Lindsay-Jean is a Contributing Writer & Editor at Food52.
I'm not sure about rice flour, but I noticed in the comments that one person successfully used coconut flour. The full comment from juliunruly reads, "I made these with coconut flour. Used four eggs instead of two, and had to increase the cooking time by about 10 minutes (our oven also runs a tiny bit cool). They turned out fabulous--and this is the first time I've ever baked with "alternative" flour, so I'm not just saying that because I'm used to it. They really are great!"
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I was in a Gluten-free Baking workshop Alice also attended a week ago, and she mentioned subbing alternative flours in brownies. I had recently made my tnt brownie recipe with chestnut flour, and she opined that brownies were great candidates for alternative flour because of their forgiving nature. I'd think rice flour would also work. Give it a go and let us know how it works out.
Peter Reinhart, who led the workshop, uses a lot of pecan flour as sub. If you are not nut-sensitive, the flavor of the pecan flour is wonderful. It does take a bit of skill with the food processor to get the pecans to just the right consistency w/o making a paste, though.
I think you can definitely sub alternative flours for all-purpose, but I would use a blend. Rice flour on its own can be grainy, leaving the final texture with something to be desired. But I have had great success using a combination of rice flour, tapioca starch, and corn or potato starch. The starches round out the texture and provide structural support (not that brownies need very much of that).
Often, when baking GF goods, extra eggs are helpful because they do what gluten usually does--give structure and bind things together. Brownies usually have lots of eggs, so this isn't as much of an issue here. In fact, I agree with ChefJune, above. Brownies are very adaptable as they don't need much structure and usually have relatively little flour to begin with, particularly fudgy brownies.
My favorite brownies are -- http://food52.com/recipes.... They are gluten free and delicious. You could compare the two recipes if you want to use the AM recipe, and splice in a sub for the flour.
With this recipe, you can use the following with varying taste and textural results: Brown rice flour, almond flour, and Trader Joe's Gluten Free flour mix. I have made them all.
If you are trying to substitute gluten-free flours for AP flour make sure to do it by weight rather than by volume. Different flours have very different weights and that makes a big difference in the final product. In my experience I have had the best results when using a mixture of starch (like rice flour or tapioca) and whole-grain gluten free flours (like amaranth, buckwheat or even nut meals) to sub for the AP flour rather than using a single flour. That being said there is not so much flour in the recipe so a straight substitution might be fine.
Carol is a gluten-free chef and food blogger currently cooking her way through the Alinea Cookbook.
Brownies don't really take to single-flour swap-outs. I would do a pre-made gluten-free flour mix (Cup4Cup, Pamela's). Or, if you want to buy multiple flours/starches/gums, I'd do a combo of brown rice flour, potato starch, and a 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum. If you choose the mix-your-own flours method, you'll be better-served if you do it by weight rather than measure. That's why Cup4Cup or Pamela's mixes can be better options; most people don't have digital scales at home. Good luck!
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