Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Deep Dark Chocolate Super Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies

So these brownies are super chocolatey, like deep-dark-double-chocolate. They taste like one of those Fine Extra Dark Ritter Sport bars. They're moist and fudgy, with caramel-y date notes, they're loaded with equally dark melty honey-sweetened chocolate chips. Oh, and they're gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar free. You could almost call them healthy.

Now, I'm not always gluten free, typically I am a classic American omnivore, consuming just about any food laid in front of me (except mushrooms. I just don't do mushrooms). But I have a bit of a skin condition, and when it flares up I eat an anti-inflammatory diet to help speed up the healing process.  What that means is: no nuts, no gluten, no dairy, no refined sugar. In other words, no fun at all.

I'm kidding about the no fun, of course! It's actually a bit of a fun challenge trying to come up with tasty meals, especially when so many gluten/dairy free recipes rely heavily on nuts. Last weekend I really, really wanted brownies. I have an excellent gluten free chocolate cake recipe, but it involves a lot of almonds. I searched online, but was put off by the idea of running out to buy arrowroot powder or tapioca starch. I decided I would just make something up.

I borrowed ideas from a plethora of recipes full of other things I didn't have or couldn't eat and when I put it all together and popped it in the oven I was not 100% convinced it was going to bake up into a solid object at all, let alone fudgy dark chocolate brownies like I was hoping for. But I was in luck, the baking gods smiled upon me, and 27 minutes later I was pulling a pan of super dark chocolatey, ooey-gooey fudgy brownies out of the oven. 

These brownies are delicious. The chocolate is super dark and intense, not-too-sweet, but with plenty of caramel-y date flavor, and if you go ahead and whip up the honey sweetened chocolate chips you'll find pockets of melted bittersweet goodness sprinkled throughout. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

12 oz  dates (or 1 C date sugar)
3 tbsp Buckwheat flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp coconut oil
8 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 large eggs
3 tbsp maple syrup (optional, for a bit of extra sweetness)
Optional: 4 oz honey sweetened chocolate chips *recipe at bottom of page

First, make your date paste (if using date sugar, skip ahead). You can do this up to several days in advance, and keep the paste in the fridge. Pit the dates, and place in a bowl of warm water. Allow to soak for half an hour. Drain dates, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the soaking water. Add dates and the 2 tbsp of water to a food processor, and blend until a thick paste is formed. Scrape into a small bowl and set aside. 

Line a 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil, then coat foil lightly with coconut oil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Add the coconut oil and chocolate to a double boiler (or heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water), and place over low heat, stirring occasionally, until water and coconut oil melt. When the chocolate-oil mixture is completely smooth, remove from heat and stir in the date paste (or date sugar) in three increments, stirring well after each. The chocolate will become quite thick as the dates cool it down. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. 

In a small bowl sift together the cocoa powder and buckwheat flour. Stir into the batter. Now begin to beat the heck out of your batter. I know, it's thick, it's hard work. But just go to town. I use a big wooden spoon. As you mix, the batter will begin to get glossy and pull away from the edges of the bowl- this is good! Keep going! Mix the heck out of the batter for about 2 minutes. 

If you're adding the honey sweetened chocolate chips, mix them in now. Scoop the batter into your foil lined, coconut oiled pan, smooth it out, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center feels just barely set. Remove from oven, place the pan on a cooling rack, and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting. 

Honey Sweetened Chocolate Chips (optional)

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/3 C Honey

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the honey. Pour into a small parchment paper lined pan or dish, pop into the freezer for 20-30 minutes, then chop into small bits with a large knife. 


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