I realise that the above is quite a definitive statement to make, but I do believe that what you are about to witness is the best gluten-free brownie. Ever. And this is not my doing, this is the Better Brownie recipe from Leon’s “Brownies, Bars & Muffins” recipe book. I have wanted to make them for ages as they sound wonderful, but I felt I needed a suitable enough event to warrant the rather substantial amount of chocolate involved. And if you don’t know about the “naturally fast food” chain Leon in the UK where fast food is good – click here
180 grams unsalted butter plus extra for greasing
200 grams dark chocolate (54% cocoa solids)
2 teaspoons espresso or strong coffee
80 grams whole almonds (skin on)
4 free-range eggs
100 grams ground almonds
160 grams dark chocolate (54% cocoa solids, in chunks)
160 grams very dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
150 grams fructose
pinch of sea salt
3-4 drops vanilla essence
Heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Generously butter a 30 x 20 x 5cm baking tray.
Melt the butter in a small pan, and allow it to cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, melt the 200g of chocolate over a pan of hot water, stirring well to make sure that it is properly melted, and being careful not to burn it. Finely grate the orange zest directly into the melted chocolate to catch the oils that are released during the zesting.
Add the coffee and melted butter to the chocolate mixture.
On another baking tray spread out the almonds and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden, then roughly chop.
Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the ground almonds, the chopped almonds, all the chocolate chunks and lastly the fructose. Stir in the salt and vanilla, followed by the chocolate mixture.
Mix well until creamy and thickened, but do not over-mix, as too much air will cause the brownie to crumble when baked.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tray and place in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. Take care not to over-bake the brownies. They are ready when the edges are slightly crusty but the middle is still soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
Note: fructose turns a much darker colour when baked than sugar. The brownie develops a glossy sheen and will not look cooked, when it fact it is. Resist the temptation to cook it for too long. You can replace the fructose with 180 grams of sugar.
I had friends coming over for dinner Saturday night and made the brownies, knowing I had some very discerning brownie eaters to serve (and I had to compete with “normal” brownies, not even a gluten-free benchmark). And all I will say is that on the Sunday I received a message as to whether there were any leftover brownies, and with the response of yes, an Uber was sent to my house to collect the goods. That is the power of these brownies.
These are rich and decadent (which is why there was even any leftovers to send on the Sunday) but so worth the effort, and taste even better the next day (if that is even possible).
Follow the recipe exactly (even the order ingredients are added to the bowl) and you too shall experience this best gluten-free brownie ever!
Book cover below – find the magic on page 10!