Brownies are by far my favorite thing to eat and bake. I probably say this about a few different things (chocolate chip cookies, creme brulee, snickerdoodles) but let’s be real: brownies win by a long shot. I prefer them more fudge-y than cake-y, firmer and denser rather than gooey, and more bitter than sweet, usually. I could easily have made dense, fudge-y gluten-free brownies, but I’d like to learn more about how different ingredients affect the end product, and how to achieve different desired results.
The process of making the brownies gluten-free was unbelievably easy: I just substituted rice flour for all-purpose flour. At first, I made a batch using agar-agar to substitute gluten/gelatin, but when I made the second and third batches, I realized I didn’t need any gelatin. I doubled the eggs for richer, fluffier brownies, but then they were too cake-y. I ended up cutting back on the flour in the end and they were perfect. I was afraid they’d taste rice-y or weird, but I was the only person who could taste it…and maybe for the second time this year the people I gave pastries to raved about them. Like more than usual. So I guess I did something right.
I am also happy to announce that, though I’m leaving my job this year, I’ll still be somewhat involved in a very minor, and newly-formed role: the Social Media Dude for Gluten-Free JET, a special interest group within the program’s structure that was granted full membership a month ago. I’ve done social media things before, aside from blogging about my kitchen blunders, so even though I won’t be in the country, I was happy to get my hands dirty with the project. It’ll give me a chance to learn about celiac and gluten allergies, and a way to stay connected even after I’m gone (*cue helicopter sounds*.)
I started trying to learn about gluten a few years ago because my uncle has celiac disease. Unfortunately, none of the information seems to stick very well so I end up reinventing the wheel constantly. I hope that I can spend more time and effort this year on learning about the allergies, and that the information I pick up sticks with me.
makes ~2 dozen brownies (depending on how big you want to cut them)
*I used a tiny toaster oven so my own recipe is half of this. If you use this recipe, it can fit into a 9×9-inch square brownie pan. If you, like I do, live in Japan and can’t use a 9×9-inch brownie pan, use a “vat” (the half-sized pans for making roll cakes or for baking other things) and cut the recipe in half exactly.
120 g unsalted butter, melted
360 g granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or just dump it in as you like)
120 g white rice flour
60 g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c chocolate chips
If using a conventional oven, preheat to 350 F/175 C. Line the brownie pan with parchment paper.
Melt the butter in a large bowl over a double boiler. Remove from the heat and mix in the sugar.
Mix in the vanilla extract.
Using a spatula, beat in the eggs one at a time, until each is fully mixed in.
In a separate smaller bowl, combine the cocoa powder, baking powder, and flour. Beat into the batter a little at a time (about 8 additions), but you don’t need to mix fully yet.
Mix in the chocolate chips and salt until there are no pockets of flour left.
Pour batter into the pan and bake/toast for 25 minutes (740 W if using a toaster oven). You can do the toothpick test but brownies are better without it. Slightly underbaked and they’ll be rich and fudge-y.
Transfer the pan to the refrigerator immediately and cool before cutting.