Every so often it occurs to me that cooking isn’t exactly intuitive to a lot of people. Especially baking. There are moments where I need to step back and imagine that “other” for whom sugar and eggs and leavenings aren’t second nature.
Take brownies, for example. I have been making brownies from scratch (is there any other way?) since the second grade. Our recipe of choice came from the Klutz Kids Cooking book (“A Very Slightly Messy Manual”). They were cakey and dusted with powdered sugar, and my sister and I got to lick the bowl while they baked. Heaven.
Over time, these brownies became my calling card, and I started selling them at bake sales, lemonade stands, yard sales, swim meets, you name it. My first economics lesson was in brownies: A double recipe cost us $13 to make; we could then cut the resulting 10″ x 15″ pan into 35 brownies and sell them for $0.50 apiece. It was made clear to me early on that no one gets rich through baking.
So forgive me for not posting my brownie recipe sooner. I’ve been running on the assumption that everyone already has a flour-dusted, chocolate-smeared recipe on hand, but that may not be the case.
Now admittedly, I had to switch brownie recipes when I went gluten-free. My original recipe used cocoa instead of melted chocolate, which didn’t pair well with the dryness we gluten-free bakers are always trying to overcome. The old recipe also made a 9″ x 13″ pan, which is not ideal if you’ll probably eat the whole pan yourself. (Let the record state that it usually takes me three or four days.)
Fortunately, finding a new recipe wasn’t too hard, even in the very early days of my gluten-free endeavors. Gluten-free brownies rely on an equilibrium of eggs, sugar, and fat for their structure, with only a tiny bit of flour, and therefore don’t need gums to bind. I knew that buckwheat flour was divine paired with chocolate, especially a fruity, high-quality 70% dark chocolate, and opted for that over rice flour.
Within two attempts, I’d cracked the code. These are a bit fudgier than the brownies of my youth, but I prefer smaller, richer brownies these days anyways. The internet is full of similar recipes, but I keep coming back to this one. If you haven’t found “your” brownie recipe yet, this is it.
- 4 oz. (1/2 c.) butter
- 4 oz. 70% dark chocolate
- 6 oz. (3/4 c.) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1.5 oz. (1/3 c.) tapioca starch
- 2 oz. (1/3 c.) buckwheat flour
- Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8" x 8" tin with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Melt butter and chocolate over low heat on the stove, or in the microwave on 50% power, stirring frequently. (I prefer the latter option.) Once it's melted, set aside for a minute while you put the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour in the chocolate mixture and stir until combined.
- Pour into prepared pan, smooth top with a spatula, and bake 25 minutes until they feel firm in the center. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack before cutting.