Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Luscious (Updated!)

Okay, okay, I've been put on notice. I need to post my brownie recipe before someone gets hurt (and by "someone", I mean me).

It is fair to mention, right up front, that either Betty Crocker has some sort of exclusive marketing deal, or most brownie recipes in print are missing an ingredient, because this is the ONLY brownie recipe I have ever made, in all of recorded history, that turns out the way it's supposed to. I have made them with boxed mixes, and those turned out okay, but it's a pain in the petunia to read through all of them looking for the one that's dairy free, and really? Recipes are supposed to work. Now that wheat is also out for our family, forget it. No one wants to give you brownies. You have too many allergies. You LOSE! Good day, sir. Brownies are for the good people who stop at one allergy, and are grateful!

Fortunately, this sweet little trooper of a recipe survived from my early days of new-young-wife baking, and made the allergen-free switch with grace and panache. If my brownie recipe was a person, I would hug it until it passed out. You see, I LIKE brownies. I like them a LOT. They are awesome and good and remind me of a more pleasant time in my life, when I could blackmail Mom into buying me a brownie at the bake sale. These days? People, I pass by that bake sale table with REGRET. I think if I ever found a bake sale table that had something on it labeled gluten-free and vegan, I would pass out and possibly also tip them an extra $20 just for having something there for me. But we'll save my rice krispy treat recipe for another time.

The first time I made brownies, I was a newlywed and into proving that I could Bake Like A Wife and also Entertain. So, when I had my luscious friend Caroline over for dinner one day, knowing she was on a diet, I decided to bake something awesome for her. I flipped through my massive Bible O' Cooking and found (gasp!) a low-fat chewy brownie recipe that was actually already dairy-free. Score! We had a VERY good time eating those suckers, but I made the rookie mistake of eating three. It's probably important to warn you all that these particular brownies carry a MASSIVE caffeine payload. I had a heartbeat like a hummingbird for the next day or two while I waited for the caffeine buzz to wear off. That sounds like an exaggeration. It isn't. So...the next time I made them (duh!), I cut down the added chocolate so that I could eat them without having a Cardiac Incident. They still kick hard, but the ol' ticker doesn't panic like it did that first time. These brownies are my BFFs because they turned out EXACTLY THE SAME AS ALWAYS when I made them gluten-free, which has got to be some sort of Guinness World Record.

UPDATE! I fiddled with the recipe for my birthday this past weekend (because what's a birthday without brownies?), and have successfully altered it to be corn-free and egg-free! In fact, I think I actually like the new recipe better than the old one - it's slightly less chewy, so there's no resemblance to taffy, and it's a cleaner chocolate buzz rather than the giddy corn syrup hit. Try for yourself!

New and Improved 
Luscious Deadly Chewy Chocolate Brownies
  • 1 1/2 cups Pixie Dust*
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (for extra flavor, make it sea salt)
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tsp light-flavored oil (I usually use soybean)
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 6 Tbs water
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs (or egg replacer equivalent)
* 3/4 cup white rice flour, 3/8 cup tapioca starch, 3/8 cup garbanzo bean flour (or your very best guess on that whole "3/8" mess)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large rectangular baking pan with parchment paper, making sure there is enough sticking up on each end to use as a handle later.

Whisk together the Pixie Dust, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl - you won't be mixing everything in there, that's just to hold it until it's time to add the dry ingredients. The original recipe called for adding a few (3) tablespoons of cocoa powder as well, but it tastes fine without, and I can still talk at normal speeds for the next several days. If you want that extra oomph go ahead, just don't say you weren't warned.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate chips with the oil over low heat, stirring constantly (or as near as you can sanely manage).

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, evaporated cane juice, water, and vanilla.

Add the eggs/egg replacer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Since I've altered the recipe to accommodate egg replacer, it's no longer as low-fat if you use actual eggs. Then again, it's still dairy-free, so that's another big source of fat you're keeping out.

Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until it is well blended and smooth.

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread it to the edges. This is a pretty thick batter, and will need coaxing. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out reasonably clean. After all, this is a fudgy brownie! A little gooey chocolate on the end of the toothpick is fine, but it shouldn't come out covered in the stuff.

Set the pan on a rack to cool (the airflow underneath the cooling pan will keep the brownies from turning into little bricks). Lift the brownies out and cut while still warm - if you wait until they're room temperature, they won't cut very well.

This recipe makes about 24 brownies.

Safe for the following allergies: dairy, gluten, wheat, corn, oats, barley, egg (if you use egg replacer), tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, soy (if you use a different oil), nightshades (if you use eggs)

If you like your brownies more cake-like, this is going to be a disappointing recipe. These brownies are not fluffy; they turn out really more like a bar cookie. I have tried to make the cake-ish brownies, but every other recipe I've tried turns out more or less like some sort of Hot Chocolate Crumb Mess - hence my suspicion that someone is omitting an ingredient. No batter should be that dry. HOWEVER, if you take the plunge and eat one of my brownies, you will discover that they are unexpectedly, lusciously, addictive. Feel free to make them for your next bake sale!

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