Oh my! These Gluten-free Chocolate Brownies are TO DIE FOR!
On their own, they are amazing, but pair them with some ice cream and a river of caramel sauce, and you’re in foodie heaven!
What makes these chocolate brownies so special?
It’s the dates! Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, they not only add some goodness into the recipe, they ensure the resulting brownies are incredibly moist. They also impart a beautiful caramel flavour, which enhances the taste significantly.
The basic recipe comes from well-known New Zealand cook Annabel Langbein. However, I went ahead and made some adaptations which I believe made them even better… and gluten-free too! Instead of standard flour, I used brown rice flour and ground almonds. And, instead of purely white sugar, I added in some dark muscovado sugar to heighten the caramel flavour.
The resulting brownies are, to me, the perfect brownie – moist and flavoursome, with a deep, slightly bitter chocolate taste. The trick is in using high quality dark cocoa and chocolate – here I used the same chocolate that Annabel used – New Zealand’s Whittaker’s 72% cocoa Dark Ghana.
You can certainly eat these brownies as they are, warmed, with a dusting of cocoa or icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar). However, I bit the bullet and decided to go the whole nine yards. With these brownies in mind, I made some fabulous Caramel Swirl Vanilla Ice Cream with Roasted Peanuts the other day – the perfect sweet topping for the dark brownie. I then doused it in all in some home-made deep smokey caramel sauce, and sprinkled over some Maldon salt flakes. Now THAT’s what I’m talking about!
You have GOT to try these!! If I tell you that everyone literally licked their plates clean afterwards, that gives you an indication of just how delectably good this dessert is. Enjoy!
- 2 cups chopped dates
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 200g (6½ oz) finely diced butter, at room temperature
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
- 1 cup dark cocoa, sifted
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 250g (8 oz) dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
- Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F) and line a 30cm x 24cm (12 x 9 inch) slice tin with baking paper.
- Put dates in a large bowl, add baking soda and boiling water and stir to combine. Add finely diced butter and stir until melted. Leave to stand for 20 minutes.
- Mash softened dates with a fork to break them up to a creamy consistency. Stir in the eggs and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the sugar, then add the cocoa, flour and baking powder and stir until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips or chunks.
- Smooth into prepared tin and bake until it is set and firm (about 45-50 minutes). Cool before cutting into squares and serving (see serving suggestions below).
Warm in the microwave (about 20 seconds on high) and dust with cocoa or icing sugar (confectioner's sugar) and serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Or;
Warm in the microwave (about 20 seconds on high) and serve with ice cream and topping of your choice.
Stored in a sealed container these brownies will keep for a couple of weeks.
Halving the recipe:
This recipe makes a lot of brownies. If, however, you would like to make a smaller batch, I recommend you halve it. I did, and used a 10 x 6 inch (25 x 16 cm) sized pan. You get 6-8 good sized servings.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting