Adapting to a gluten free diet is, for me, a case of changing all my expectations. No matter what people might say, things without gluten just aren’t the same as things with. It’s not that they’re worse, necessarily, just different, and at the moment I’m working on not expecting a gluten free brownie to taste exactly like the normal, glutenous, sugar packed brownies that I have been enjoying for the last 21 years.
If you, like me, have recently had to make the switch to a gluten free diet, the key is adapting. It doesn’t mean that you’re consigned to a life bereft of all your favourite foods. It simply means that the expectations you have of your favourite foods will change slightly.
I’ve been bogged down recently with a 10,000 word dissertation about nationalism in Mexican fashion after the 1910-1920 revolution. I’ve loved writing it, but it has commandeered most of my time, leaving me unable to really start dabbling in the world of gluten free baking. I’ve been using up all the normal flour left in my cupboards over the past few weeks, baking endless loaves of bread and cakes that I can’t eat. However, as of last Thursday, my dissertation is done, handed in and out of my hair, leaving me completely free from all uni commitments and, subsequently, with an awful lot of free time of my hands.
In between celebrating with my friends and freaking out about what I’m going to do with my life, I have finally had the chance to snoop through my local health food store and pick up a variety of gluten free ingredients.
These brownies are my first foray into rice flour, and, I think, quite a successful one. They use black beans (my absolute favourite food, although not necessarily as an ingredient to bake with!), coconut oil and honey, making them not only gluten free but also dairy and refined sugar free. Infinitely healthier than your everyday brownie, and just as tasty! They are gooey and really rich- eat them while they are still warm for ultimate gooey-ness!
Black Bean Brownies
1 tin black beans (23og)
3 tbsp coconut oil
15og your favourite dark chocolate
150ml maple syrup/ agave nectar
60g rice flour
pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees and line a square tin/ ceramic dish with baking paper.
In a bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt your coconut oil and chocolate together, then leave it to cool completely.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, blitz the black beans until they form a sort of paste. When the chocolate mixture is cool, add that and blitz to combine. Then add the eggs, maple syrup/ agave nectar, flour and salt and blitz until everything is well mixed.
Spoon into your lined tray and bake for about 30-45 minutes until the top is crispy and starting to crack and the brownies feel slightly firm to the touch. Cut into squares and devour with a handful of your favourite berries.