I’ll confess it. I’ve done a lot of allergy-safe cooking but I have very little experience with gluten-free baking. When Margaret was young we were egg-free as well as avoiding many versions of corn. Charlotte had to avoid dairy, soy, and eggs. I feel like I have a good handle on those, as well as fish, shellfish, peanut and tree nut avoidance. Wheat and gluten are the last of the top-8 most common allergens for me to understand.
I decided to start out easy. Last time I spent time baking gluten-free was in 2005 and 2006 and it was in Australia. Products are very different here, and producers have really increased the options available to a baker.
Yesterday I made Better Crocker’s Brownie mix. Yes, this is how they look. Fudgey and yummy.
Allergen info: Obviously the brownies are gluten and wheat free. The mix has soy lecithin in the chocolate chips, and they call for butter and eggs. I’m sure they could be made with stick margarine with no noticeable difference. You could probably also use oil since the butter is melted, or shortening. It’s possible that tub margarine will work here but it has less fat than butter or stick margarine so you might notice a bit less fudginess.
Unfortunately, I don’t recommend trying to replace out the eggs. Or you can feel free to try it but I can’t guarantee great results. Eggs seem to contribute a lot to the body and mouth feel of brownies. and they contribute a lot of structure to gluten free flours–structure that ordinary flour would have already.
I just spoke with a rep from General Mills and was told what I have heard before: if one of the top-8 allergens is an ingredient they list it under “contains”, if the food may have come in contact with a top-8 allergen during production they will list it as “may contain”.
In the past I’ve found that GF baked goods have an unpleasant grittiness to them that is from the rice flour. I wasn’t sure how these would be but at least it’s a mix so the prep would at least be easy. I won’t save this to the end: they are not gritty at all. They are as fudgey as they look, and really quite good. There are chocolate chips in the batter too, and they add a nice deep chocolate flavor.
Start out by preheating the oven to 350 and greasing a baking pan. They give instructions for 8×8 as well as 9×9 pans, but since I think thicker is better, I went with the smaller. Since this is gluten-free recipe, it does not call for then flouring the pan, of course, just whack in a good coating of your favorite shortening or margarine. I greased it liberally and stuck my blue silicone liner in the bottom. I made the liner years ago by taking a silicone pan liner and trimming it to size. Note that you cannot do this with a liner like the Silpat brand ones as they have lines of fiberglass running through them, and cutting the liners releases the fiberglass. That’s bad.
Put the mix in a bowl and add one stick of melted butter and two eggs. What can I say, they’re brownies and brownies don’t seem to be really brownies without eggs–though I’d love to be proven wrong.
Stir to combine thoroughly. They do warn you that the batter will be thick. As you stir you see lumps in the dough. What are these lumps? They are chocolate chips!
Spread into your prepared pan. See how the batter is indeed thick?
Put the pan in the oven. For the 8×8 pan they advised 28-31 minutes, and mine were done at about 31 minutes, which is about right since my oven is a tad slow. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick about two inches from the edge. If the toothpick comes out clean they are done.
Depending on how you feel about raw eggs you might want to lick the bowl while the brownies bake. The batter is delicious and not gritty.
Allow to cool before cutting. Gluten-free goods generally need extra cooling time before coming out of the pan. I’ll confess, I was so lazy I didn’t get to take them out of the pan until the next morning. Which mean I had brownies for breakfast. I had to, it was all in the name of science. It was the sacrifice I made for YOU, and one I’m willing to make.