I’ve been working hard behind the scenes on a super sweet Valentine’s Day baking project for Simply Organic. A few months back they asked if I would develop and photograph recipes for gluten-free brownies and gluten-free carrot cake. Of course I was up for the task!
Gluten-free brownies are something I’ve avoided for years now. I just haven’t found one I love. And it’s another one of those recipes I’ve been hesitant to try on my own. I knew they would be a big undertaking involving many trials, multiple chocolate induced sugar comas, and tons of patience. And that is exactly what happened.
There were at least 8 trials [I stopped counting] that I ever so slightly tweaked each time. At first I tried using brown rice flour [with oat flour and almond meal] and it was horrific. The texture was terrible. From there I experimented using only oat flour and almond meal and got the ratios just right. Only TWO flours! No starches or gums and a pretty simple recipe. I also tested different sweeteners, mixing methods, baking powder vs. baking soda, oven temperatures, chocolate vs. cocoa powder or both, and amounts of butter before finally landing on just the right combination of everything.
When it comes to brownies one thing I absolutely cannot do is health them up. I can eat + enjoy a healthy cookie, a healthy muffin, or a healthy doughnut, but I cannot enjoy a healthy brownie. I need the real thing. And it also needs to have the exact right texture. I don’t want to eat a slab of fudge and I don’t want anything fluffy and cake-like. It must, must be super thick and chewy.
I know I haven’t had a brownie in a very long time but I’m pretty sure these are the best ever. Gluten-free or not I promise these will not disappoint.
- 2/3 cup gluten-free organic oat flour
- 2 tablespoons organic almond meal
- 2 tablespoons Frontier Organic cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
- 6 ounces high-quality organic dark or bittersweet chocolate, about 1 cup standard sized chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup organic pure cane sugar
- 2 large organic eggs
- 2 teaspoons Simply Organic vanilla extract
- optional mix-ins: chocolate chips, chopped pecans or walnuts, shredded coconut
- Preheat your oven to 350* Fahrenheit and thoroughly grease an 8x8 glass pan with butter.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the oat flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, sea salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- Simmer water in a double boiler or place a large, heat-safe mixing bowl on top of a pot with simmering water [water should not touch the bowl]. Melt the butter. Add in the chocolate and stir frequently until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Remove bowl from double boiler and stir in sugar with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds. Add in both eggs and stir until fully combined [about 20 seconds]. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Pour dry ingredients into the wet bowl and stir until smooth and fully combined [about 20 seconds]. If adding any mix-ins fold in now. Pour into your pan and spread with a spatula to level.
- Bake on the middle rack for 33-38 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Toothpick should be moist but not gooey. Edges will rise slightly higher than the center.
- Place on a cooling rack and allow to fully cool before cutting. Brownies will firm and give a clean cut once fully cooled.
If you cannot tolerate gluten-free oat flour feel free to substitute with a high quality all-purpose gluten-free flour for the oat flour only [outcome will vary slightly from original]. Oat flour can be ground in a blender or food processor from organic and gluten-free oat groats, steel cut oats, or rolled oats [not quick oats] until flour-like in texture. Sift out any larger pieces if necessary. Best ground in 1 cup batches. Almond meal can be ground from organic raw almonds [skin on] in a blender or food processor until flour-like in texture. Sift out any hard pieces if necessary. Best ground in 1 cup batches.
And now to the carrot cake.
I created a carrot cake recipe last year that has been one of the most popular recipes on the blog. It’s dairy free and topped with an orange maple cashew cream frosting that you will want to eat with a spoon.
That recipe was the starting point for this cake. It didn’t take quite as many trials as the brownies, but I did tinker with a few things. The one main difference is that I left out the sweet rice flour and again used only oat flour + almond meal. Only TWO flours, again! The frosting isn’t dairy free but it is a bit lighter than a traditional cream cheese frosting. I used neufchatel cheese and homemade powdered coconut sugar. The coconut powdered sugar is much less processed than traditional powdered sugar and creates the most amazing caramel-like flavor. I infused the frosting with orange zest and Simply Organic Orange Flavor for that burst of freshness I loved from my original recipe.
If you do happen to be dairy free just head to this recipe for a dairy free frosting.
Get the recipe–>Gluten-Free Carrot Cake*Don’t miss the notes at the bottom of the recipe for ingredient + substitution info.
I only wish you could have been here for the testing week to help me eat the mountains of sweets.
Pass the kale.
This post is not a sponsored post. I’m just ridiculously excited to share these recipes and tell you about my work with Simply Organic!