Tag Archive for gluten free brownies

Gluten Free Brownies

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.

Gluten Free Brownies

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.

PS. I have done vegan, gluten free brownies with sweet potatoes, or you can find my go-to vegan brownie recipe here. 

Gluten free cassava brownies

Gluten Free Brownies

Ingredients

Method

  1. Line an 8″ square pan with parchment, and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Once the chocolate and eggs are mixed together, add the dry ingredients and mix again until everything is incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smooth over the top, and sprinkle with a little fleur de sel.
  7. Bake in preheated oven 17-20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from pan and cutting into squares to serve.

Harissa Brownies {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

I mean, if there’s one thing I love, it’s mixing the savoury with the sweet. It’s fun to put ingredients in a dessert that you’d think have no right being there, and yet turn out to taste so good.

A few months ago, I stumbled across this vegan, gluten-free, four-ingredient brownie recipe. The four ingredients were: cooked sweet potatoes, maple syrup, nut butter and cocoa. I tried it, adding a few key ingredients, and it was…. good. Okay. Not amazing.

So I started to play with the recipe a little. I’d originally used peanut butter, because that’s what I had, but I wondered what a different kind of nut butter would bring to the party. What if I used pumpkin instead of sweet potato? What if I mixed in some different flavours? The end result? Harissa Brownies!

Harissa Brownies

So now the brownies are no longer just four ingredients, but they are still vegan and gluten-free!

This particular version took on a distinctly middle-eastern flair with the addition of tahini and harissa.

Harissa is a new discovery for me in just the last couple of years. It’s a spicy paste made from roasted peppers, and it’s used a lot in Persian cuisine. You can buy it in a tube from your local Persian market (if you’re in Vancouver, go to the Persia Foods, they have several locations around town). Tahini is also heavily used in middle-eastern food, so you can pick some of that up there, while you’re at it. Tahini is just nut butter or paste made from sesame seeds (so less chance someone will be allergic–bonus).

The only downside of this recipe is because it lacks flour and eggs, it is a pretty wet batter, and it takes a full hour to bake properly. But this is, hands-down, the best vegan, gluten-free brownie recipe I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a lot and been really, really disappointed every time).

I cooked my sweet potato by cutting it into 4 pieces and dropping it into the Instant Pot on top of the trivet with a bit of water in the bottom for 10 minutes, but honestly, just toss and extra one in the next time you’re cooking sweet potatoes for dinner. And use it make dessert.

The end result is something akin to Mexican hot chocolate, or a Mole; chocolate, sweet and spice. If you don’t like spice or can’t find the harissa, just leave it out.

Harissa Brownies

  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (or try with canned pumpkin); about one medium sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Add the sweet potatoes to a large bowl and mash them well. I have also used a ricer or a food mill to ensure the silkiest quality, but mashing them with a fork is fine, too. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until combined.
  2. Line a 7″ square pan with parchment, and scrape the batter into it.
  3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes.