When I first started learning the ins and outs of gluten-free baking, I was not impressed. You have to mix roughly a billion different types of flours in order to create a product that hopefully, maybe, resembles the real, gluten-filled thing (okay, slight exaggeration, but not by much). It’s easier to adapt some recipes than others, but all of it involves a certain amount of trial and error. The more I do it, the more gluten-free baking appeals to me, in spite of its difficulties. I’m not celiac, but I do believe that we’re generally better off eating fewer refined carbs, in this case wheat flour, bearer of gluten (says the woman who recently devoured her weight in macaroni and cheese – it’s about balance). Anything that makes a recipe healthier without sacrificing the flavor or texture means that I get to enjoy more of the foods I love and still fit into my jeans. That’s everyone’s dream come true – right? If someone offered me a million dollars or the ability to eat anything I want without gaining weight, I think everyone knows which I’d choose.
As I’ve said though, gluten free flours are tricky substitutes for the real thing. You can rarely switch out wheat flour for another kind without altering your end product too much. But occasionally, it is that easy. And by occasionally, I mean this is the only instance I’m aware of. These brownie bites, which normally call for wheat flour, are almost exactly the same, and definitely as delicious, when you swap almond flour for the wheat flour. That’s it. That’s the big gluten-free secret I needed to share. No perfectly balanced mixture of flours, just straight almond flour. They’re perfectly fudgey and chewy, and the flavor of the almond flour isn’t even noticeable. Not that the almond flavor would really be a problem, since chocolate covered almonds are pretty bomb.
I should mention that there are pre-mixed gluten-free flour substitutes out there that incorporate multiple types of starches – I don’t know how successful they’ll be in this particular recipe, but they do make gluten-free baking simpler if you’re just starting out. The problem with a lot of them is that they tend to incorporate the cheapest, often least nutrient-dense starches. If you’re ready to really dive into gluten-free baking, and have some money to spend on it, a little research generally will let you do better than pre-mixed flours.
Or you can create brownies that only need almond flour and skip that headache altogether!
The best part of these brownies? Well, okay, the best part is that you can feed these to your gluten-free friends and have them sing your praises forever. The second best part is that these are insanely easy to make, and incredibly versatile. You can make them in about 30 minutes, including baking time, and top with anything you like. Chocolate ganache is a personal favorite, or you could go with a simple vanilla buttercream. If you want to make it even more interesting, top with milk chocolate frosting, a dab of marshmallow fluff, and some crushed graham crackers (you can buy these gluten-free) to create some adorable s’mores bites.
Be careful – these are the perfect size to just pop in your mouth and enjoy…over and over… until you’ve eaten half the batch! Then again, they are gluten-free, so who’s to say that’s not a good idea?
Gluten-Free Fudge Brownie Bites
- 8 Tbsps butter 104g
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 168g
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar 120g
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 10 Tbsps almond flour 35g
- 1/8 tsp salt
Step 1: Melt together butter and chocolate chips, in a small pot on the stove, or a bowl in the microwave. Heat slowly, and stir frequently, to avoid the chocolate seizing.
Step 2: Stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Gently stir in almond flour and salt.
Step 3: Spoon into three mini-muffin pans, coated generously with non-stick cooking spray.
Step 4: Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove pans to cool. Be careful not to under-bake.
Step 5: Let brownie bites cool completely, remove from pans, and top with ganache, or frosting. Or enjoy plain!