October Cooking Tool of the Month – Cast Iron
Brownies are one of those things that I really love to eat, but can never quite make myself the way I want them to taste. The reason why brownies at a bakery taste so good is because they are full of sugar and fat. In my test kitchen I try to reduce the amount of sugar and use less fat, but the brownies never taste that good. They are dry and not sweet enough. If I make them raw with nuts and dates they taste delicious, but they don't give you that warm, comforting feeling that baked brownies do.
Has anyone else had this conundrum?
Today I tried out a new recipe for gluten-free brownies. After trying the delicious brownies of Gone Pie, I decided I would try again to make a healthier brownie, but not so healthy that they would taste like cardboard. Brownies and desserts are suppose to be a nice treat. It's a once in a while kind of thing, so I don't freak out that I'm consuming more fat and sugar than I normally do. That's just how I roll.
Gone Pie desserts are some of the tastiest gluten-free treats I've ever had. The brownie flavors are creative and leave you wanting more. If you or someone in your family is gluten-free place an order now! Check out this video to see how my partner and I reacted to trying the Chai Nut Brownie for the first time. We made it a brownie a la mode with almond milk ice cream because that is also how we roll!
So back to my brownies.
I made them in a 8 inch cast iron skillet, so if you have a bigger skillet you will have to adjust the measurements. Or you can use a pie pan. I'm all about making smaller portions these days so I don't have so many leftovers. And when it comes to desserts if they are in the house they will get gobbled up in a day or two (I have very little willpower for my own treats ;).
I really wanted to use brown rice flour because you can find that at almost any grocery store these days, but I was out. So I went with Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Flour, which is a combination of garbanzo flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, and fava flour. If you try it with another flour or combination of flours let me know how it goes! As you probably know I'm a big fan of coconut palm sugar (which I've been using for over 3 years now as my primary granulated sugar), but you can use any granulate sugar of your choice.
Don't like hazelnuts? No problem! Sub walnuts or pecans for a more traditional nutty brownie. These are a little bit crumbly. I'm not a big fan of using xanthan or guar gum so I try to make gluten-free baked goods without them. But they really do help things bind together! So, it is very important to let the brownies cool all the way before cutting and eating. This will help them be less crumbly. They are so delicious I don't really care that they fall apart because all the pieces are going to the same place. IN MA MOUTH. Just use a fork to help gather up those stray bits of chocolate goodness.
Gluten-free Vegan Hazelnut Brownies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients (6 to 8 servings)
- Pan spray (I use the Spectrum coconut oil one)
- 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free All-Purpose Flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Dash sea salt
- 1 small banana
- 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 2 tablespoons rice milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla flavor (or extract)
- 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray cast iron skillet with pan spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, arrowroot, baking powder and soda, and sea salt. In a small bowl mash the banana well. Add in the sugar, maple, oil, flax, rice milk and vanilla and whisk together for about a minute. Pour wet ingredients into dry and fold with a spatula until mixed well. Do not overmix. Fold in hazelnuts and pour into cast iron skillet. Smooth over the top and bake for 22-25 minutes. Do the toothpick test to make sure it comes out clean.
Leave brownies to cool completely before cutting into 6 to 8 pieces.