickened. Set aside to cool.
- In your stand mixer (you can do this by hand with a whisk or a hand-held mixer as well, I’m just a lazy SOB), place the two eggs and whip well until light and frothy, 2-5 minutes. Add the vanilla and the coffee to the eggs and mix to combine.
- Slowly drizzle the chocolate mixture into the eggs, whipping all the time. You don’t want the warm chocolate to scramble your eggs, so be sure to let the chocolate cool a little, and also keep it moving.
- Once the chocolate and eggs are mixed together, add the dry ingredients and mix again until everything is incorporated.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smooth over the top, and sprinkle with a little fleur de sel.
- Bake in preheated oven 17-20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from pan and cutting into squares to serve.