Tag : bars
Tag : bars
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.
Elle n’est pas brune. Elle est blonde.
How’s my French?
On a whim, and because I was bored, I started studying French last December. I use an app on my phone so I can study anywhere, anytime. For a long time I’ve wanted to learn French and go to France. I’ve been once and I tried studying it a little in high school but it never took. Now, though, as my time in Japan is coming to an end, I think I’d like to pick up some more languages and see how much I can manage. I couldn’t survive on my own in a French-speaking country unless they speak English, and I can only say “I am not a cat” in Spanish (I’m also trying Spanish.)
They are both worlds apart from Japanese…and surprisingly different from each other.
“She is not dark-haired. She is blonde.”
And so are these bars.
For the longest time, I had no idea what a blondie could possibly be, even though I had seen pictures. I looked online and as it turns out, it’s a brownie without chocolate. It’s vanilla-flavored and has brown sugar instead of granulated (white) sugar.
I played around with different amounts of flour, eggs, and butter, and this recipe is what I’ve come up with. You can take this recipe and change it to make different types of blondie bars, such as vegan bars, gluten-free bars, coconut bars, and so on.
basic blondie bars/blonde brownies
*If making these in a small, Japanese oven, cut the recipe in half. It’s doubled for American ovens and tools.
226 g unsalted butter, melted
360 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
200 g brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
If using a conventional oven, preheat to 175 C/350 F. Line a square brownie pan with parchment paper.
Melt the butter in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon/spatula, mix in the brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs (one at a time.) You don’t need to beat fully but just until almost incorporated.
In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
Mix the dry ingredients into the batter until fully incorporated, but don’t beat too much. Last, add in the salt.
Spread the batter in the pan and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until done. You can take out early for gooey, fudgy bars, or leave in longer for cake-y bars. If using a toaster oven, toast at 740 W for the same amount of time. Move pan to the fridge.
When fully cooled, cut and enjoy!
Au revoir a bientot!
Categories: bars and brownies