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Archive for April 23rd, 2010

Victory! Recipe: Chewy GF/Allergy-Free Brownies

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Eight Years, One Recipe

I am thrilled. Since I have been baking/eating without a long list of foods (due to food sensitivities/allergies), I have struggled with finding good chewy brownies. I love chewy textures and many of my old favorites are no longer on the “safe” list for me.

I don’t bake with wheat/gluten, though I do not fight celiac disease. However, many gluten-free/GF packaged mixes contain corn, potato and/or xanthan gum, all three of which I do not tolerate. Many call for egg or milk. Some call for corn syrup to hold things together. All don’t work for me. I had to start from scratch.

Mochi to the Rescue (Again)

My break-through point was trying yet a different kind of flour. I have recently found one source for gluten-free “sweet rice flour” (it’s Mochi rice but in a different form than my previous food post). The Lansing, Michigan source is Foods for Living, a wonderful, employee-owned grocery which supports local musicians as well as really being top notch in products offered and friendly service.

The product itself is produced by Bob’s Red Mill, a wonderful alternative flour source (I get teff flour from them, too… for my spice muffin recipe). If you do not live in Lansing, and your town has no source for this product, you can buy from the mill direct online. They have great service. Local first, though… if you will.

These Work for Everyone

Because of my food restrictions, these brownies also happen to be vegan. It’s a bit accidental, but I’m all for sharing with anyone who limits ingredients.

I have been baking corn-wheat-egg-potato-milk-yeast free since the end of May, 2002. It took me that long to figure these out. You can imagine how happy I am to share this recipe with you.

Warning: You must use the same ingredients, and measure very carefully. If I mention a brand name, that brand is different from others and using a substitute may turn out poorly. Guessing at what 1/4 cup is, for example, can ruin an allergy recipe. There is little room for playing in this domestic chemistry game which is called allergy baking.

Why Habibi?

Habibi means “Sweetheart” (and similar sentiments) in Arabic. I named these brownies “Habibi Brownies” because my first good batch in 8 years was made in time to share with the crowd at the Habibi Dancers‘ Annual show. Each dancer was expected to bring a dozen cookies. I made 24 brownies. I kept a dozen, and gave the troupe the expected number. I just could not bear to give up any more than required, I was so happy to have success!!!

NOTE: I like brownies with edges, so I have baked them in three bread pans for years (rather than one big pan). I do not know how this will work if you put  it in a larger 10×13″ rectangular cake pan, but I am guessing another 5-10 minutes in the oven might make that work fine. If anyone tries this, please take the time to write me with your results.

If you do not have any food restrictions, you can still enjoy these brownies. For moms tired of making two dinners or two desserts, this will be a lifesaver. Beatrice, age 5, says they are good. She has no restrictions. I’m happy with that endorsement.

If you prefer cake-like ones and have food restrictions, you may prefer my “No Nothin’ Brownies” instead. However, I think those are not equal to wheat brownies and I think my Habibi Brownies are every bit equal to any other chewy brownie.

I’ve talked too much. Here is the recipe. Please share as you wish, but I do ask you to give me credit, and not make money on my recipe. It took me 8 years to get these right! Thanks.

Habibi Brownies by Lynn DT Hershberger/ColorJoy (c) 2010
No wheat, gluten, corn, egg, soy, milk, yeast, nuts, potato, xanthan gum.

Your friends will not taste the difference.

1c Bob’s Red Mill Sweet White Rice Flour (do not substitute)
1/2 c Brown Rice Flour (I used Arrowhead Mills, brand less crucial here)
1/2 c plus 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (baking cocoa, not drink mix)
1 c Brown Sugar (stickier than white sugar, do not sub)
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Cream of Tartar (or sub 1tsp of baking powder for this and the soda)
1/4 c plus 1Tbsp oil (I use olive oil, can use any oil you are not allergic to)
3/4 c Water
Non-corn-oil cooking spray or 1tsp oil (celiacs, be sure it’s gluten-free)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Spray three glass bread pans with oil (or wipe with oil and paper napkin). Sprinkle very lightly with brown rice flour.

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients with a wire whisk, wire piecrust blending tool or fork (brown sugar will not mix perfectly, do not worry about that).

Pour wet ingredients into bowl and mix with fork only until just blended. It will be a sticky, thick batter.

Divide batter between bread pans. Smooth out a bit.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. It is done when sides pull away from pan and it smells a little “toasty.” A toothpick placed in the center comes out mostly dry but a bit tacky (not wet- sticky). Cool 5 minutes before cutting, if you can stand to wait.

These last several days unrefrigerated. I expect they will freeze well, too.

Edited to add: For the record, my entire Recipe Archive has many allergy-friendly/vegan recipes to print out/use any time.

If you would like this recipe (and nine other recipes) in a format which is easier to use, I offer the “I Can Eat These! Dessert Collection.” It is available in both a spiral-bound copy which I mail to you, or a PDF download copy. The PDF is convenient because you can print just the page you want, and if it gets dirty you can just print it again- it’s set up for 8-1/2 x 11 US printer sized paper, very easy to print.

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