Friday, 7 October 2011

Perfect brownies, also gluten free!

Whew!

Okay, so today was busy with baking, and all of it gluten free for a lovely friend's brother's wedding. Specifcally, chocolate mousse shots, jam tarts, chocolate chip cookies and brownies, for afternoon tea.

It was all good fun, despite me working myself into stressing, but overall, I'm happy with how things turned out.. Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos, as I just wanted to get it all done, but I must share this recipe for chocolate brownies.

I have never made brownies before, but I have eaten a lot of them (more than I care to admit). Some have been dense and sickly sweet, some have been cake-ish and crumbly.
This recipe, is in a word, perfect. It is fudgy, without being heavy, rich without being sickening, sweet without hurting the teeth, with a tiny bit of crunch on the top and intense chocolate pleasure all the way through.

The recipe is from my current second favouite cook book, 'High Tea: Recipes with a sense of occasion', tweaky slightly to adapt to my taste, and to the dietary requirements.

Chocolate brownies   -   makes 16

Ingredients:
125g dark chocolate, chopped (Whittaker's 50% cocoa was perfect)
90g salted butter, softened (the salt in the butter balanced the flavour, I find)
230g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
85 gluten free plain flour
30g unsweetend cocoa powder, sifted (I use Henry Langdon's pure cocoa, and you should too, it is that good)
1/2 tsp baking powder (make sure it is not derived from wheat)
Pure icing sugar, for dusting
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 17cm square baking tin, and line the base with baking paper, extending the paper to go over the sides for easy removal later
  2. Put the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Fill a medium sized pot with water from a boiled kettle (or boil some water, but take it off the heat), place the heatproof bowl on the pot and allow the steam to melt the chocolate. Stir occassionally.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until lightly and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. 
  4. Stir in the melted, slightly cooled chocolate (it will be safe to add when it is safe to touch, is my rule)
  5. Fold in the sifted cocoa in two batches, then sift in the flour and baking powder. If using flour that contains gluten, do not overwork the mixture, as it will make it tough
  6. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out with crumbs clinging to it, but not liquid
  7. Cool in the tin, then remove from the tin carefully.
    If you're having trouble lifting it out, place a wire rack on top of the tin, place on hand on each side and flip over. Remove tin and baking paper, flip the brownie onto the underside of the tin, then slide back onto a chopping board right-side up
  8. Cut into 4 rows, then 4 pieces per row. Dusting with icing sugar
  9. Devour

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