brownies

Bready or Not Guest: Spencer Ellsworth with Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, brownies, chocolate, gluten-free, guest, guest recipe, healthier | 0 comments

I’m happy to welcome Spencer Ellsworth with a Bready or Not guest post! His debut novel is out today. I was lucky enough to read A Red Peace a few months ago, and blurbed it: “This is space opera candy!” Seriously, if you love space opera, GET THIS. It’s fresh and fun, mixing up cozy tropes in fantastic new ways.

Which is pretty much what Spencer does with this recipe today, too. He shares a recipe for gluten-free brownies that look absolutely delicious. I bet they’d be perfect to eat in accompaniment with a brand new space opera novel…


I’m Spencer, and I have two big things in common with Beth: we both like to write a good swashbuckling adventure (here’s mine) and we both like to bake.

Unlike Beth, I have celiac disease, which means, although I bake all the time, I use gluten-free flours. I was diagnosed way back in the dark ages of 1985. I did all of elementary school in the 1980s gluten free. Let us all turn and salute my mother, who had to bake “special cupcakes” every time someone else in the class had a birthday and brought in gluten cupcakes.

*Salutes Mom*

Ahem.

Celiac disease is, like Crohn’s, arthritis and lupus, an autoimmune disease. Our immune systems, upon consumption of gluten, attack and inflame our intestinal lining, preventing the absorption of any food. Because autoimmune disease is on a spectrum, people often have reactions to gluten that are tricky to diagnose without an endoscopy or colonoscopy.

There are two great lies about gluten-free food

1) you can just substitute GF flour mix in most recipes

2) gluten-free food just doesn’t taste as good

1 isn’t true because different proteins act differently in different grains. Gluten-free flours are not sticky like wheat. You don’t need to knead any gluten-free bread product; you just need to mix the dough and let it rise. You may find certain GF flours, like sorghum or millet or brown rice, less palatable than wheat. But most celiacs can find a preferred flour mix.

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

This picture shows plain rice flour (the fine-textured flour), a gluten-free mix, and a gluten-free pancake mix (the one with dark specks).

However, that leads me to…

2 isn’t true because there are a LOT of celiacs out there making a LOT of amazing food. But you do have to do some baking on your own. The best gluten-free food is made at home, with patience. Commercial kitchens can’t take the time and ingredients necessary.

So if you’re new to GF baking, here’s an un-ruinable recipe to start. Peruse Gluten-Free & More (formerly known as Living Without) for anything else you need, or just contact me through my website.

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

 

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

These are totally un-ruinable because they can be made with just about any gluten-free flour, flour mix, or pancake mix. They will have a slightly different consistency depending on the flour, but they work with anything from plain rice flour to Pamela’s pancake mix.

Your celiac friends will appreciate the attempt to make real brownies, rather than those flourless peanut butter cookies or rice krispie treats we ALWAYS get.

Make sure to clean ALL your work surfaces very well first. All counters and bowls should be scrubbed clear of any trace of gluten. Use non-porous materials like Teflon or glass. Make sure they are scrubbed completely clean of every last scrap of anything that ever contained gluten. (Even better, use the excuse to treat yourself to a new dish and new mixing bowl.)

4 eggs
1 cup sugar (add more to taste, especially if not using chocolate chips)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup cocoa powder (I much prefer the darker, richer Ghiradelli’s over the chalky Hershey’s)
1/2 cup butter, margarine or coconut oil
1/2 mushy avocado (this is weird, but it makes the whole endeavor much fluffier)
1 cup of any gluten-free flour, baking mix or pancake mix
2 tsp baking powder (if not already included in your mix)
Chocolate chips & nuts to taste

Set oven to 350.

Beat the eggs with the sugar and avocados.
Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Melt the butter or oil in a saucepan or microwave-safe dish, and add the cocoa powder and beat until smooth.

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Allow the butter/cocoa powder mix to cool a bit, then mix into eggs, sugar and avocado.

Mix your flour in with the rest. Add baking powder if you simply have a basic flour mix.

Pour into a greased baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes on 350.

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Bready or Not Guest: Spencer Ellsworth's Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

Un-Ruinable Gluten Free Brownies

These are totally un-ruinable because they can be made with just about any gluten-free flour, flour mix, or pancake mix. They will have a slightly different consistency depending on the flour, but they work with anything from plain rice flour to Pamela’s pancake mix.

Your celiac friends will appreciate the attempt to make real brownies, rather than those flourless peanut butter cookies or rice krispie treats we ALWAYS get.

