Sunday, January 26, 2014

Flourless Fudgy Brownies

Cake-like brownie lovers, look no further.

No, seriously - I mean don't even bother scrolling down, because this recipe is not for you.

That's right, better luck next time.  These bad boys are only for those of us who enjoy thick, chewy, barely-cooked, melt-in-your-mouth, death-by-chocolate, get-out-your-stretch-pants brownies.

And if that wasn't enough, they also happen to fit into my new gluten-free diet.  Holla!

Ok now wait, stay with me here.  If you're like Mr. Vittles, don't get all weirded-out by the "GF" term.  This isn't one of those "These are pretty good ... for being gluten-free" situations.

Like, even if I was still eating wheat, I would make these brownies.  And then eat the whole pan, single-handedly.

Much to my own amazement, I even managed to achieve the flaky top (which always seems to elude me with flour-based brownies.)

Yep.  This is my new go-to recipe.

So thanks to a storm this week that dumped about a foot of snow on us, I was forced to take my brownie photos indoors this morning.  Which meant, I had a little assistant who was way more interested in munching on my subject than helping me snap photos.

I know... still in jammies and eating brownies.  What kind of mother am I?  But judging by her miniature chocolate beard and persistent requests for "Mo'? Mo'?" I would say she agrees that these brownies are pretty awesome.

Flourless Fudgy Brownies

  • 1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 T. cornstarch*
  • 6 T. butter (salted)
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

Let eggs come to room temperature.  Sift together the cocoa powder and corn starch in a small bowl, and set aside. Line the inside of an 8-inch square pan with non-stick or lightly greased foil and preheat oven to 350ยบ F.

In a medium metal saucepan over very low heat, melt butter.  Add chocolate, and continuously stir until mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, then the eggs one at a time.

Stir in cocoa/cornstarch mixture, and beat vigorously for at least one minute, until the batter is no longer grainy and nearly smooth.**  It will pull away from the sides of the pan a bit.  Scrape batter into foil-lined pan.

Bake for about 28-30 minutes, or until the brownies feel just set in the center. Do not overbake.  Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing.  Makes 12 brownies.

*Some cornstarch contains gluten so check the label if you are making this for someone with an allergy
**Beating everything thoroughly is very important - the batter should be shiny and fairly smooth, otherwise the brownie consistency may be crumbly after baking.

Recipe slightly adapted from David Liebovitz

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Frozen Coconut Chocolate Chip Mousse (Vegan)

Whether it's for medical necessity or personal preference, in this day and age I feel like everyone knows at least one person who has dietary restrictions.

After having some medical issues myself, I had a blood test done in October that seemed to indicate I had mild food allergies to basically every staple of the American diet (namely milk, wheat, corn, eggs, soy, peanuts, and beef).

Let me tell you, this can really mess with your mind.  I challenge anyone to walk into the average grocery store and load up their cart with a variety of foods that do NOT contain any of the above.

Not easy.

Well after getting a skin test done by an allergist a few weeks ago, it turns out I do not have allergies to any foods, except fish.  The doctor suggested that at worst, I may have a sensitivity to gluten and recommended I try a "GF" diet.

But this all came after 6 weeks of avoiding eggs, wheat, and dairy as much as possible.  So although it pains me to give up my breads and flour-based treats, it has been a lot more manageable to avoid one type of food than 3+.

I have only just begun being gluten free after the New Year (and a pasta-filled visit to my grandmother's house yesterday broke my streak!).  But I have to say, whether it was all in my mind or not, I did feel better after limiting those foods.  And in the process, I also realized that while there is really no true substitute for milk (at least in my mind), you can still make some tasty things with alternatives.

Not that I'll be going vegan any time soon.  Right after my allergist appointment, the first thing I did was head to Dunkin' Donuts for an iced coffee with cream - heaven!

Frozen Coconut Chocolate Chip Mousse (Vegan)

  • 1 14-oz. can full-fat coconut milk*
  • 1/3 C. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 C. vegan chocolate chips

Refrigerate coconut milk until cold.  In a large bowl, combine coconut milk with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and salt.  Mix with an electric mixer on high speed, until fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add vanilla extract and mix until combined. Stir in vegan chocolate chips.  Transfer to a freezer-safe, coverable container and freeze until firm.

*Note: I have read on more than one occasion that not all coconut milks are created equal.  For one, I don't think this would work with a "lite" coconut milk, or the refrigerated kind in a carton - make sure you use canned, full-fat.  Also, you may need to experiment with different brands of coconut milk.

Recipe Adapted from Kojodesigns


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