Ah yes. The age old question: Cakey or fudgy? In reference to brownies, of course. Excuse me, but if brownies are cakey, then they’re cake, not brownies. Brownies in my book have to be fudgy. Not to say that I won’t eat them if they’re not. Why waste perfectly good chocolate cake, right?
I have made my fair share of “healthified” brownies using applesauce, less butter, less oil, etc. I’ve also just tried new recipes using different flours (I’m looking at you, pecan flour) in search of a fudgy brownie my brownie loving husband would enjoy. And well, let’s just say he’s a tad picky when it comes to one of his favorite treats so if there’s even a hint of cakiness, I hear about it. So whenever I try something new that doesn’t quite match the results of my tried and true recipe, he asks, “Why did you have to experiment? They were already awesome!”
What’s the fun in always making the same thing, I say? I wouldn’t be here today writing to you if I didn’t experiment. That said, I’m through experimenting with brownies for my husband. Enough tweaks, enough substitutions. This is my recipe, and while it may not be the lowest calorie one out there, it satisfies that craving for something rich, moist, dense, and chocolatey. It also makes my husband yell “Yay!” like a happy little boy when I tell him I’m making them.
These fudgy brownies are gluten-free, dairy-free, with a vegan option. They also pair very well, I might add, with a scoop of ice cream and my vegan hot fudge.
Yield 15 brownies.
- 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
- 1/2 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) or dairy butter
- 6 T Dutch process cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 1 T canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 organic egg OR 1 T flax seed meal mixed with 3 T water – allow to sit 5 minutes
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 cup gluten free flour blend (I use 1/3 cup each millet, sorghum, and potato starch) OR white whole wheat flour
- 1 t xanthan gum (omit if using wheat flour)
- Optional: 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, pecans, or peanuts. May also substitute almond or peppermint extract for the vanilla for a different spin of the traditional brownie. I sprinkled a handful of vegan chocolate chips on top.
- May omit cocoa powder and canola oil and replace with 2 oz more unsweetened chocolate if desired.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place butter and unsweetened chocolate in large microwave safe bowl and microwave about 90 seconds to 2 minutes or until butter has melted. Whisk until all of the chocolate has melted. Add cocoa powder and canola oil if using and blend well. Add sugar and mix. Next, add vanilla, egg or flax egg, and whisk well. Add salt, flour of choice, and xanthan gum. Stir until combined. Dough will be rather thick.
- Spread evenly in greased 11″ X 7″ baking dish (9″ X 13″ will work, but the brownies will be more thin) and bake for 27-28 minutes. A toothpick inserted in center should have fudgy crumbs on it. Do not overbake! Allow to cool on wire rack then enjoy.
What’s your favorite kind/type of brownie? Links welcome.
I have a muffin recipe for you today. I made these hearty gems in their original, wheat-filled state about 5 years ago from a recipe I found at Martha Stewart. I was pretty new to the quinoa seed and found the flavor of the muffins distinct and nutty, though slightly intense. With time, the flavor grew on me. Plus, it had raisins in it! I LOVED raisins! (Still enjoy them now.) I never made them again, though every now and then would ponder the idea. So, the recipe sat in my gmail account under the label “Breads, Muffins, and Scones”.
At that point, I had no reason to consider making them gluten free, as my then boyfriend (now husband) did not know he was gluten intolerant. Now, though, pretty much everything I churn out of my kitchen is gluten free. Quinoa is already gluten free, so why not make the whole thing GF friendly? I made several extra tweaks and added orange zest, which I think goes very nicely with the nuttiness of the quinoa and the sweet, plumpness of the raisins. They’re just sweet enough without being like a cupcake without frosting. It’s something I might consider eating for breakfast, if I wasn’t addicted to oatmeal…
Not gluten free? Just substitute 2 cups of your flour of choice. I hope you like them!
