Perfectly chewy gluten free Granola Brownies… Each bite unique with nuts, fruit, seeds, oat clusters, or any other deliciousness that comes from the granola mixed in. And a bit of granola in your brownies makes them healthier… right? (Optional dairy free)
I was #gifted some granola from Rollagranola to eat and with which I happened to make these brownies. However, I was not required to either write a blog post or to make anything with the granola. I just genuinely loved its quality and thought it would be perfect for the recipe I had planned.
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The story behind my gluten free Granola Brownies
Granola Brownies are a recipe I have been meaning to play with for a while. I love granola and I love brownies… But would a combination of the two work?
After recently being introduced to some amazingly good (#gifted) granola from Rollagranola, I grabbed my chance. Why? Because the granola from Rollagranola is seriously packed with nuts, fruit and seeds. And I mean seriously packed!
It doesn’t contain a ton of sugar either… And I wanted Granola for brownies that didn’t add unnatural sweetness (brownies are already a sweet treat), but that gave a really fruity-nutty punch.
It turns out the combination of brownies and good granola does work… And actually, it makes a brownie that is quite unique and delicious… Each bite brings a surprise. From roasted and toasted nuts and seeds to lots of chewy chunks of fruit. Granola Brownies bring a perfect marriage… And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are ‘healthy’… they are definitely less sweet and sickly than the average brownie. And they have a texture that brings a whole new dimension.
In fact… It had me scratching my head. Why the heck aren’t Granola Brownies a big thing?
What is Granola?
Granola is usually considered a breakfast cereal that is made from a combination of ingredients. These might include nuts, seeds, fruit, oats, coconut and a little sugar (usually in the form of honey, maple syrup or brown sugar) thrown in for good measure and to help bind.
Granola originated in America and is not to be confused with muesli. The key differences between granola and muesli are that:
- Muesli is created and eaten unbaked… Granola is mixed and baked, usually with a little natural sugar, whipped egg white or oil to help bind the ingredients into clusters and to help them to crisp.
- In terms of serving… Muesli is mixed with liquid and can be served either cold or hot (it’s not particularly palatable without liquid)… Granola on the other hand, is served cold, most frequently with a dash of milk or sprinkled on top of yoghurt.
- Because Granola doesn’t need liquid to make it appealing, it can also be eaten straight out of the box as a yummy snack in its own right.
What granola is best for making Granola Brownies?
As mentioned above, the best granola for adding to brownies is one which is packed with natural nuts, seeds and fruit and isn’t full of sugar or too many oats (gluten free or not). And not all granola is created equal! Look at the ingredients of the average granola box and there is often way too much sugar and cheap ‘padding’ in the form of a heavy oat or grain weighting. That includes very popular national ‘health’ brands who still set their oats at 60% +.
Why is a lower oat content important for Granola Brownies? Because too many oats will result in a breakfast bar rather than a brownie and will suck out moisture which is needed to ensure your brownies are chewy and gooey. Oats and other grains also weigh less than nuts volume for volume and this will mean too much extra dry stuff added… Which in turn will adversely affect the texture.
To be fair, I did find one interesting-sounding ‘no added sugar’, grain free granola available in a supermarket. But they weren’t certified gluten free and the nut content was definitely on the lower side.
The particular granola I used for making my brownies was perfect. In fact, although I haven’t tried the whole range, Rollagranola seems to set their oat content even for their ‘oat granola’ at well below 40%, with any sweetness coming naturally from fruit. Great for brownies… And great for breakfast too!
Make sure any oats are gluten free
Whatever you use for making Granola Brownies, if you are Coeliac, be certain to check that the brand uses gluten free oats. And that all other ingredients are also gluten free (with no ‘may contain’ warnings. All Rollagranola granolas are confirmed to be gluten free.
What if the granola has a larger ratio of oats, grains and flakes?
If you choose to use a brand of granola with a higher ratio of oats, grains and flakes, that’s fine. But I would recommend that you substitute a portion of the weight added for additional nuts and/or dried fruit. Bear in mind that granola has been roasted in manufacture however. So, to ensure the flavours stay rich and toasty, it’s more than worth roasting the substituted granola ingredients in the oven for a few minutes ahead of time.
Choosing granola to complement the chocolate in brownies
When you choose your granola, consider how the ingredients listed will work next to the rich chocolate notes in the base brownies.
I adore the combination of raspberry, nuts and chocolate, so opted to use Rollagranola’s Cool Raspberry Fruit Granola. Its particular mix of raspberries, macademias, cashews, hazelnuts and almonds offer the most sublime pairings within the gooey-chewy brownies.
