Friday recipe: a gluten-free treat for your sweetie

My daughter told me recently that one of her friends discovered he has celiac disease. “Just imagine – no more pizza!” she bemoaned on his behalf. “No more Panda Express!”

I can’t speak to the nutritional content of Asian-inspired fast food, but I do know celiac disease is a hardship for an estimated one in 100 people worldwide. According to the Mayo Clinic website, celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. For those with the disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in their small intestine, causing inflammation that can cause pain, weight loss, bloating, diarrhea and, eventually, malnutrition.

Mmmm - fudgy and gluten-free.
Mmmm – fudgy and gluten-free.

The treatment for celiac disease is lifelong adherence to a strictly gluten-free diet. That can be tricky in our wheat-filled world, so I appreciate the way the Celiac Disease Foundation instead focuses on all the naturally gluten-free foods that sufferers of this affliction can eat, including fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood, dairy, beans and legumes, and grains including rice, corn, soy, quinoa and nut flours.

This means if you want to satisfy your sweetie with a gluten-free treat this Valentine’s Day, you can turn to this deliciously fudgy brownie recipe. It’s so good, no frosting is required. I’ve also had great gluten-free results with other baked goods by simply replacing the white or wheat flour for nut flours, as this recipe does.

Gluten-free brownies

  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (your preference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees with a rack positioned in the lower third of the oven. Line an 8″x8″ metal baking pan across the bottom and up two opposite sides with parchment paper.

Mix the almond and rice flours; set aside.

Place the butter, chocolate and salt in a saucepan over very low heat. Stir constantly until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture and stir until moistened; then mix briskly about 40 strokes. Stir in the nuts if using.

Scrape the batter into the baking pan and spread it evenly. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the brownies are slightly puffed all over (don’t overbake). Cool the pan on a rack. Use the parchment paper to lift brownies from the pan.

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