Make sure to clean ALL your work surfaces very well first. All counters and bowls should be scrubbed clear of any trace of gluten. Use non-porous materials like Teflon or glass. Make sure they are scrubbed completely clean of every last scrap of anything that ever contained gluten. (Even better, use the excuse to treat yourself to a new dish and new mixing bowl.)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (add more to taste, especially if not using chocolate chips)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder (I much prefer the darker, richer Ghiradelli’s over the chalky Hershey’s)
  • 1/2 cup butter, margarine or coconut oil
  • 1/2 mushy avocado (this is weird, but it makes the whole endeavor much fluffier)
  • 1 cup of any gluten-free flour, baking mix or pancake mix
  • 2 tsp baking powder (if not already included in your mix)
  • Chocolate chips & nuts to taste

Set oven to 350.

Beat the eggs with the sugar and avocado.

Melt the butter or oil in a saucepan or microwave-safe dish, and add the cocoa powder and beat until smooth.

Allow the butter/cocoa powder mix to cool a bit, then mix into eggs, sugar and avocado.

Mix your flour in with the rest. Add baking powder if you simply have a basic flour mix.

Pour into a greased baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes on 350.

 


Red Peace

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Spencer Elsworth’s Site

A Red Peace, first in Spencer Ellsworth’s Starfire trilogy, is an action-packed space opera in a universe where the oppressed half-Jorian crosses have risen up to supplant humanity and dominate the galaxy.

Half-human star navigator Jaqi, working the edges of human-settled space on contract to whoever will hire her, stumbles into possession of an artifact that the leader of the Rebellion wants desperately enough to send his personal guard after. An interstellar empire and the fate of the remnant of humanity hang in the balance.

Spencer Ellsworth has written a classic space opera, with space battles between giant bugs, sun-sized spiders, planets of cyborgs and a heroine with enough grit to bring down the galaxy’s newest warlord.

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Bready or Not: Cadbury Egg Brownies

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, brownies, chocolate | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Cadbury Egg Brownies

Three years ago, I shared my recipe for Cadbury Egg Brownies. Today we revisit that glorious recipe–and double it.

Bready or Not: Cadbury Egg Brownies

Because it obviously didn’t deliver enough sweetness the first time around, right?

Bready or Not: Cadbury Egg Brownies

Here’s the thing about these brownies: they taste like Cadbury Eggs, but BETTER. That’s because they aren’t as cloying sweet. The brownie layer balances things out in a magical way.

Bready or Not: Cadbury Egg Brownies

This is a time-consuming recipe because of the layers and the refrigeration time involved, but it’s not hard. The first stage is the only one that requires baking.

Bready or Not: Cadbury Egg Brownies

I will forever be amazed at how the cream filling layer turns out, too. It’s eerily like the non-runny portion of the Cadbury Egg filling. But you make it yourself. It boggles the mind.

Even better, these brownies will keep as long as a week if sealed and kept in the fridge. Trust me, there is NOTHING healthy about these. You want to make these to share with a crowd!

Bready or Not: Cadbury Egg Brownies

I’ve modified this a good bit, but I must give credit to the original recipe from Love and Oil. They shared something amazing.

Bready or Not: Cadbury Egg Brownies

Bready or Not: Cadbury Egg Brownies

These Cadbury Egg Brownies taste like the candy, but better, as the brownie base balances with the acute sweetness of the top layers. This recipe produces a full 13×9 pan of goodness; make this to share with a crowd!

  • For Brownies:
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For Cream Filling:
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons (half stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • yellow food coloring
  • For Glaze:
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (half stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Brownie stage

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, making sure to overlap the sides to create handles. Cover with nonstick spray.

Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt (and espresso powder, if using) in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler or in slow increments in microwave. Stir until smooth. Whisk in sugars and stir until dissolved and mixture has cooled slightly, then add eggs and vanilla extract until just combined.

Fold together the chocolate and flour mixes until just incorporated. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Cream filling stage

Beat together corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt on medium-high speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar, a little bit at a time, mixing until creamy.

Dump 3/4 of the cream mixture on top of cooled brownies and spread into an even layer. Add a drop of yellow food coloring to remaining cream mixture and stir until evenly colored. Drop dollops of yellow cream on top of white layer, and then swirl gently with a spatula. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set.

Glaze stage

Slowly melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler or microwave bowl. Stir until smooth. Pour over cream filling, carefully spreading into a thin, even layer.

