Saturday was the New York City Bake Sale benefiting Share Our Strength’s NO KID HUNGRY. It’s a beautiful cause, chaired by chefs Marc Murphy and Alex Guarnaschelli and supported by a whole host of chefs, restaurant owners and mixologists…. and little bakers and bloggers like those who gathered together.
The weather was gorgeous on Saturday, and I trekked the 95 minutes down to Brooklyn (damn you, A train!) to drop off my goods. Honestly, I wasn’t quite up to it and have been having a series of symptom flares, so I didn’t stay long. And because of such flairs and a bit of burnout, and because honestly making things look crafty and cute is pretty far down on my list of priorities, my items were not nearly as beautiful as most of the offerings there. I am astounded by how talented and devoted bloggers are. They truly inspire me. While I only stayed a few minutes to meet the Divine folk, check out the glorious offerings (which I couldn’t buy because sugar is not my friend right now, symptom-wise), and grab a drink before heading back to the C train (damn you!), I was so happy to have been a part of this. Lillian of Sweets by Lillianah and Ken of Hungry Rabbit did a stellar job organizing and executing this event, which raised over $3,000 for the charity!
For the sale I was sent a beautiful box by Divine Chocolate. What melts my heart about Divine is that they are a 100% farmer-owned coop out of Ghana that uses fair-trade methods to bring their cocoa directly to producers and, in the late 1990’s, to their own line of chocolate. Here’s just a snippet of their history that you should definitely check out if you want to bring some joy to your Monday (or whenever you read this): Kuapa Kokoo – which means good cocoa growers – has a mission to empower farmers in their efforts to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women’s participation in all of Kuapa’s activities, and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa.
With the three containers of cocoa powder sent, I started testing out brownie combos. After the buzz around why I hadn’t included a basic brownie recipe when I reviewed the amazing Kitch and Table mix I adore, I promised a basic recipe and several variations. But, of course, I wanted to blow past that to bring something new and a bit more indulgent to tomorrow’s sale.
Then I realized, I’m sorta burnt out by “indulgent” right now.
I made Gingerbread Cookie Stuffed brownies, and S’Mores brownies, and Stuffed S’Mores brownies (which basically means that a bunch of charred marshmallows just melts into the brownie and makes it super-super-sweet), and they were all delicious. But they sent me into crazy sugar-shock and that too-full feeling I get when my body is just yelling at me not to overload it. For someone with a normal digestive tract and no hypo/hyper sugar issues, maybe it’s not such an issue. In fact, I ended up baking a second batch of “Stuffed Gingerbread Cookie S’Mores Brownies” and bringing them along, too, because the reaction from my “testers” was so strong. That recipe will be up in a few days.
But first I decided to go back to basics and just give you an easy, quick, spot-on gluten-free brownie recipe and a few ways you could alter it depending on what’s in your kitchen. You don’t need a mixer, or any fancy equipment, or even bars or chips of chocolate to melt down. While obviously Divine was the inspiration for these, most people have some sort of cocoa powder in their pantries. Some butter, eggs, sugar and gluten-free flours, and your ready to go. What you’ll get are fudgey, chewy brownies with a crisp top, dense center and slight crumb. Perfect for sharing with loved ones, or those snatching up treats for a good cause.
Oh! I also tested a few batches of Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake Muffins with the Divine bars I was sent, and while one recipe tasted amazing and one recipe looked amazing, I haven’t found the balance yet. So that will come. Oh yes, it will.
But until then let me know what you think of these brownies. And for more fun, visit No Kid Hungry, Divine Chocolate on Facebook, and the New York City Bake Sale, and check out our Tweets with hashtag #NYCBakeSale.
PS: No great pics of these. T’was a rough week in Dusty Baking land, y’all!
Gluten-Free Cocoa Brownies
I love these brownies for truly how easy they are to whip up. Like my Gluten-Free Beer Brownies, they take only minutes to get in the oven. Even better than those beer brownies, though, you don’t even need to light a stove to get these going. I’ve experimented with a few flours for this, and the differences aren’t so extreme that you couldn’t make do with what you have at home – even a store-bought flour blend would probably work. But if you have your own flours at home, have fun with these. Nuttier, fuller flours work with chocolate and brownie recipes well, so break out the quinoa, teff, sorghum etc. as you like!
- 5 tsp white rice flour
- 4 tsp quinoa flour
- 2 Tbsp tapioca flour
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp baking powder (omit if you want them denser)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder (Divine is divine!)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs (not straight from the fridge is best, but whatever)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch pan with foil, allowing the ends to fall over the edge for easy lifting later, and lightly spray with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, xanthan, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and cocoa powder. Slowly stream in butter, whisking continually until incorporated fully. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking thoroughly between additions until really well whisked in there. Sprinkle the dry mixture over the bowl, and stir in until just incorporated.
Spread in prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the top edge is cracked and a fork inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool as long as you can possibly wait before cutting.