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Boyfriend Breakup Beer Brownies (gluten-free)

Last week my lil sis went through a breakup.  A relatively sane one, sans drama, and she’s rolled with it very well.  But a breakup is a breakup, with highs and lows and unanswered questions.  A few months ago I went through a very hard breakup (see My Broken Heart in a Pie) and my siblings were there for me as soon as I was ready to talk to them.  Upon my first trip home, they threw me a night of gluten-free beer (well, for me), board games, a bunch of bad jokes and “socials” and “waterfalls”, and the freedom to wander alone in my thoughts when I needed to.

So when Lil Sis texted me the news, I threw all the gluten-free beer I had in my fridge into a bag and headed to Connecticut.  And after one or two drinks and some quiet conversation, I knew what she needed: brownies.

We rummaged through hers and my dad’s kitchens and got together some basic ingredients (including the gluten-free flour blend I stash there) and I went to work, whipping things together and giving her a little baking lesson as I went.  I love brownies because of how few ingredients they require, how fast you can make them and how versatile they are – purely for emotional purposes we poured some of the dark Green’s Gluten-Free Sorghum beer I had been sipping, which did wonders in intensifying all the flavors and giving the brownies lift without and baking powder/soda.

The result?  Incredibly moist, fudgy, dark cocoa brownies. Just as I want them.  Easy to slice, packed with chocolate and with a slight zing from the beer.  Incredibly easy to make, and from start to finish we had the brownies in about a half an hour.

She plopped a little vanilla ice cream on her slice to balance the chocolate.  I love dark chocolate, and savored my sweet little piece (normally I never eat refined sugar, or much sugar in general, but desperate times…).  We sipped our drinks, enjoyed some telly and as she worked things through in her head, we talked about it.

And don’t worry, both Lil Sis’ and my heart are doing just fine.

Check out my My Gluten-Free Brownie Video for eHow.com!

Ingredients:

  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 10 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free beer (try to get a dark one)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour with xanthan gum (I use my cookie blend when I make these. If using a blend that doesn’t contain xanthan gum add 1/4 tsp, please and thank you.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a small 8×8 or so glass baking pan.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter.  Slowly whisk in cocoa and whisk until dissolved.  Then slowly whisk in beer (it will foam a bit) and whisk until smooth.  Set aside to cool.

In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer on medium/high speed beat eggs, brown sugar and white sugar together until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very smooth and creamy.

Reduce the mixer to low speed and slowly add the chocolate mixture until combined.

Toss the salt and xanthan gum into the flour and fold into the chocolate mixture.

Pour into the pan and bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out smooth.

Cool for at least 15 minutes (if you want them soft and fudgey) or completely before cutting.

As lil sis pointed out, these would be great with a dairy/gluten-free ice cream or with some fresh fruit.

Fluffy Vegan Frosting


“I’m the most delicious gluten-and-dairy-free Red Velvet cupcake you’ll ever eat.  And now that I’m topped with light and fluffy vegan frosting, that’s so spreadable and pipeable, you’ll never wanna stop making me.  Kisses.”

– Cupake

I swear the cupcake insisted that I write that – I was completely at its mercy.  Maybe because I ate several of his fellows before changing frosting tips to see if I could pipe letters, which I did with ease.

The cake in this cupcake is truly divine – both moist but light, full of cocoa flavor but not too chocolatey.  Several friends who have no gluten or dairy problems could not tell that they are both, one even suggesting I match it up with a gluten-full cake and blind taste test some people for the fun of it.

Please try it, and tell me what you think.  I dubbed it Little Red Velvet Riding Hood Cupcake.  But if you just wanna call it Mmmmm, that’s okay too.  Recently I’ve been calling it “Oh my Dog!”, while it’s still in my mouth.

Now, the only reason I’m reposing this cupcake is because of the frosting issue.  The first I tried was lovely – a sweet vegan “cream cheese” frosting – but it came out more like a glaze, and no amount of whipping or refrigerating gave it a stiff enough consistency for me to pipe or even pile high.

So I tried a Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero and BOY-OH was I happy!  Insanely easy and amazingly fluffy, the frosting stayed stiff enough to pipe with several different tips long after I had colored it and bagged it.  Because it’s made with vegan butter and shortening – which are obviously both vegetable-oil based – it whipped easily at any temperature and functioned well.