Chill in the fridge long enough for the chocolate to not quite harden, 15-20 minutes, OR let it chill for several hours and then let set at room temperature for about 15 minutes. The chocolate needs to be soft enough to cut through without cracking, but not soft enough to smear with each cut.

Use the foil/paper to lift the entire block out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Using a large sharp knife, cut into 2-inch squares. Keep in sealed container in fridge; brownies will keep upward of a week.

OM NOM NOM!

Bready or Not: Cadbury Egg Brownies

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Bready or Not: Chili Spice Chocolate Brownies

Posted by on Mar 8, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, brownies, chocolate | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Chili Spice Chocolate Brownies

This recipe, originally posted at the Holy Taco Church, adds a kick to regular ol’ brownies.

Chili Spice Chocolate Brownies

If you’ve browsed the candy aisles of late, you noticed that gourmet chocolate bars are all the rage. Take advantage of this when it comes to baked goods. Flavored chocolate adds an extra level of nuance to brownies and cookies.

Chili Spice Chocolate Brownies

For these Chili Spice Chocolate Brownies, I chopped up a combo of Green & Black Spiced Chili Chocolate and World Market’s Dark Chocolate Chipotle, but any type of amped-up chocolate will work here.

Chili Spice Chocolate Brownies

Note that I can’t handle really hot stuff–hello, burning skin and inability to breathe and feeling like a taun-taun kicked me in the intestines–but these brownies aren’t spicy in THAT way. There’s an occasional zing of chili here and there, but the main flavor is of the cinnamon and the milder chocolate.

Chili Spice Chocolate Brownies

Modified from Cinnamon-Spiced Chocolate Brownies at King Arthur Flour.

Bready or Not: Chili Spice Chocolate Brownies

Chili Spice Chocolate Brownies

These Chili Spice Brownies are modified from a King Arthur Flour recipe. Use gourmet spiced chocolate bars to create brownies with a special kick!

  • 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups baking cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 3-ounce spiced chocolate bars, such as chipotle or chili, chopped
  • 6 ounces milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • [toggle the chocolates to be more or less spicy based on your tastes, but equal 12 ounces total]

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and grease the surface.

In a medium-sized saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar. Stir to combine. Heat the mixture briefly, just until it's hot throughout; it'll become shiny as you stir it. Set on a cool burner or trivet.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth. Add the flour, again stirring until smooth. Fold in the chopped spicy chocolate and mild chocolate.

Spoon the batter into the pan, spreading it to the edges. It will be extremely thick and lava-like.

Bake the brownies for 34 to 36 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and just barely set in the center.

Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Chili Spice Chocolate Brownies

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Bready or Not: Biscoff-Nutella Ecstasy Bars

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in biscoff spread, Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, brownies, chocolate | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Biscoff-Nutella Ecstasy Bars

Last week I shared Peanut Butter Ecstasy Bars. This week I switch out the peanut butter for a version that tastes even better.

Bready or Not: Biscoff-Nutella Ecstasy Bars

The top and bottom layers use cookie butter (Biscoff, Speculoos, whichever!) while the middle layer uses just a touch of Nutella. That combination is luscious. Cookie dough and chocolate. Guh.

Bready or Not: Biscoff-Nutella Ecstasy Bars

I mentioned before that the peanut butter version can be crumbly, especially the edge pieces. Well, this new variation is even messier. Karmic balance for the extra deliciousness, right? The middle pieces were a touch gooey, even as the edge pieces pretty much shattered as they were cut.

Bready or Not: Biscoff-Nutella Ecstasy Bars

That’s not a bad thing here, though. These pieces are delicious. Lap them up. Save them to top ice cream or yogurt. Just please, don’t let them go to waste.

Bready or Not: Biscoff-Nutella Ecstasy Bars

Mind you, they’ll also go to your waist, but that’s a totally separate dilemma.

Bready or Not: Biscoff-Nutella Ecstasy Bars

Bready or Not: Biscoff-Nutella Ecstasy Bars

This variation of my Peanut Butter Ecstasy Bars uses Biscoff or Speculoos for the crust and Nutella in the filling for a fantastic cookie dough-chocolate combination. They might be crumbly and messy (especially the edges), but you’ll want to gobble up every morsel.

  • Crust:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff or Speculoos Cookie Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Filling:
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutella or similar chocolate spread
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil and apply nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, mix butter, cookie butter, and sugar. Add the vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour. Set aside about 1 cup of the dough, and firmly press the rest into the prepared pan.

