And guess what? You can make it gluten free and no one even notices the difference!
Have you noticed how people who ‘aren’t gluten free’ often actively avoid gluten free options? Or is it just me? I went gluten free in early 2012 when I self-diagnosed my general malaise and seemingly inconsequential ill-heath that had me feeling nothing like myself, as candida overgrowth. A month later I felt better, three months later I felt, well, I felt like me.
Variety really is the ‘spice’ of life
I’ve always thought I had a pretty varied diet, but my eyes were opened as to how wheat-heavy my diet was. I’m not a huge bread eater, but I eat it. I’m not a pasta fanatic, but I like it. Noodles? Yes, sometimes. Tacos, Faquitas, pittas, breakfast cereal. Wow. When you really start to look at your diet you realise how much wheat we eat.
I looked at not just how much wheat we eat, but the impact this sort of mono-grained diet has on our farming, our seed banks – across the gammut of our society and our economy.
Point is, I realised how dull my supposedly varied diet actually was.
These days I avoid gluten heavy foods, but I don’t cut them out entirely. So I eat a little of the devastatingly good sourdough bread from my favourite bakery . I have the odd croissant. But when I bake I regularly bake gluten-free, and when I eat out I often go for gluten-free options. The balance seems to work well for me. And I do notice it these days when I’ve had too much gluten – swollen abdomen, gassy…need I say more!
Are you avoiding Gluten-Free food?
I’ve run a few bakery sales and noticed that ‘normal’ people turn away from items marked ‘Gluten Free’ – as though they might do them some kind of harm!
So I made my first brownie a month or so back. It came out really well. Afterwards I thought – I wonder if this would work gluten-free, because I really couldn’t think why it shouldn’t.
I like to tweak recipes. Usually I cook something once ‘as written’ before fiddling with anything, but this one I just sensed a few things that needed to be different. So I tweaked it a little along the way, and it worked.
Next time I did the gluten-free version, tried a few more tweaks, and it was a major hit with gluten-friendlies and gluten-frees alike.
The recipe – best Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie
440g (2c) sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
4 large eggs
80g (3/4 c) cocoa (use nice dark, good quality cocoa. In the UK Sainbury’s own is really good!)
1/2 tsp baking powder (if cooking for gluten-free, check it’s a gluten-free brand)
1/4 tsp salt
150g (1c) standard flour OR
150g Gluten-Free Baking Mix (I use 75g gluten-free plain flour, 35g rice flour, 40g buckwheat flour) NB: DO NOT use a cup measure for the Gluten Free option – you must substitute weight for weight (volume will not be the same) – this is important or you’ll get a bad result!
1c chopped nuts or chocolate chips (optional)
- Melt the butter
- Stir in the sugar and vanilla, cook on a low heat until the sugar has melted into the butter -plus a bit. I find the ‘plus a bit’ helps to get that gooey brownie texture. Around 3-5 minutes is about right.
- Remove from the heat (this is vital – if you’re on the kind of hob that retains heat, move the pan to another spot).
- Beat in the eggs one at a time (fast so they don’t coagulate in the hot mixture).
- Mix the cocoa, baking powder and salt together and mix in well.
- Stir in the flour(s) and nuts or chocolate chips if you ar using them (I prefer to sprinkle dark choc chips over the top before baking).
- Pour into a greased and/or lined tin 30cm x 23cm (or equivalent)
- Bake at 180°c for 20-25 minutes or until the centre is ONLY JUST firm. (I recommend checking at 15-18 mins since ovens vary).
- Leave the brownie in the tin to cool (this stops it from drying out and helps maintain the moistness you want).
- Cut, dredge with icing sugar and serve.
Also fab with cream, frozen yoghurt or ice cream.