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skepticism

June 5, 2012

Warmer weather comes with invitations to picnics, backyard bbq’s and block parties and the need to bring a dish to pass.  Brownies are usually a first thought, right?  They’re quick, easy and everyone loves them, so you’re wondering why I’m telling you about another brownie recipe.  My answer….. this one’s a little different.  It’s gluten-free.  It seems that I read about, hear about or talk to someone who knows someone else or is themselves gluten-free.  So wouldn’t it be nice to provide a gluten-free brownie?

I was skeptical and intrigued by this recipe.  I mean substituting corn starch for flour?  Really?  Would that work?   The recipe was from Martha Stewart Everyday Food though so even though I was skeptical, it had credibility.  I’m pleased to report that these brownies are everything I want in a brownie – rich and dense with a nice chocolate flavor.  The cinnamon adds a hint of warmth that will cause a raised eyebrow from those who are trying to figure out what the note is that they just can’t place.  And I promise you, no one will guess that these are gluten-free.

The only change that I made to the recipe was to reduce the amount of cinnamon and I sprinkled toasted pecans over only half the pan, instead of stirring them in.  I found that the 35 minute baking time wasn’t enough and I needed closer to 40 minutes.  Check at 35 minutes though.  Last note, I think a little splash of leftover coffee or espresso would give the flavor a nice punch.  I’ll try that next time.

Fudgy Pecan Brownies
very slightly adapted from Everyday Food

1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup toasted pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter or spray an 8 inch square baking dish, line with parchment paper leaving a two inch overhang, and butter or grease the parchment.

Whisk together the cornstarch, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt.  In a large microwave safe bowl, microwave the butter and chocolate for about two minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted and blended well with the butter.  Stir in the sugar and vanilla.  Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until combined after each addition. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until the mixture is well combined and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl – about two minutes.  If you’re using pecans, stir them into the mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.  Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.  Lift out using the parchment overhang and cut into 16 squares.  Store any extras in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

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