When I started baking, one of the first things I learnt to do was make my dad, a coeliac, gluten-free chocolate brownies. The last time I went home, halfway through telling me off about something else, my dad suddenly exclaimed that the last 3 times I’d visited there had been no brownies! So I made it a priority that the next time I went my dad would get a literal tin-full… and he ate them. These brownies were made with doves farm gluten-free flour, substituted in just as I would use normal flour. I think they tasted just the same, so if you’re not a coeliac you could probably use much cheaper gluten-rich flour, although I hear gluten-free is all the rage so who knows? I ran a salted caramel sauce through them, and studded them with toasted pecans.
For the brownies
200g dark chocolate (>70% cocoa solids ideally)
100g milk chocolate
250g unsalted butter
250g light brown soft sugar
4 large eggs
140g (gluten-free) plain flour
50g cocoa powder
For the salted caramel
50g light brown sugar
20g unsalted butter
25ml double cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. There are several preparatory steps to this bake before you get really stuck in with all the chocolate. The first, and possibly the most important is to line a square baking tin with butter and a light dusting of flour.
2. Heat the oven to 200•C. Place the pecans on a roasting tray and cook in the oven for ~ 5 minutes. By roasting the nuts slightly, you release a little of the oil and get a richer, nuttier taste. However, watch them as nobody likes burnt nuts. Nobody.
3. To make the salted caramel sauce, place the butter and sugar in a pan over medium to high heat. Stir until the butter has melted and all the sugar has dissolved. It should be a nice golden colour. Tip in the double cream and salt and keep stirring until nice and glossy. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
4. Hopefully the pecans have now cooled, and you can chop them into rough chunks.
5. To make the brownies themselves, start by breaking the dark chocolate and milk chocolate into chunks. Along with the butter, melt these chocolate chunks in a pan over a low heat. Once it is all melted, remove from the heat and leave to cool so not super hot.
6. Once the chocolate mix has cooled a little, beat in the eggs one at a time. You should now have a shiny liquid chocolate mix.
7. Mix in the cocoa powder, with the flour. Gently sift them both into the chocolate and fold in with figure of eight movements. Be careful not to get any dry flour left at the bottom of the bowl. I don’t normally insist on sieving, in fact I normally dislike doing it with a passion, but this time I really think you should.
8. Next fold in the pecans.
9. Preheat the oven to 180•C.
10. Spoon about a quarter of the brownie mix into the bottom of the prepared cake tin. Then spoon some half of the salted caramel over the top. I then marbled mine through using a cake poker (I’m not sure what the technical term is for one of those), however, you can arrange yours how you like. Then spoon on some more brownie mix and repeat, etc.
11. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. You should take it out when it’s a little goo-ey in the middle, but got a nice crisp top.