Classic Brownies

December 19, 2012

Brownies, like most baked goods, seem to inspire lively debate. Cakey or fudgy? Iced or plain? With nuts or without? My feelings? As long as it's a brownie, please pass it to me! I love them all.* I even love the pale cousin of the brownie, the blondie. But today I want to talk about fudgy brownies.

My recipe makes a 9-by-13-inch pan of fudgy, gluten-free brownies with a thin, crackled top. (This crisp layer comes from the granulated sugar.) Since no baking soda or baking powder is present, the brownies get a slight lift from creaming the butter and sugar. However, this lift is really slight, and although the brownies will puff up in the oven, they sink down to a dense, fudgy texture as they cool.

For this recipe, I use cocoa powder and not melted chocolate. After many tests, I found that the added step of having to melt chocolate just didn't add enough of a "chocolate wow!" to the baked brownies to warrant using it.

Either natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder works well in this recipe. The brownie in the photo was made using Dutch-process cocoa. This cocoa makes for a really dark brownie with a smooth, rich chocolate flavor. Honestly, each time I make this recipe with Dutch-process cocoa powder, I am reminded a little of boxed gluten-filled brownie mixes. The texture and color are very similar. (I think the flavor is better, but that might just be my homemade-bias.) When made with natural cocoa powder, the color of the brownies will be lighter—they almost resemble milk chocolate—and the flavor will be a bit less intense. Since both cocoa powders work and produce really great results, I just use whatever I have on hand.

* Well, I love all the ones I can eat. I'm nut allergic and gluten-free. As long as I can eat the brownie safely, please pass it along!

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Get the recipe: Classic Brownies

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