Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Brownies

by Jenn on November 3, 2010

in Desserts,Gluten Free

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies

I don’t like chocolate cake.  I mean it’s O.K., but my mother taught me very well (perhaps too well), that if you are going to give something a name involving the word chocolate, it better darn well actually taste like chocolate.  And this is my eternal problem with chocolate cake.  It’s dark, it can be rich with the right ganache or mousse filling, but is the cake itself that chocolatey?  Do you feel like a cake is merely a transformation of pure chocolate into fluffy cake form?  Maybe I just haven’t tried enough chocolate cakes before, but I have yet to find a plain cake that actually tastes like a chocolate bar.

My husband, however, loves chocolate cake.  I created for him a gluten free cake recipe that even he could make back then, when the man would stress out over making a simple casserole dinner for himself – and for the 5 minutes it took to cook in the microwave (we really have come a long way since then, haven’t we?), it was pretty darned awesome.  I think he made that “cake” once a week, haha.  You see, for a while during grad school (almost 2 yrs), we were stuck living 1000 miles apart from each other, and it totally sucked.  Our wedding festivities and honeymoon were a welcome month-long reprieve during the middle of this time apart, after which we had to go back to the infrequent once every couple of month trips to see each other until we were both ready to defend.  Talk about stress-inducing, to be brand new newlyweds and not even be able to spend time with each other during most of our newlywed phase.  We’ve both decided to never ever be in that situation again.

Actually, being here in Switzerland is really our first time living together in our own place since we’ve been married – maybe that’s another contributing reason to why this whole experience has been so magically surreal for us over the past year.  Or, maybe it’s the landscape.  Every day I look out over the lake struck in awe at the fact that I live in such a fantastically beautiful place.  And then the sun starts to set and the colors come alive, as if on fire…

Sunset on Lake Geneva

Sunset on Lake Geneva

Sunset on Lake Geneva

I think over our time living together en Suisse, my husband has transformed his taste for chocolate a bit though, and has come over to my side – the dark, rich and intense side of chocolate.  Maybe that’s because he pretty much eats anything I make 😉

You see, when it comes to chocolate desserts, I tend to be attracted to those things where the chocolate flavor is exploding in your mouth with each bite.  Flourless torte, soufflé, tapioca pudding, risotto, or my parents’ chocolate pudding cake, which is almost like a fondant in the way the molten chocolate envelops the cake, letting it soak up the deliciously dark syrupy pudding.  Oh man is that stuff awesome, and then the chocolate literally is oozing out from all sides (remind me to make that for y’all sometime).  But anyways, if I’m going to make a dessert where chocolate is the main subject instead of just a little punctuation, then I like my desserts rich. Intense.  So that there is no mistaking it is the chocolate who is making the statement.  What can I say? My mother is a superb teacher :)

The days since I have eaten a brownie can be counted in years.  I think it was my 2nd year in grad school that I had last made them, trying out a recipe on the back of a packaged gluten free mix, sadly disappointed to find that they came out more like cake than brownies.  Were they chocolately? Well they were chocolate in color at least, but the flavor was sorely lacking.  In fact, they tasted exactly like every chocolate cake I have ever been let down by.  There was nothing “brownie” about them besides the name on the package, and I hate to say it, but it ruined my desire for making gluten free brownies for a long time.

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies

And then last week, for some reason I decided I needed to give brownies another go and end my multiple year-long hiatus from this humble baked dessert.  I would make them from scratch this time though, and I went to my favorite cookbook (i.e. the internet and my blogroll) and found this gluten free brownie recipe by Karina of the Gluten Free Goddess.  It  looked perfectly fudgey. Afterall, there was only 1/4 cup of flour in the recipe!

The first time, I made them *almost* exactly according to the directions.  The brownies rocked.  Exactly what I wanted for my chocolate fix.  The 2nd time, I played a bit.  The 3rd time, which will be later this week, I will have converted them to completely grain free, essentially flourless (I don’t really count a nut-meal as flour).  I have no issues with grains and as long as the grains are gluten free, neither does my husband.  But I just wanted to know if taking out that flour component and replacing it with something else could make them richer.  Denser.  Chocolate-ier (I know that’s not a real word, but “more chocolatey” didn’t flow as well and “chocolatier” was already taken by a different definition).

Teaser – I think my adaptions worked :)

Stay tuned!


Rosa November 3, 2010 at 10:23 am

Wonderful brownies and awesome shots of Lake Léman and the mountains.



Jenn November 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Thanks Rosa!

GlutenFreeMrsD November 3, 2010 at 10:55 am

I love the shots of Lake Leman, they brought back memories of a great trip we had there last year. Brownies look absolutely delish. I will check back later for the grain free / 3rd version later this week.

Jenn November 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Thanks!! The completely grain free version is in the oven right now :)

Deanna November 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Oh you tease you!