Can I use muesli instead in my Chewy brownies?
I wouldn’t recommend using muesli instead of granola to make this brownies recipe for the following reasons:
- Most muesli is made with a higher percentage of oats and grains, so it is more likely to suck the moisture out of the brownie mixture as it bakes. This will completely alter the texture away from ‘brownie’ to something much drier.
- Because muesli has not been baked, the flavours will be relatively bland. Granola offers much more ‘toasty’ and rich notes that are a total treat in each brownie bite.
Granola Brownies are not over-sweet
Carefully picking your granola to add to the brownie mixture will also ensure that the brownies remain on the yummier side of sweet and don’t become sickly. For anyone who read my post for Peanut Butter Brownies, you’ll know how shocked I was to discover the calorific value of some of the gluten free brownie recipes being offered out there.
Brownies shouldn’t and don’t need to be sickly sweet. And with Granola Brownies you want the chocolate, nuts, fruit and anything else in there to shine. Brownies should be rich yes. But they should never be sickly.
Can I sprinkle granola on top before baking?
I considered and tested adding granola to the top of the brownies before baking. And yes… I thought it would look nice. It didn’t! What happened was that the granola on the top burnt. Not only did it look ‘rank’ but it tasted a little too ‘charcoal’ for my liking.
So, in answer to the question… No. I wouldn’t recommend adding extra decorative granola to the top before baking.
Ready to make chewy gluten free Granola Brownies?
Below you’ll find my recipe for gluten free Granola Brownies. Note that these brownies are chewier in texture than some of the other brownies I have on the blog. But variety is the spice of life (apparently…). And I’d never want to be considered a ‘one-trick brownie pony’. Either way, I hope you love them. And heads up… If you want to make them more of a dessert, they are amazing with ice cream or a drop of cream.
You’ll find lots of other brownies and traybakes inspiration in our dedicated traybakes index. And for everything else, sit down with your lap top and browse out amazing Gluten Free Recipe Book Index. If you want to know how to bake anything gluten free, this is a great place to start 😘.
Chewy Granola Brownies
- Kitchen scales
- measuring spoons
- 8 inch/20 cm square baking tin
- baking paper
- glass heat-proof bowl
- small heat-proof bowl + microwave (or small saucepan & hob)
- Mixing bowls
- wooden/silicone spoon
- 170 g unsalted butter (or good dairy free alternative) – cubed
- 180 g good quality dark chocolate chopped
- 90 g plain white gluten free flour blend I used GFA blend A – See NOTES
- 20 g cocoa powder
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 1½ tsp gluten free baking powder
- pinch fine sea salt
- 125 g caster sugar preferably golden
- 125 g soft light brown sugar
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract optional
- 3 large eggs UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 130 g very nutty/fruity granola See NOTES (important)
- a few cubes of melted dark chocolate to drizzle
- freeze dried raspberry powder to dust
Prep the equipment
- Base-line an 8 inch (20 cm) non-stick square baking tin with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
Melt the chocolate with the butter
- In a heat-proof glass bowl, melt together the butter and chocolate by either setting the bowl over a saucepan of lightly simmering water (stirring frequently). OR in a microwave set at medium on 30 second bursts, stirring between each until well blended.
- Set aside to cool slightly.
Mix the dry ingredients
- Mix together the flour, cocoa, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and sugars, making sure all lumps are broken down. TIP: weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously.
- Set aside.
Making the brownies
- Break the eggs into a large bowl and add the vanilla extract (if using).
- Beat the eggs thoroughly with a fork, until well blended in appearance.
- Add the melted chocolate mixture and thoroughly beat into the eggs with a wooden or firm silicone spoon.
- Add the dry ingredients and beat again with the wooden/silicone spoon until smooth and even.
- Add the granola and beat through until evenly-distributed in the mixture.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and spread it to the edges, ensuring an even surface.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is crisp and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out almost clean with a few crumbs attached.
- Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool completely.
- In order to make the brownie easier to cut, place in the fridge to firm up (it will soften back to 'chewy-gooey' once brought back to room temperature).
- Once cold, carefully remove the brownie from the tin and cut into 16 even squares. If you prefer your brownies identical or want to remove the crustier edges, use a sharp knife to trim the sides before cutting into slices.
- Decorating the brownies is optional. However I opted to drizzle with melted dark chocolate and to dust with a sieved sprinkle of freeze-fried raspberry powder to complement the raspberry granola that I used.
© 2019-2021 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
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