And the taste!  Like a classic butter-cream it tastes primarily like sugar and vanilla.  But unlike butter-cream it didn’t taste overpoweringly so.  The shortening gave it enough body so that the sugar content was slightly lower.  Don’t get me wrong – this is very sweet.  As someone who struggles with hypoglycemia, I did a decent job at staying away (after one cupcake of course!)  But it’s not going to overwhelm your taste buds nor distract from the cupcake you put it on.  And because of the light and fluffy consistency, it particularly matched the classy cake underneath it and would do as well with a rich chocolate – ooh, or banana!

Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

The recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  Click on the title above for their recipe.

This frosting is fluffy and easy to work with

This frosting is fluffy and easy to work with

Having fun with frosting

Devouring the Delicious Monster

Monstera Deliciosa - The Delicious Monster Fruit!

Hello, meet Monstera Deliciosa, a delicious food of the fruit variety that is easy to prepare and delectable to eat!

I was shocked at meeting this fruit at my favorite local healthy-foods store, Integral Yoga Natural Foods.  Tucked away by mangoes and strawberries was this very phallic, scaly, alien-like fruit that completely weirded me out… so of course I had to try it!  Ends up Monstera Deliciosa is incredibly delicious.  I just wanted to get that out of the way… in case you really don’t trust the name… and are doubting purchasing this radical food.

About Monstera Deliciosa:

Alternate names: Ceriman, Swiss Cheese Plant (or just Cheese Plant), Fruit Salad Plant, Monster fruit, Monsterio Delicio, Monstereo, Mexican Breadfruit, Monstera, split-leaf philodendron, Locust and Wild Honey, Windowleaf and Delicious Monster.

Origin: Mexico and Central America

Interesting Facts: This plant is most common as a leafy decorative plant and grows naturally in moist, warm climates, suffering with any frost.  The fruit doesn’t usually grow indoors, but rather in the wild where the plant will hide from the sun in order to find the shade of a tree on which to plant itself and grow upwards towards the light.  The fruit is actually an ‘unripened flower spike’ (source one) that takes at least a year to mature fully before harvesting.

Health Benefits / Warnings: Don’t be afraid by the following: because of its high content of oxalic acid, the unripened fruit can be toxic, causing itching, swelling and asphyxiation.  But if you’ve bought the fruit rather than hacked it off a tree yourself, you’re good.  The mature fruit contains a small amount of oxalic acid, which is common in a few other fruits and may cause a slight itchiness in the mouth and tongue if you’re sensitive to certain allergens.  I am very sensitive to certain allergens and found myself surprisingly fine with this fruit!  Health wise, Monstera Deliciosa has a good amount of vitamin C and is a natural energy booster due to the rush of natural sugar and water content.

Observations: The first observation my roommate and I made was that the flesh smells amazing! Like a really strong Jolly Rancher or an entire fruit salad concentrated into a small kernel.  The fruit itself is soft and a bit slimy, but that only makes it more delicious as it melts in your mouth.  The taste is a combination of pineapple and banana, a surprising delight of both sweet and a tad tart in one bite.

How do you serve and eat Delicious Monster? I was happy just to eat it alone with a spoon, but throwing it over icecream, yogurt or cereal would be an appropriate plan, as would sticking it in a smoothie or baking it into a crepe.

How Do You Prepare Delicious Monster?

  1. Place the fruit in a paper bag or upright in a glass, stem side on top.  Let it ripen naturally – which takes 2-4 days depending on the age of the fruit and the humidity.
  2. When the scales have started to peel off, gently remove remaining scales with your fingers, revealing the soft white flesh underneath.  Warning: this may remind you of skinning an iguana or a nightmare you had as a child after watching an alien movie.  Keep in mind, the fruit coming to you is named Delicious Monster for a reason!
  3. Using a thin knife, remove the now delicate and somewhat slimy scales from the hard and inedible core.
  4. Mix into a smoothie, sprinkle on yogurt or cereal, or eat raw for an unbelievably delicious treat!

Step One: Place the whole fruit upright in a glass or in a paper bag to ripen, stem side up

Step Two: Fruit is allowed to ripen naturally and the scales fall off

Step Three: Peel away the green scales to reveal the white flesh underneath

Step Four: Cut the flesh away from the core

Interesting links / sources: University of Connecticut, Tropical Fruit Photo Archive

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