Jenn November 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm

haha :)

Valerie @ City | Life | Eats November 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm

These look fantastic. Can’t wait to see the recipe. I too am moving closer to grain-free towards more nut-based recipes, usually for more variety.

For much of our dating and most of the two first years of marriage, I was in NYC and my husband was in Washington, DC. While it was not as far as you experienced, the last two years have been truly nice to be in one city.

And yes, Lac Léman is truly magical. I am actually visiting my parents right now near Morges and today is just lovely. Incidentally, I went to the health food store Andre Dumas in Morges. I don’t know how recently you have been there – I have not been since early February and it seems to me their gluten-free selection has increased – I saw gluten-free muesli and pastas I had not seen last time for example, and buckwheat groats which I had also not seen last time. The owner also told me they get fresh gluten-free bread on Tuesdays.

Jenn November 3, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Thanks! I also love the flavor that nuts like almonds and hazelnuts can bring to a dish – I think very versatile. So great to hear you are en Suisse, and yes I do know Dumas, great selection!

Ellen @ I Am Gluten Free November 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I’m not sure which pictures are more fantastic – the views of the lake or the brownies! Can’t wait to see the recipe. I’ve been experimenting a lot with almond flour and am loving how it performs! Do you have a favorite kind that you use? I’ve been using Honeyville, but I’ve been hearing about another brand called Digestive.

Jenn November 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Aww thanks! I’m not sure the “brand” that I use is really applicable given that I have yet to recognize any nut brands as something I remember seeing in the U.S. What’s in my cupboard right now is the generic Migros brand (Migros is a chain of grocery stores en Suisse), nothing fancy – it’s not very finely ground, and for these brownies that seems to work fine.

GFree_Miel November 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Wow! Those brownies look yummy! I agree with you on chocolate cake. It doesn’t really taste like chocolate. I like it but it’s not my favorite. Not like brownies. Yum!

Jenn November 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Oh good, I’m glad I’m not the only one who isn’t crazy about chocolate cake, especially if there are brownies around!

Christine November 3, 2010 at 5:24 pm

I can’t wait. They look so delicious!

I’m not a huge fan of chocolate cake either. I used to not really like brownies until I tried these brownies from the Barefoot Contessa ( – terribly unhealthy for you but sinfully delicious.

Jenn November 3, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Oh that looks like a great recipe too!

Kim - Cook It Allergy Free November 3, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Ooh! Jenn! I cannot wait to see the grain-free version. I am EXACTLY like you. Not a chocolate cake fan in the least. And I only like brownies IF they are rich and fudgy. I will be eagerly waiting for your recipe.
And those scenic photos? Simply amazing. But of course they would be. They are yours. ;0)

Jenn November 3, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Thanks so much Kim!! I just pulled the completely grain-free version out of the oven earlier this evening, and they came out really well :) I didn’t need to do much tweaking from Karina’s recipe though, so that helped too.

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle November 3, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I don’t have to worry about gluten but still love to see what you and and it seems you’ve done an outstanding job of creating a rich dessert for those that do. Bravo!

Jenn November 4, 2010 at 6:18 am

Thanks! My goal for these brownies is not to be “awesome as a gluten free version”, but just plain “awesome” no matter if one is glutenicious or gluten free :)

Iris November 4, 2010 at 5:16 am

I’m not supposed to be eating chocolate right now as per my ND’s orders…and I haven’t missed it at all, until now. Those pictures look ridiculously good!

Jenn November 4, 2010 at 6:19 am

Thanks, and so sorry you have to avoid chocolate – that would be a tough one for me!

InTolerantChef November 4, 2010 at 9:51 am

As much as I want to make those brownies, I really think that you ned to do a post on the chocolate pudding cake as well! The only chocolate I eat is at least 70% dark as it doesn’t have lactose, and that is nice, rich and chocolately. Yumm…

Jenn November 4, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Yes, I think I need to make chocolate pudding cake too :) I imagine it shouldn’t be too hard to convert to gluten free, but I remember my dad having pretty disastrous results when he tried substituting a generic AP gluten free flour mix, so it might take a little work …

Jessica November 4, 2010 at 5:09 pm

These look heavenly, and the pictures are stunning as always!!! Can’t wait to try. I love rich, dark brownies! :)

Jenn November 4, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Thanks so much!

spiceandmore November 9, 2010 at 4:38 am

Love the pictures of the lake…and those wicked looking brownies!

Jenn November 9, 2010 at 7:34 pm


Karina December 18, 2010 at 3:07 am

Jenn- Yes, please. Nothing like dark chocolate brownies. I’m so glad you like the recipe. And I’m right there with you on trying these with almond flour. Almond meal would be fabulous! Looking forward to seeing your version. Because we need more brownie recipes. Always! xox Karina

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