My friend Heather, in San Francisco, is a fantastic cook. I take any cooking advice from her as fact. When she recommended a recipe for the BEST BROWNIES EVER, I did not take it lightly. I decided to put her hyperbole to the test and try a gluten-free version for my next party. This was an interesting gluten-free baking experiment because there were so many new factors – I was trying a new recipe, a new gluten-free flour mix and a new cooking technique – The Baker’s Edge pan. I usually stick to one new element for my cooking experiments, but fate smiled upon me and despite all of the previously untried factors the brownies lived up to Heather’s declaration as the best (gluten-free) brownies ever.
I highly recommend the Baker's Edge pan. I first discovered it when I was experimenting with a gluten-free version of David Lebovitz's Fruit and Nut Bar recipe. I worried that it would be difficult to get the brownies out of the pan or to clean up afterwards, but it really worked like a dream. It's a bit of a luxury, but how many luxurious things in today's world cost less than $40?
The Best Gluten-Free Brownies Recipe (adapted from the Tartine Bakery Recipe)
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 pound gluten-free bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix (I used Deby’s Gluten-Free flour mix – made with rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, salt, and xanthan gum)
5 large eggs plus 1 egg white
2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13 inch glass baking dish.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and add the melted butter. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Sift the flour into a small mixing bowl. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface, 4 to 5 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with the rubber spatula so that you don't deflate the air that's been incorporated into the eggs.
Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with the spatula.
Bake until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Using a sharp knife, cut into squares. The brownies will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week. Though I can't imagine them sitting around for that long - they are just that good.
You can't use a cake tester or toothpick to judge doneness. Because the batter has a high percentage of chocolate, the tester comes out wet even if the brownies are done. But look at that gooey chocolate goodness!