Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fudgy Walnut Brownies that just happen to be Gluten-Free

Andrew and I watch a fair number of cooking shows on TV.  In the baking category, we’re tuned into “Cupcake Wars” and “Unique Sweets”.  For quite a while now, we’ve scoffed, more than saluted, the number of bakers who turn out Gluten-Free items. We simply could not imagine anything Gluten-Free matching up to the sheer decadence of Baked’s Brownies (
or Lisa Yokelson’s “Dark Shadows” (, both of which are outstandingly rich and irresistible.  But, as readers of Chewing the Fat know, we’ve got more than one friend who didn’t just choose to be Gluten-Free, she had to be.  So when Andrew volunteered to bring dessert to a recent party, he pulled out all the stops to find a truly fudgy, nutty brownie that could pass Gluten-Free muster.  And boy, did he succeed.

The recipe for these Fudgy Nut Brownies came from Martha Stewart’s “Everyday Food”.  The Reader’s Digest-sized magazine disappeared as a free-standing publication earlier this year.  It’s been folded into “Martha Stewart Living” and I doubt that many people miss it.   The thing about “Everyday Food” was precisely that it was so everyday.  I don’t know about you, but I go to food magazines and cookbooks to find fresh ways of cooking the familar, not familiar ways of cooking the same old thing.  Despite the fact that we subscribed to “Everyday Food” since we started “Chewing the Fat”, only one recipe has earned so much as a mention here. And then, only after we’d merged it to another magazine’s recipe.  But to paraphrase Julia Child, ‘a cookbook is only as good as its worst recipe’, if only Everyday Food was always as good as this recipe.  The magic here is replacing wheat flour with cornstarch.  As Andrew pointed out, truly fudgy brownies don't contain all that much flour to begin with--think Flourless Chocolate Cake and you're in the same ball park.   The original called for pecans.  Andrew substituted walnuts.  You can choose between the two or, for that matter, go with whatever nut you fancy.   Here's the recipe:

Recipe for Gluten-Free Fudgy Pecan Brownies from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food
Prep Time: 20 Minutes. Total Time: 50 minutes plus cooling. 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 chopped toasted pecans or walnuts. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper,leaving a   2-inch overhang on all sides. 
Whisk together cornstarch, cocoa, cinnamon, salt. 
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. Add cornstarch mixture and stir vigorously until mixture is smooth and begins to pull away from side of bowl, about 2 minutes. Stir in walnuts or 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.


  1. The brownies look delicious. I will be baking these for Father's Day.

    I agree with you about Martha's Every Day Cooking. I got it for a year and didn't want it any longer but I got one recipe from it that I have passed along to several people including you. Her Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Casserole is tasty, inexpensive and easy to prepare. So you never know where you find that great recipe that will become a keeper.

    1. Lauren, I agree the Chicken Leek and Mushroom casserole was a great warmer-upper. I would have posted it but unfortunately, it didn't photograph terribly well...although that might be laid at the feet of the photographer, Moi.


  2. So glad this one photographs well! Not that I need any excuse for Chocolate, but add the cinnamon? Whoa! I am wasting time typing and need to go hit my pantry! Thank you Monte, I will swim an extra lap, no worries!

    1. Super, Ana. I thought of you when I was writing and hoped you'd like it. All best, Monte

  3. Hey I know a photographer that would love to shoot all of your pictures for the blog... all we need is a budget..!
    Seriously though, I want to commend you on the personal voice you lend to your blog. The stories and personal touch invites reader into the recipe section. I like reading the pieces and eating the dishes..
    Good job Monte.
    All the best,

    1. Thank you so much Trace! As a fellow blogger, you know how much it means to hear such kind words. We do try and make things interesting and not just a recipe! All best to you, Monte