Sometimes in order to eat clean, you have to do some dirty things.
I’ve been craving brownies all week and, naturally, I turned to one of my personal role models, the queen of all things decadent and tasty, Julia Child. Her Best-Ever Brownie recipe is my go-to when I’m craving chocolatey perfection. But then I had a thought: I want to make brownies that I can share with ALL of my friends? I realized this would mean doing the unthinkable. I would have to take this canonical recipe and make it vegan and gluten free. That’s crazy, right? I mean we’re talking Julia Child, the baroness of butter. You can’t do that, it’s blasphemy!
I say a little blasphemy every now and then never hurt anybody. Besides, what Julia doesn’t know won’t hurt her.
The substitutions in this recipe are super easy. Coconut oil is a great stand-in for butter, and that flax seed trick I showed you earlier? That takes care of your eggs. I strayed a little from the original recipe in selecting some vegan chocolate to use. Trader Joe’s has a couple of vegan chocolate bars. Their Pound Plus Bittersweet and Bittersweet with almonds are the two that are vegan. I decided to skip the nuts and go with regular bittersweet. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose flour takes the place of normal all-purpose flour. Simple, right? Here’s the process in full:
Blasphemous Best-Ever Brownies
1 1/4 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup coconut oil
6 ounces bittersweet vegan chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla abstract
4 Tbsp ground flax seed
3/4 cup warm water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a double boiler, combine the chocolate and the coconut oil, stirring constantly until melted. Make sure you’re not scorching the chocolate, cook this all on a low simmer. It takes a little longer over low heat, but I’ve burned enough chocolate in my time to know it’s worth the wait.
Once the chocolate is melted, add 1 cup of the sugar. Stir for 30 seconds and then add the vanilla. Remove from heat.
Mix together the ground flax seed and the warm water until well combined. Let that sit for about 30 seconds and then stir again until the mixture becomes gelatinous.
In a large bowl, mix the remaining sugar with the flax seed mixture. Once that’s combined, add the chocolate mixture. Stir until fully incorporated.
Next add the salt, and slowly add the flour, making sure to mix well before adding more flour.
Pour your batter into an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. You can test how done your brownies are by sliding a knife into the center. Also, you can shake the pan a little to make sure there’s no jiggle.
Please let these puppies cool completely before eating. As they cool, the coconut oil will allow them to set a little more and become a bit firmer. This is super important!
You’ll notice that I skipped a couple of steps from the Julia Child recipe. Those steps were focused on tempering the eggs and making sure they wouldn’t begin to cook upon making contact with the warm chocolate. Since there are no eggs in this recipe, those steps didn’t really seem relevant. Also, I didn’t use the same amount of coconut oil as the recipe calls for butter because I find that having that much oil in the recipe leads to some pretty greasy brownies. They taste just fine, but they’re greasy.
As I’ve said before, I’m fairly new to the land of vegan and gluten free baking so I appreciate any tips or tricks y’all have out there in the blogosphere. Try these out and let me know what you think.