Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Minty Chocolate Brownies - gluten free


Christmas is nearly here and a while back, I decided that minty chocolate brownies would be a really delicious treat to share with family and friends. Not working from a recipe, I was struggling to decide the best way to make them minty. I didn't just want to add mint essence as I thought that would be way too boring and wouldn't actually get the flavour effect that I was hoping for.


By last week, and following my recent success of adding toffees to biscuits and cake, I had decided to use some sort of mint sweet, but couldn't decide which might work best. My plan was to take a trip to the sweet shop and peruse the shelves for inspiration, but I didn't actually get that far. As is often the case, inspiration arrived on the web just when I needed it most..........

It seems that a number of lucky bloggers out there have been receiving promotional boxes of After Eight Mints from Nestle, who have asked them to come up with recipes in which to use them. I sadly am not one of those bloggers!


I'm not jealous at all................. no really.................. Actually, I am grateful to all of them. As soon as I started reading about all the After Eight inventions, I realised immediately that After Eights were exactly the right sweet to use in my brownies! Soft, gooey, a deep cold minty kiss............ bound to melt and mingle into the brownie sponge. The perfect enhancement to chocolate squidge.

I did have a couple of attempts at getting this recipe right. The first batch ended up way too gooey. Delicious yes, but I was spooning it off the bottom of the tray. Shame is was so disastrous. But not wanting it to go to waste, I have had to eat it myself (well............. it wouldn't have been fair to inflict it on anyone else).


With the need for a bit of a tweak, I added a little more flour and a little less sugar and hey presto........the most delectable gluten free, minty chocolate brownies were born!

These moist chunks of heaven have a perfectly chewy, yet firm texture. They are not too sweet, are very chocolatey and have a cooling hint of mint which is most definitely present, but not too over-powering. Yum! I am thrilled with them. Chocolate + mint + brownie...... What's not to like?


The After Eights worked really well (although if you can't get them where you live, an alternative soft or liquidy mint fondant sweet is definitely worth a try).

I reckon they make a perfect, prepare-ahead-of-time plate of Christmassy treats to either take to a party or enjoy at home. So I am sharing them with two challenges this month..........

Treat Petite, with December's 'Happy Holidays' theme, being hosted by Stuart at Cakeyboi (who shares the challenge with Kat at The Baking Explorer)



And Four Seasons Food hosted this month by Anneli at Delicieux (who co-hosts with Louisa at Eat Your Veg). December's theme is a very Christmassy 'Party Food'.


Four Seasons Food Winter

I think Christmas and holidays are definitely an excuse to eat lots of treats and are absolutely the right time to scoff brownies.................


Minty Chocolate Brownies - gluten free

Ingredients

200g good quality dark chocolate
200g unsalted butter 
3 large eggs
120g golden caster sugar
110g soft brown sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
160g plain gluten free flour blend (I used mix A from this post)
30g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
130g After Eight Mints - cut into very small pieces

Method

  1. Base-line a square baking tin (23 x 23 cm/9 x 9 inches) with baking paper.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, weigh and mix the flour, cocoa, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside
  4. In a heat-proof glass bowl, melt the chocolate with the butter (either by steaming the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave on 30 second bursts) stirring frequently. Make sure the chocolate mix is well blended and smooth.
  5. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the sugars and vanilla for 3 to 5 minutes until pale, thick and creamy.
  6. Add the melted chocolate mix and beat thoroughly.
  7. Add the dry ingredients and carefully fold in until just combined.
  8. Finally fold in the After Eight Mint pieces until evenly distributed.
  9. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth the top.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 160 C/140 F/Gas 3 and continue to bake for a further 30 minutes. The brownie should be well risen and even on top.
  11. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. 
  12. Once cool, remove from the tin and cut into individual squares. 

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated

6 comments:

  1. You are a true alchemist! Thanks for entering Treat Petite :)

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    1. Thanks Stuart. Treat Petite is always fun,...............

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  2. Ha! I had exactly the smae ifdea to make after eight minty brownies and was going to bake it next weekend - great minds eh!?
    These look fantastic and I want to reach eat and eat one.

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    1. Te he......... Great minds indeed! I hope you still make them...... Apart from the fact that the flavour combination is delicious (how come we don't come across them more often?), I would love to see your take on them!! Bet they'll be fantastic..........

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  3. LUSH :) Your brownies look so moist and yummy and I love the sound of After Eights in there too. What a great idea. (I was also not one of those bloggers :) I would scoff a fair few of these if I had some at a party - great entry into Four Seasons Food, thanks x

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    1. Thanks Anneli. They are so simple to make and definitely perfectly moist...........I can confirm that it is way too easy to scoff the lot!

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