Gluten Free Quinoa Muffins with Orange Zest and Raisins
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 3/4 cup sorghum flour
- 3/4 cup millet flour
- 1/2 cup potato starch
- 1 t xanthan gum (omit if using wheat flour)
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1 t salt
- 1/2 cup raisins
- zest from 1 orange – about 2 t
- 3/4 cup milk of choice (I used plain organic soy milk.)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 large organic egg
- 1 t pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil while covered. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, oil standard 12-cup muffin pan with oil.
- Whisk together flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, raisins, and orange zest. Whisk in 2 cups of the cooked quinoa.
- Add milk, unsweetened applesauce, honey, egg, and vanilla and stir until just combined. Divide batter between the prepared muffins cups.
- Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and tops are slightly browned, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Enjoy warm by themselves or with some butter or honey for a little treat.
- *May substitute 2 cups all-purpose, whole wheat, or white whole wheat flour for gluten free flours if desired. If so, omit xanthan gum.
Valentine’s Day was approaching this past February, and I wanted to bring in a little treat for my fellow co-workers. I enjoy doing stuff like that. However, there’s a healthy eating movement going through my office (Hooray!), so I didn’t want to choose anything too buttery or sugary, lest nobody ate it, or it made someone feel guilty about eating it.
To add to the challenge of bringing a healthy treat, one co-worker in particular had just started a 30 day Paleo Challenge. Amongst other things, there’s no sugar whatsoever, no grains, no oils/butter except extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. That meant no chocolate. No chocolate on Valentine’s Day?!? The horror!!
Anyway, everybody deserves a little sweet treat on Valentine’s Day, in my book, so I accepted the challenge, and Paleo Date Nut Bars were born. These are suitable for anyone following a vegan, paleo, gluten-free, and/or sugar -free diet. The only sugar is that naturally occurring in dates. I hope you enjoy them!
Paleo Date Nut Bars
- 1 1/2 cups whole raw almonds
- 1 cup almond meal/flour
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 10 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 125g)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 20 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 250g)
- 1/2 cup water
- Grease an 8″x8″ pan well with coconut oil. In a food processor, process the almonds, salt, and almond meal until a fine crumble forms. Add the dates and process until crumbly again. Melt the coconut oil and add to the mixture and process until sticky. You can add a little more oil if the mixture is too dry. Remove from processor, setting aside 3/4 cup of the mixture for later, and press the rest of the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan.
- Process the dates for the filling with the water until a smooth paste forms. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl often. Mixture should be quite thick, but add a little more water if needed. Scoop out the date mixture onto the crust and gently spread with the back of a wet spatula until even.
- Sprinkle on the 3/4 cup of mixture you set aside and gently press down with fingers. Refrigerate for overnight or freeze for an hour until set. Cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge or freezer.
I have a recipe for you today that’s been over 5 years in the making. That’s how long my husband has been gluten free. Believe me when I say I’ve tried a lot of chocolate chip cookie recipes. Some with baby rice cereal, some with milk in them, some with coconut oil (tasty, but they spread… a lot).
Right now, this is my go-to recipe for crispy yet chewy chocolate chip cookies. The key is to under bake a little so as they cool, they maintain that chewy texture. Who wants a crisp, dry cookie? I’ll pass.
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
3/4 cup millet flour
1/2 tablespoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 T Earth Balance buttery sticks/buttery spread or butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
8-10 ounces vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chips of choice)
Place softened butter and sugars into stand mixer with paddle attachment and cream together. Add egg and incorporate well, beating until just fluffy. Add vanilla and beat again until combined.Add dry ingredients (except chocolate chips). Mix until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and add chocolate chips. Mix for a moment to incorporate. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop dough into 1 1/2 tablespoon size balls (I use a #40 cookies scoop) and place on silicone mat or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 14-15 minutes, switching pans between racks after 6 minutes, until JUST starting to brown and slightly under baked in the center (this will cook slightly more while cooling). Allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. (I just slide the entire silicone mat off of the tray onto the rack.) Cookies keep in sealed container for several days. To preserve freshness, freeze and thaw as needed.
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen