How to Make Gluten-Free Brownies
By: admin On: 3 August 2023
Another great gluten free flour product. One of the easiest introductions to gluten-free baking is brownies as they contain very little flour. Give it a go with our easy recipe.
One of the easiest introductions to gluten-free baking is the brownie. Why? Because your classic squidgy soft brownie contains very little flour. And what little flour is there, is to create bulk and solidity rather than harness the properties of gluten.
Gluten free baking and healthy baking are two separate issues and, although they often merge, in this article we will explore purely the gluten free aspect of making brownies and leave the rest of the ingredients as they would be in a classic brownie.
Choosing the right gluten-free flour
We talked a lot about choosing the right flour in our article on gluten free flours, so let's recap that information to figure out what kind of flour we want for our gluten free brownie.
A brownie recipe contains anywhere between 10% to 15% flour. It is folded in very gently right at the end for two very good reasons. One, so as to keep the air that is incorporated by whisking sugar and eggs. Two, so as not to OVERWORK THE GLUTEN. That bit is important, it gives us a good clue that using gluten free flour may work in our favour.
So, the flour in our brownie is there to add solidity and stability to our mixture of whisked eggs and sugar, plus the melted chocolate and butter. It is the eggs and the sugar that give most of the structure to our brownie. The final texture is as much to do with the baking time as it is the ingredients themselves.
Because right now what we are doing is trying to replicate our classic brownie as closely as possible by simply switching out wheat for something without gluten, we can ignore all the flours that might bring in interesting flavour. Quinoa flour, or buckwheat flour, could add some interesting flavour to our flavour profile, but really what we are looking for is that same neutral base that we get with wheat flour.
Also, because we are not trying to replicate any of the properties of gluten, we don't need to look at the higher protein flours that we would need to use in breadmaking.
All of this tells us that the best thing to use will be one of neutral tasting gluten free flour blends. Let's use this one...
Gluten free flour blend
200g white rice flour
40g potato starch
20g tapioca flour
The thing we need to watch out for with gluten free brownies is that they remain moist. One of the pressure points of gluten free baking is that gluten free flours can absorb a lot of liquid, resulting in a dry, crumbly bake.
How to Make Brownies
Before we move on to our gluten free brownie recipe, let's first consider some of the ins and outs of making classic brownies.
Other than a deep chocolatey taste, a brownie is all about texture. Words like fudgy, squidgy, and chewy spring to mind. The temperature of the oven and the length of the bake make a big difference here, but it is also about the ratios of ingredients.
Keep the flour content low
The first consideration is keeping that flour to an absolute minimum. Too much flour (gluten free or otherwise) is what makes a brownie cakey.
Choose the right chocolate
The chocolate that you use is important. Use the best quality chocolate that you can afford. Most people will tell you to use 70% cocoa content chocolate. Yet you need to bear in mind that chocolate also contains sugar. Using a dark dark chocolate may require more sugar in the recipe. If you alter the cocoa content of the chocolate that you use then this will impact the amount of sugar that you need. So it is a play off between chocolate intensity and sugar. The amount of chocolate will also affect the solidity of the final bake.
Sugar in a brownie is important. Obviously you do not want it to be too sweet. You do however want that classic brownie cracked top and a structure that will hold up with the minimum amount of flour.
Use unsalted good quality butter
The amount of butter that goes into your brownie is also important. If you think about butter being solid at room temperature, and also think about the solid slow melting texture of a chocolate ganache (which is made from chocolate and butter) then you see how butter contributes to that final fudgy texture. Use unsalted, good quality butter.
So the perfect brownie is all about getting the ideal ratios of just four ingredients; chocolate, butter (wet ingredients) flour and sugar (dry ingredients).
It is also about finding a happy medium of temperature. Baking at a lower temperature of 160C allows the inside to set and become fudgy without drying out the outside. On the other hand, baking at a higher temperature creates that all important crackly crust. The issue with drying on the outside is that it starts to enter cakey territory at the edges. We aim to hit the sweet spot of both these scenarios, beginning at a lower temperature for most of the bake, with a boost nearer the end to create the crust.
Recipe for gluten free brownie
The recipe we have come up with for our gluten free brownie aims to be solid, yet not cakey, and fudgy rather than squidgy.
150g 50% chocolate
75g 70% chocolate
150g unsalted butter
3 large eggs
225g caster sugar
90g gluten free flour blend (see above)
20g cocoa powder
- Grease and line a 20cm square baking pan.
- Pre heat the oven to 160C.
- Place the butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and melt.
- Turn off the heat, remove the bowl, and stir in the chocolate until it melts. It should melt in the heat of the butter, but if not just put the bowl back over the hot water.
- Leave aside to cool.
- Using an electric beater at high speed (free standing or handheld) whisk the eggs and sugar together for about 7 minutes or until they triple in volume and become pale and fluffy. Whisk in the chocolate mixture at a slower speed until combined.
- Very gently, fold in the flour, salt, and cocoa powder until just combined.
- Pour the batter into your prepared tin and bake on the centre shelf for 15 minutes at 160C, then turn up the heat to 180C and bake for a further 8 minutes. When you insert a skewer, it should come out with just a little of the mixture sticking to it.
- Leave to cool completely in the tin, before turning out and slicing. It is best left overnight in the fridge before eating, in order to let the slightly sandy texture of the rice flour settle down.
- The brownie will keep in an airtight container for up to a week, in or out of the fridge. It is particularly good eaten straight from the fridge, and the texture improves with age.