25 Apr 2013
Sometimes I think we get a little too rigid in our gluten-free, allergy-friendly baking. With good reason, of course.
There are so many gluten-free flours to choose from, and each has a personality of its own. You’re not guaranteed success when you make changes to a favorite recipe. And, with each baking flop we see precious time and money slip away, often directly into the nearest trash can.
I think it’s time to let go and have a little fun with our baking.
You can’t always take a gluten-free recipe and mix and match ingredients with success, but you can take several gluten-free recipes and mix and match those. That was my train of thought when I put together these brownies.
First, I looked over all the ingredients I had on hand and decided which flavors and textures I wanted in my final dessert. I love chocolate, cranberry, and walnut, so that was simple.
Instead of mixing them all into the brownie batter, I wanted a brownie that was more sophisticated. I opted for a walnut crust, with a cranberry brownie layer topped with chocolate-coated Erewhon Rice Twice Cereal.
You might not have the same ingredients I did when you make your own Raid-Your-Pantry Brownies. No problem!
For the crust, if you don’t have walnuts, try pecans or almonds. If you’re nut-free, try using a combination of seeds. You may need to soak the seeds first. Switch out the dates for prunes, apricots, or raisins. Or, if you’re not in the mood for a crust, omit it all together.
When raiding your pantry to make the brownies, try any dried fruit you have on hand. At my house we love the tart and sweet flavor combination, but you could have brownies that are just as delicious with dried cherries, blueberries, or mango. Reach for whatever sounds good to you. I also considered adding carob chips to the brownies but decided against it. You might want to stir them in, or add another sweet treat.
The chocolate-covered Honey Rice Twice adds a crunchy element that makes these brownies irresistible. Maybe you want to stir in some coconut, popped amaranth, or roasted nuts or seeds.
No Erewhon Rice Twice on hand? Use Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal. Or, if you’re in the mood for chocolate and berries try Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice with Mixed Berries.
Whatever you do, have fun and use what you have on hand. The end result will be a unique creation that absolutely delights you. We liked these brownies so much that they were almost gone before I could get the pictures taken!
How do you creatively use the ingredients in your pantry?
YIELD: makes 16 (2-inch x 2-inch) brownies
DIET TYPE: Gluten-Free
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups raw walnuts
1 1/2 cups Erewhon Rice Twice Cereal
4 large Medjool dates, pitted
2 tablespoons coconut oil
pinch of sea salt
For the brownies:
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup Erewhon Rice Twice cereal
1/4 cup teff flour
1/2 cup applesauce
2 large eggs, preferably organic
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup juice-sweetened dried cranberries
For the topping:
1/4 cup (1 ounce) cocoa butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon liquid vanilla stevia
1 1/2 cups Erewhon Rice Twice cereal
Make the crust:
Grease an 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan with coconut oil. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until walnuts are in small pieces but not finely ground. Add the Rice Twice Cereal, dates, coconut oil, and salt. Process until a crust forms. The dough should form a ball in the food processor.
Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 20 – 22 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden brown and puffed slightly. Carefully remove from the oven.
While the crust is baking, make the brownies:
Put the coconut oil and chopped chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in-between until both are melted. Set aside.
Put the coconut palm sugar, Rice Twice Cereal, and teff flour in the bowl of the food processor fitted with a steel blade. It’s not necessary to wash the food processor after making the crust. Just throw the ingredients right on in. Process until the Rice Twice Cereal is ground to a powder.
Add the applesauce, eggs, vanilla, salt, and melted coconut oil and chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients in the food processor. Pulse several times then process just until combined. Add in the cranberries and give the food processor a couple of pulses to mix them in.
Pour the brownie batter over the hot crust and return to the oven for another 20 – 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
Put on a baking rack to cool.
While the brownies cool, make the topping:
Put the cocoa butter and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in-between, until melted. Whisk in the cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla stevia.
Cool the cocoa butter mixture in the refrigerator for 15 – 20 minutes, whisking once or twice. If the mixture becomes very thick, return to the microwave for 10 seconds.
The cocoa butter mixture should be pourable. Combine with the Rice Twice Cereal and stir until coated. Turn the chocolate covered cereal onto the top of the cooled brownies. Spread the cereal mixture across the top of the brownies then lightly press it into the brownies with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until set, before serving. Store brownies in the refrigerator.
AmyCheck out my latest posts here