Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gluten Free Brownies with Walnuts

So, again, I've been meaning to get into more gluten-free baking, but some commonly-used ingredients are expensive and/or hard to find.  I was surprised to see at my local Jon's recently these particular nondescript shakers (I've gotten everything from za'atar to flaxseeds in these shakers).

 Now, I know that serious gluten-free baking would need to use more reassuringly gluten-free ingredients (like Bob's Red Mill or something).  But let's be honest, the ghost of glutinous baking projects past is probably haunting every corner of my kitchen; it'll never be totally pure.

I'd also like to point out the prices of these items, AND the fact that I also purchased "Awesome Bleach" that day.

Anyway, weeks passed and nothing happened to my weird little cannisters.  I also had a pound of dates still sitting in my fridge from when I made the crust for the frozen raspberry cashew cake last month.  And then a recipe comes along that calls for exactly what you have!  Well, except for the cherries in Chocolate Chip Cherry Brownies.

In replacing the 1 cup of cherries, I thought about maintaining the same approximate amount of sweetness, pectin, and just plain bulk.  I ended up using 1/4 c additional dates and 3/4 c walnuts.  Sadly, I didn't have quite enough chocolate chips, so I ended up just melting the entire 1 3/4 c that I had, rather than melting 1 1/2 c and folding in an additional 3/4 c later.  I also used soymilk instead of almond milk, and I chopped and soaked the dates in the milk before processing to give them a head start.

I love the idea of using a date-and-milk puree as a base!  The pectin in the dates makes the liquid so thick.

The batter tasted pretty great; it was incredibly sticky and fudgy.

And indeed, the finished product, straight out of the oven, was also fudgy and delicious.  The next day, though, the texture was a little bit dry and mealy.  I'm going to try reheating them, but I think these are best eaten right after baking--which has nothing to do with their lack of gluten--what brownie doesn't taste best when it's still warm from the oven?

Gluten Free Brownies with Walnuts
(adapted from manifest vegan)

about 16 dates
1/2 c nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 c non-dairy chocolate chips, divided
1 c superfine brown rice flour
1/3 c potato starch
1 tsp salt
3/4 c walnuts, toasted

1. Soak the dates, coarsely chopped, in the nondairy milk.  Preheat oven to 350*.  Oil a an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.
2. Combine pitted dates and non-dairy milk, and vanilla into food processor and puree until very smooth.
3. Over double boiler, melt 1 1/2 c chocolate chips. Pour the melted chocolate into the date mixture and blend again until super smooth. 
4. In large mixing bowl combine  brown rice flour and potato starch and salt
and mix until well combined. Fold in remaining chocolate chips and toasted walnuts.
5. Transfer to pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, then allow to cool before cutting into squares and serving.

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