What to CookBakingGluten-Free CookingChocolate

Finally, A Cakey (and Pecan-y) Brownie We Love

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Working for a baking company, in this day and age, requires a lot of exploration into gluten-free recipes. Increasingly, people are looking for ways to swap out conventional flour in their cakes and cookies and breads, because they either need to or want to. Since I have some close friends who can only eat gluten-free baked goods, I welcome the chance to test out ways to recreate some of my favorite recipes with alternative flours. Or no flour at all!

No wheat here, folks.
No wheat here, folks. Photo by Posie Harwood

Some recipes are challenging to turn gluten-free. Yeast breads, for example, require gluten to give them structure. You can work around this of course, but it's more difficult. Some recipes are actually improved by the use of almond or rice flour, and today's is a perfect example. Instead of using regular all-purpose flour in my brownie recipe, I swapped in white rice flour. I also dialed the amount of this flour back to a mere 1/3 of a cup. Rather than compromising the end result, the brownies baked into gorgeous squares with a dense, moist texture, not unlike a flourless chocolate cake.

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Photo by Posie Harwood

This a not a dessert for the faint of heart. Reducing the flour makes the chocolate flavor even more intense and bold. The brownies freeze beautifully, and they're rich and decadent, perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I like adding toasted nuts (pecans in this case) to my batter, but you can easily leave them out or swap them for another nut if you prefer. Want something different? Try throwing in a handful of cacao nibs for crunch, or even some toffee bits.

Photo by Posie Harwood

If you can't get your hands on white rice flour, you can use cornstarch for an equally good result. If you're not gluten-free, you can use regular all-purpose flour. It's a simple and flexible recipe that has a place in every kitchen.

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Fudgy Pecan Brownies

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Makes one 8" square pan
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (1 2/3 ounces) white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup (3/4 ounces) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, for enhanced chocolate flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) chopped toasted pecans
  • 3/4 cup sugar
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Tags: brownies, alt flours