Monday, April 29, 2013

My Quest for the Best GF Brownie Recipe

All right you guys, by this point it is not a secret that I love to bake and that I get frequent cravings for chocolate.  I wanted to find the very best recipe for GF brownies.  I tried one recipe a couple weeks ago, really liked them and blogged about it here.  They were really good, but I didn't want to just settle.  I wanted to be sure they were going to be the very best.  I got busy on Pinterest and went through all the different recipes I had pinned for GF brownies and found 4 from there to try, 1 from PaleoOMG  and 2 that I tried from a brownie cookbook I have.  That's right, I baked 7 different batches of brownie in 2 days.  My hubby said I was overboard and crazy.  He's probably right, a little, but I think that if you're going to find the best, you gotta really try!  I wasn't about to do this halfway.  Trust me, I thought about doing even more!  I mean, I cut some recipes out!  So, I hit the grocery store for more eggs, chocolate, cocoa, butter and coconut oil and started my baking on Friday.  I got 5 done then, and the other 2 done Saturday.  I took batches 1-3 to hubby's work Saturday to try and 4-6 on Sunday.  The kids and I tried all 6 on Saturday and couple girlfriends tried them all Monday morning over coffee.  I wanted to get different opinions and the most honest.  You can't get more honest than with kids, crew chiefs, moms and a picky husband!  So here's the scoop!
 My kitchen took a beating those couple days and I washed and rewashed many dishes, but it was well worth it!

 Weighing my chocolate, pouring in the melted chocolate.  I just got those silicone prep bowls from Pampered Chef and they are amazing!  I used them a ton during this process! 

 Whisking my eggs and sugar for the flourless brownies and melting chocolate on the stove in my double boiler.  So much chocolate...
Here are the testers!

Let the count down begin! 
I have to admit, that none of them were too terribly awful...
#7 Sea Salt Caramel Brownies from Gluten Free Fix
I was really excited to try these.  I didn't make the caramel topping, just the Perfect GF Brownie recipe.  They looked and sounded so good, but they did not turn out well at all!  I don't know if it was me or what.  I went to get them out when the timer beeped and they had baked/bubbled up to almost be overflowing from the pan and were liquid still.  I checked again after 5 minutes and they were a flat pancake.  Now, they didn't taste bad, but I couldn't cut them out of the pan or anything.  So they got put in the trash.  They just wouldn't stay together.  Maybe I'll try them again another time...

#6   Sweet Potato Brownies from PaleoOMG
I thought these would be something fun to try.  They had almost a soft fudge or pudding cake like texture.  It was like eating a chocolate pumpkin pie almost.  I think it was the softness of them over the taste that people didn't care for as much.

#5  GF Double Chocolate Brownie from Jeanette's Healthy Living
After the previous 3 batches, this batter was the most "normal" looking brownie batter.  It was a little thicker then the others.  Now to me, these were like fudge!  They were thick, rich and chocolatey!  These had a couple surprise ingredients in them, applesauce and flaxseed meal (soaked in water) added to the batter, along with the coconut oil, brown sugar instead of white and a mixture of coconut flour and GF All-Purpose Flour.  For the APF I used this recipe, so since it already had the xanthan gum in it, I didn't add any more.

#4  Almond Flour Brownies from Grain Free Foodies
These came in 4th for most, but I did have a couple that liked these as #2.  These were much more of a cake like brownie.  (More cake then brownie if you ask me.)  They had all almond flour, honey and coconut oil.  These could totally count as Paleo!  I think these would be killer as a cake with a great caramel over the top.  Yum!

#3  Flourless-Yet-Fudgy Brownie from Brownies by Linda Collister
Even though these can in 3rd, they were delicious!  I would make these again in a heartbeat!  They were super light in texture, rich and fudgy.  Very Good!
10 oz good bittersweet chocolate, broken up
1 1/3 sticks butter, diced
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350.  Put chocolate and butter in a double boiler and melt gently, stirring frequently.  Remove top bowl from the saucepan and stir in cocoa.  Set aside.
Put the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat, add the sugar and whisk thoroughly until very light and frothy and doubled in volume.
Using a metal spoon, carefully fold in the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture.  Transfer to a lined, greased 8x10 pan and spread evenly.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the top of the brownie is just firm to the touch but the center is still slightly soft.

#2  Making Classic Brownies from Brownies by Linda Collister
This was a basic regular brownie recipe.  The only thing I did was substitute the All-Purpose wheat flour for GF All-Purpose Flour.  I blogged about my trial with this flour recipe here.  These were good, sweeter then the others I think because of having a little bit more sugar than the other recipes.  They did seem to go stale a little faster, I don't know if that was the flour or what.  Either way they were really good and turned out great!  These were my kids favorite and a definite close 2nd.
3 1/2 oz. good bittersweet chocolate
9 T butter. softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2/3 cup flour
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 oz. good bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped or chocolate chips
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler, gently, stirring frequently.  Remove bowl from pan and leave to cool until needed.
Put the butter in a mixer and beat until soft and creamy.  Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in chocolate.
Sift flour and cocoa onto the mixture and stir in.  When thoroughly combined, stir in remaining chocolate.  Transfer to a lined, greased 8x10 pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.

#1  Ghirardelli Gluten Free Brownies from Dying for Chocolate
This is the recipe that I had tried before and blogged about a couple weeks ago here.  This was far and away the #1 winner of all the brownies from all types of taste testers, including me!  It just has the best balance of sweetness and brownie texture.  It is a fairly basic recipe.  It uses 2 parts almond flour to 1 part brown rice flour.  I am not even ashamed to tell you that this afternoon I ate the remaining of these brownies heated with peanut butter and chocolate chips with a big ole' cup of coffee!  It made me so full, I didn't even want dinner tonight, but I think it was worth it.  So, if you are looking for a great GF brownie recipe that Gluten Free-ers and nots will all like, this is the one for you!  So good!  And take my advice...  heat it up with some peanut butter too!