Using the same bowl, make the filling. Beat together the eggs, Nutella, and two sugars. Spread this over the unbaked crust. Sprinkle the reserved dough over the top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the dough it set and golden. Cool completely in pan. Slice into bars. The bars may be crumbly, especially the edge pieces, but every bit is delicious. Keeps for at least 3 days in a sealed container.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Biscoff-Nutella Ecstasy Bars

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Bready or Not: Oreo and Caramel Cake Batter Brownies

Posted by on Jun 15, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, brownies, cake mix, chocolate, oreo | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Oreo and Caramel Cake Batter Brownies

If you need a fast chocolate fix, I have the recipe for you.

Bready or Not: Oreo and Caramel Cake Batter Brownies

This uses cake mix as a base for decadent brownies. If you don’t have caramels, chop up some candy bars. Use full-size Oreos or break up some other kind of cookies. Just let caramel and chocolate, in some form, get cozy.

Bready or Not: Oreo and Caramel Cake Batter Brownies

After you combine everything, this bakes up in about 20 minutes. It smells like heaven, too. A heaven oozing with chocolate.

Bready or Not: Oreo and Caramel Cake Batter Brownies

These bars end up chewy and mild. If you want deeper flavor, use dark chocolate.

Bready or Not: Oreo and Caramel Cake Batter Brownies

This is a Bready or Not Original, too. I modified it from my Golden Oreo Cake Batter Blondies.

Bready or Not: Oreo and Caramel Cake Batter Brownies

Bready or Not: Oreo and Caramel Cake Batter Brownies

Use cake mix as a base to create quick, chewy brownies! Customize with whatever chocolate or candy you have handy, but you can’t go wrong with caramel and Oreos. A Bready or Not Original.

  • 1 box devil's food cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional but awesome
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk or half & half
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bag Caramel Bits or chopped caramel, about 5 ounces
  • 1 8-ounce bag Mini Oreos (or chopped Oreos), some reserved for top

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with foil and apply nonstick spray or butter.

Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl. Add egg and milk. Fold in the chocolate chips, caramel pieces, and Mini Oreos.

Pour into prepared baking pan. Add the reserved Oreos on top. Bake for 20 minutes, or it until passes the toothpick test.

Allow to set for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Oreo and Caramel Cake Batter Brownies

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Bready or Not: Baileys Irish Coffee Creamer Chocolate Mini Muffins

Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, brownies, cake mix, chocolate, muffin | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Baileys Irish Coffee Creamer Chocolate Mini Muffins

I’m not ashamed to use cake mix every now and then. It’s fast. It can make delicious things. In this case, about 70 delicious things.

Bready or Not: Baileys Irish Coffee Creamer Chocolate Mini Muffins

I doctored this recipe to use nonalcoholic refrigerated Baileys Coffee Creamer instead of the hard stuff, and I also adapted it for mini muffins. Loads of them.

Bready or Not: Baileys Irish Coffee Creamer Chocolate Mini Muffins

These are bite-sized dollops of chocolate: chocolate cake dappled with chocolate chips, with the added smoothness of Baileys. Plus, it’s fast to whip up, especially if you have more than one mini muffin pan!

Bready or Not: Baileys Irish Coffee Creamer Chocolate Mini Muffins

Since I bought a large container of coffee creamer (hey, it was a good sale, and I needed St. Patrick’s recipes, so…), you’ll see more recipes with Baileys featured the next two weeks as well!

Modified from Couponing & Cooking.

Bready or Not: Baileys Irish Coffee Creamer Chocolate Mini Muffins

Bready or Not: Baileys Irish Coffee Creamer Chocolate Mini Muffins

This shortcut recipe uses chocolate cake mix to churn out about 70 brownie-like mini muffins! Sure, you could use the hard Baileys in this, but nonalcoholic Baileys Coffee Creamer makes this kid and workplace friendly–and a LOT cheaper.

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Baileys Irish Coffee Creamer (nonalcoholic)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (+ additional for top, if desired)

Prep your mini muffin pans(s) by placing liners and dousing with nonstick spray. Note that the recipe makes about 70 mini muffins. Preheat the oven at 350-degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, eggs, oil, and Baileys Creamer. Once that's mixed to show no clumps, add the chocolate chips. The batter will be a little runny.

A teaspoon scoop makes it easy to dole out batter into the liners--but don't fill to the top! They will grow as they bake. Top with a few extra chocolate chips, if desired.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are springy and the innermost muffins pass the toothpick test. Use a fork to pop them out and onto a rack to cool.

Store in a sealed container in the fridge or at room temperature.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Baileys Irish Coffee Creamer Chocolate Mini Muffins

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