Brownie Bites for my Valentine

February 15th, 2007 yum Posted in Chocolate, Cooking for Karina, Dessert, Low Carb, Low Glycemic, Valentine Day 13 Comments »

Babycakes Brownie BitesIt’s that time of year again when all the cooking magazines and food shows suddenly discover their sweet tooth (again) and the color pallet turns to pink and red and deep, dark chocolate brown. Far be it from me to shake the trend! I have to admit, my taste for chocolate has always been more inclined towards its purer forms- dark chocolate truffles, chocolate mousse, fudge, hot fudge or chocolate fondue- basically, chocolate without any flour to get in the way. I want my chocolate rich, creamy, and unadulterated, thank you very much. But my DH, who told me on our first date that he loved making chocolate desserts for fun, adores the crumbly spongy chocolate in a really good brownie. Oh, he’ll eat fudge if I make it, sneaking pieces when I’m not looking and chomping it as the sweet note after a savory meal, but his eyes don’t light up. This is why when I heard that Martha Stewart had the chef and creator of Babycakes, a gourmet gluten free bakery in NY receiving national acclaim, on her show making gluten free brownies, I had to tune in. (At the time of this posting, the episode is still available on her site- search Martha’s recipes for Babycakes and you will get recipes and the links allowing you to view the episode.)

I was intrigued by her recipe for brownies- not only was it gluten free, dairy free, egg free, but it was even free of refined sugars. She used agave nectar as a sweetener. Formerly I had only associated agave with Tequila, but apparently Mexican agave has recently gained acclaim as a healthful substitute for sugar, being both sweeter than sugar (so you can use less and thus decrease calories) and having a low glycemic index. I always feel like when I eat sugary things, I am temporarily giddy but always “crash” later, which isn’t fun. Web sites say you can use 25 percent less agave nectar (or syrup) than the sugar or corn syrup called for in a recipe, and it may be a good idea to lower your oven temp. by 25 degrees. I immediately went on a quest for agave nectar, finally selecting the agave pictured on the right. It was pure agave syrup, which can be hard to find, and the price was reasonable. This container of 46 oz looks like it would make about 5-6 brownie recipes, but there are larger sizes if you decide you will use it regularly. (Note: I always try to order from Amazon grocery rather than gourmet, as grocery usually has free shipping offered and gourmet ships from individual sellers and the price can really add up. Of course if you have a good source locally, that’s great too.) The Babycakes recipe was mostly based on high protein bean flour, which is both healthy and usually gives things a nice texture. The dough looked so silky smooth and light- and the resulting brownies looked so sweet and enticing. (Yes, I am enticed by such things…) I also picked up a mini muffin tin. Mini muffins look so sweet, and little portions make it easier to count calories. (I know, I know, no fun- forget I mentioned it.)

So, gradually I assembled the ingredients needed- and started my grand experiment with agave the night before Valentines Day. (And not a creature was stirring, as the cats were both unconscious on the couch, those lazy creatures.) I had a dark mini muffin tin, which I also used, but I also used my new silver muffin tin. (The silver one ended up working better and the muffins were easier to remove.) I sprayed the tins with nonstick cooking spray, mixed the batter, stirred in my (non-vegan) chocolate chips, and poured the batter in the pans. The smell of chocolate permeated the house… and when they were done, I tried some hot out of the oven and cooled the rest on a rack. When hot the brownie bites were perfectly moist, chocolatey, and melted on the tongue. Once cooled, the exterior became almost carmelized, sealing the soft brownie center in perfectly. They were probably the best brownies I’d ever had. DH’s eyes lit up when he tried them, and it became clear I would have to keep an eye on him if I wanted any brownies for myself. He said they were everything a brownie should be- chocolatey, melty, and “undistinguishable’ from the gluten variety. “Oh yes? So what would you rate them?” I asked. “A 9… or a 10, out of 10,” he said firmly. From the boy who gives out 6’s like there is a discount on them- who has so far never rated anything with a ten with the possible exception of my southern fried tofu- this is high praise indeed. But don’t take our word for it- try them yourself! You won’t be sorry- and I promise, you won’t miss anything that’s not there, including the sugar.

Babycakes Brownies
Nonstick GF cooking spray

1/2 cup canola oil

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons garfava bean flour

1/4 cup potato starch

2 tablespoons arrowroot

10 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons agave nectar

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup store-bought unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup brewed coffee or espresso (hot water if you must)

2 cups vegan gluten-free chocolate chips, such as Tropical Source (or regular chocolate chips)

Special equipment: Mini muffin tins, 2 or 3 is ideal

1. Preheat oven to 325. Spray 2 or 3 dozen mini-muffin pans with GF nonstick cooking spray. (I used 2 but had enough dough left over for one large brownie.)

2. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients in a large bowl, including the agave syrup. Gently fold in flour mixture,
stirring to combine. Stir in coffee (or espresso for more kick!) to make a smooth, silky batter. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Put 1 tablespoon batter into each mini muffin cup.
Transfer muffin pans to oven, and bake until a toothpick inserted into
the center comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes. (In my oven, more like 17-18 minutes, but watch carefully.) You can remove the muffins from the tins when they’ve cooled slightly and place them on a metal rack, or wait for them to cool and then put them on a rack. It is very important to place warm brownie bites on a rack and not a plate or moisture will condense on bottom of cupcakes and they will get soggy.

Makes about 5 dozen mini brownies

Note: This recipe is free of wheat, gluten, dairy, casein, and eggs. (dairy free requires vegan chocolate chips)

Martha Stewart had the owner of the NY bakery Babycakes on her show, and here is one of the recipes that she demonstrated for Martha. Looked good enough that I started wanting to buy some agave syrup! (and in fact, did buy at Amazon, just for this recipe.)

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