Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Really Ugly & Outrageously Delicious Gluten Free Brownies


Lulu & Phoebe's really ugly & outrageously delicious gluten free brownies

Today we bring you these really ugly, but very delicious gluten free brownies. Ugly as they are, they will make you swoon.

These are another of the gluten free recipes that we have developed over a long period of time, and these brownies are by far the easiest.

The only equipment you need is a bowl, a wooden spoon, a square pan, and a small pot and a few measuring cups, and a clean sink or some large flat container to put lots of ice. More about the ice in a minute. It takes almost no time to make these and you can be serving them in about 45 minutes.



First, gather your equipment and the ingredients. In the photo you can see that there are a few types of chocolate in these brownies. Your choice. You can use one, two or three. Remember that the chocolate is the star of these ugly things so you will want to use the best you can find, and one that you love. I prefer Schraffenberger, Ghirardelli, or a nice Italian dark chocolate available at A.G. Ferrari.

This recipe is an adaptation from several recipes we’ve tried over the years, but it is primarily derived from my mother’s ancient brownie recipe, which she made for every new family who moved into our neighborhood within a four-block radius.

There is an extra special technique for these brownies that contributes to their extra chewy chocolate finish. We were once lucky enough to take a chocolate class from the master Chocolatier, Alice Medrich, and learned some wonderful things about chocolate as we filled our faces with our class projects. In her book, Cookies and Brownies, she talks about this technique and while the recipe belongs to Lulu and Phoebe (that would be me, the typist), the final finish is credited to her. The method of baking at 400 degrees and virtually tossing the pan from the oven into an ice bath is genius. She derived this method from her assistant’s husband, Steve and it is thus named in her book, The Steve Ritual. However it was developed, it always produces decadent brownies that are crusty on the outside and creamy and chocolaty on the inside. No matter what kind of brownies you make, this recipe, your own, from a box, or grandma’s – this method will always produce a fantastically chocolaty creamy brownie.

Lulu & Phoebe's Really Ugly & Outrageously Delicious Gluten Free Brownies

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (Yes, really). Prepare an 8-inch metal pan by making a foil insert. First cut a piece of foil that is about the size of the pan plus the sides. Turn the pan over and pretend you are gift wrapping the bottom (photos). Remove the foil carefully. Turn the pan over and insert the foil wrapper into the pan and smooth it out. No need to butter or spray the thing. The brownies will release easily.




1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (Scharffenberger is my favorite)

1 oz. of bittersweet dark chocolate

1 cup of white sugar

2 large eggs

1.5 teaspoons of excellent pure vanilla

a smidgeon of pure almond extract (optional)

a smidgeon of Godiva or any other chocolate liquor (optional)

½ cup of sweet rice flour minus one tablespoon

1 tablespoon Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

pinch of salt

½ cup toasted pecans, walnuts or chopped almonds (optional)


Measure out the ingredients and set each aside. Mix the flours, salt and the xanthan gum together and whisk to lighten and remove any lumps. Set aside.

Place a metal bowl (about a quart size: see photo) over a smaller pot filled slightly with simmering water. Make sure the bowl fits snuggly because you do not want the water spurting out the sides. Make it a tight fit, and the water should not touch the bowl either. Place the butter cut in a few pieces (photo) in the bowl. Let it start melting a bit.


To that, add the chocolate in several pieces. Stir and gently melt the chocolate with the butter (photo). When finished melting, it will be smooth and glossy (photo). Turn off the water.


Lift the bowl from the pan and quickly move it away from the steam to the counter on a silicon potholder or towel to hold it in place.

To that add the sugar and stir until incorporated (photo).


Next, add the eggs, one at a time and incorporate (photo).


Add to that your flavoring(s) and stir.

Last, add the flour mix all at once and stir like crazy until it is glossy and comes away from the sides of the bowl. It takes about a minute if that (photo).


Add the nuts here if you are using some, and stir in quickly.

Then scrape the batter into the foil prepared pan and smooth it out to the edges. This is the beginning of the ugly part. Once in a while it will look totally smooth when you spread it out. Don’t get excited. Most of the time it looks like this photo and you wonder if the lumps will bake up correctly. Don’t worry. It will.


Immediately place in the 400-degree oven and time it for exactly 20 minutes. Not one minute less nor one minute more! And no peeking. You want the temperature in the oven to stay at 400 degrees.

5 minutes before the timer goes off, prepare your ice bath. Take a large pan or use a clean sink and add to that as much ice as you can muster up (see photo). Add a little bit of water to that to make an ice bath, a very very shallow ice bath!


By the time you are finished with that, the timer should go off. Immediately remove the pan from the oven and pop into the ice bath without spilling any water onto the brownies. Move it around a bit to make sure the ice is under and next to it and go away.


About 15 to 20 minutes later they are ready to eat. Remove the pan from the bath and still be careful not to slosh water on them. Pick up the foil liner and remove the brownies onto a cutting board. Turn over and peel the foil off. It should come off easily.

Cut them into 16 pieces or more smaller pieces if you like. Eat.

See? Ugly little things, but they will make you swoon. I recommend a nice espresso with that brownie.


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