When our family celebrates Thanksgiving, Christmas—and any holiday really—we like to have an assortment of desserts. There’s no doubt that pies take center stage, but there’s also a need for chocolate in some form. Yes, there are sometimes chocolate pies. My Crustless Fudge Pie sometimes makes an appearance. And this year my latest pie success—Chocolate Silk Pie—will definitely be on the dessert sideboard. But chocolate typically is presented in non-pie form for our holiday events. It’s always available in chocolate chips (or chunks) in my Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies—by far the most requested dessert of mine by my family … no matter what the occasion. But occasionally, the standby chocolate classic—the brownie—shows up. The appearance of a plate of brownies—perhaps on an elegant cake plate-–just adds to the special event/celebration effect.
I pulled out an old family favorite recipe, Honeybear Brownies, the other day. I re-created it to be gluten free and made it a bit healthier at the same time. The results were far better than the original brownie. In keeping with my longstanding gfe focus on no flour/less flour to make the other ingredients stand out and allow gluten-free recipes to be made more easily and even economically, this recipe calls for only 1/2 cup of flour. Another bonus? This recipe calls for ingredients one always has in the pantry, so it can be made any time. You get a craving for brownies and about 25 minutes later you have these Honeybear Brownies. Life is good! Now you may be wondering … are they cake brownies? chewy brownies? or fudgy brownies? Well, you know me and semantics and struggling on making such a tough decision … I think they fit all three categories!
Last, this recipe is my entry for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! event hosted by the delightful Brittany (Real Sustenance). This monthly event was created by our sweet friend across the pond, Naomi of Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried. Each month a different blogger hosts by choosing a theme and sharing the roundup. Brittany, appropriately, chose Thanksgiving dishes. You can check out all the fabulous entries over at Brittany’s! Until then, enjoy! Oh, and I won’t tell anyone if you decide you need to make these brownies before Thanksgiving. One has to ensure that desserts are worthy enough for one’s guests after all. (If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious “ready-made” treat, please don’t forget to enter the $100 giveaway from Caveman Cookies here.)
Honeybear Brownies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)
¼ cup coconut oil, liquefied
½ cup healthier granulated sugar alternative (one reader used Stevia in the Raw. I used Demerera sugar; coconut/palm sugar could be used, too—ensure that it’s gluten free)
1/3 cup honey (or slightly less agave nectar for vegan option; I used our bees’ honey though)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs (flax eggs can be substituted for vegan option per reader’s review/test)
½ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts most of the time)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease 8 x 8 baking pan.
Add ingredients in order shown, stirring well after each egg is added, and once all ingredients have been added.
Spread batter into baking pan.
Bake for about 20 minutes. Test doneness with toothpick, but you can also tell the brownies are done when they pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan several minutes before cutting.
Shirley’s Notes: I used the mix of finely ground Asian white rice flour and cornstarch that I often use when gluten-free all-purpose flour is required. (I mix a large amount ahead of time—3 parts Asian white rice flour and 2 parts cornstarch—and then measure out what I need.) If you are nut free, I recommend replacing the nuts with sunflower seeds or another ingredient with some texture and bulk. I don’t believe that this recipe will have enough substance if the nuts are simply omitted. I have not made this recipe using egg substitutes such as flax eggs or chia eggs, but I suspect they’ll work. Please report back if you make this recipe egg free. Finally, I’m so often asked by those who eat gluten if a recipe can be made with “regular flour.” The answer is, of course! In this case, you’d just substitute “regular” all-purpose flour for the gluten-free all-purpose flour.
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