Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gluten-Free Fudgy Pecan Brownies

Well folks, tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  Have you been cooking and baking up a storm today?  I have.  Literally.  There is a snow storm going on like crazy today.  We had about 7 inches last I checked.  This has meant I am basically home-bound by myself (Mark is working); I did make one attempt to buy a few last-minute ingredients and got stuck in the parking lot for a few minutes, so that wasn't the best idea.  What else is there to do but bake?!  I have made 3 new recipes for tomorrow (stay tuned!), which will be my first Thanksgiving as married woman and also my first without my family.  It's a little weird to think of it.  I am excited to go to my in-laws' Thanksgiving, but I will definitely miss my mom and sisters.  Of course, it meant that I had to spend hours researching recipes to make sure that I would impress everyone with what I brought to dinner :)

What are you bringing to your Thanksgiving?  I am always assigned desserts, and this year is the same.  I made so many lists of possibilities, crossing things out and adding in new recipes and swapping others... and finally I think I have settled on my final 3 (maybe 4... we'll see how I feel tomorrow morning!) sweets.

If you happen to still be panicking about what you're going to bring, and, like many families in this day and age, someone at your dinner is gluten-free, then consider this your gentle push to make these brownies.  I made them a few weeks ago for a dinner at Mark's parents'.  His sister and Kaz were going to be there, and so I knew I wanted to make a gluten-free dessert for Kaz to try.  I searched around the internet for a recipe with no super bizarre ingredients; I didn't feel like running to the store for xantham gum or almond meal.  Voila: the weirdest thing in this recipe is cornstarch.  I had everything I needed in the cabinets, so I got started on them right away.  And I was finished right away too.  These guys are quick and easy to throw together.

I don't know why we haven't seen more gluten-free recipes where flour is replaced by cornstarch.  It's genius.  I need to try this strategy out some more.  Obviously, the end results were awesome, fudgy, chocolatey brownies studded with pecans (which you could always leave out for nut allergies!).  I made Mark taste test them before we left and he was surprised they were gluten-free.  Everyone at the  Ajemians agreed that they were pretty delicious and tasted just regular old wonderful brownies!  Score!

Do yourselves (and your gluten-free relatives) a favor, and try these out for tomorrow.  Dani? Maggie? Kaz? Susie and Andrea by default? I'm talking to you :)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  I am thankful for you.


gluten-free fudge pecan brownies
from Martha Stewart
makes 16 brownies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
1/3 cup cornstarch, spooned and leveled
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup toasted pecans


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line wit parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.  Whisk together cornstarch, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt.

2)  In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter and chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Stir in sugar and vanilla.  Stir in eggs, one at a time, until combined.

3) Add cornstarch mixture and stir vigorously until mixture is smooth and begins to pull away from side of bowl, about 2 minutes.  Stir in pecans.  Pour batter into pan and smooth top.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.  Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Using paper overhang, lift cake out of pan and cut into 16 squares.

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