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Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies

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This is an easy small batch recipe for Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies made with almond flour, coconut sugar, and allergen free chocolate chips.  And you would never know that they aren’t traditional brownies!  The brownies are extra fudgy, chewy, and feature the trademark crinkly brownie tops.

Small Batch Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies

I’ll start by saying there are a lot of tips within in this post itself.  And I have provided the tips to ensure you have a successful bake.  And if you are like me, you have been on the search for the epitome of the perfect brownie – thick, chewy, fudgy, and with the trademark flaky top.  So, read on!  There may just be something useful typed up in this post!  Wink.

Though, you may be asking do you need so many tips and explanations to make an easy brownie?  And I say the answer is yes.  Because we have all settled for mediocre brownies.  They taste ok, but the texture is off.  Or vice versa.  Now, add on to that the fact that we want to enjoy a small batch, gluten free and refined sugar free brownie that doesn’t taste like cardboard!

Enough already, Erin.  Get to the point. 

What To Expect With Small Batch Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free Brownies

  • Chewy Edges – The mix of coconut oil and butter yield the chewy ‘I want the edge piece‘ brownie edge.
  • Fudgy Centers – No cake-like brownies with this recipe.  The brownie centers are soft, fudgy, and melt in your mouth good.
  • Rich Chocolate Flavor lots of it – Chocolate chips and cocoa powder make sure chocolate comes through.  And let’s be real.  You can’t call it a brownie without chocolate.
  • Easy – After you prepare all of your ingredients, the brownies come together pretty easy.
  • Crinkly, Flaky Brownie Tops – We all want flaky brownie tops.  Isn’t that what a good brownie is all about!?  Want to know how to achieve that iconic brownie flaky top?  I have a few tips in the post.
  • Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free Tastes Good – I can’t stress this enough – you will never know that these aren’t traditional brownies!  They are sweet with the perfect texture.
Close up of a stack of gluten free brownies on a table

What You Need To Make Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies

Ingredients

  • Almond Flour – Fine, blanched almond flour is what I use and recommend.  I have provided a (affiliate) link in the recipe.
  • Tapioca Flour – Tapioca can also be called tapioca starch – they are the same thing.
  • Cocoa Powder – I recommend Dutch process cocoa powder because I find it to have a bold chocolate flavor and it is not as bitter as natural cocoa.  Though, natural cocoa powder will work.
  • Salt – The salt is almost necessary to balance out all of the flavors in the brownies!
  • Vanilla Extract – Vanilla complements and warms the cocoa flavor in the brownies.
  • Egg – 1 large egg is all we need.
  • Coconut Sugar – I have used Anthony’s, Big Tree (pictured below), and Madhava.  All work great!
  • Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips – ALERT!  I found allergen friendly chocolate chips from Nestle Toll House at Walmart!  Awesome find if you are concerned with soy, or other allergens.
  • Unsalted Butter – Chewy brownies best friend!
  • Coconut Oil – Make sure you use solid (cold pressed) coconut oil.  I have linked the coconut oil I use in the recipe.

Baking Equipment

  • 6-Inch Square Cake Pan – My tried-and-true 6-inch cake pan works wonderfully.  However, you can also use a 9×5-inch loaf pan – just note the brownies may be a little more thin.
  • Mixing Bowls – I like to use 1 quart mixing bowls for my small batch baking.
  • Saucepan – If you choose to melt the chocolate over a double boiler.

A Few Notes On The Ingredients In These Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free Brownies

After several test batches of brownies, I want to go into a little more detail on the ingredients in these Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies.

  • Almond Flour and Tapioca Flour – I tried many different almond flour blends to make the brownies.  In the end, I found that almond flour with tapioca produces a perfectly chewy and fudgy brownie.
    • Almond flour is naturally moist, which is great for brownies. 
    • Tapioca flour adds a little more chew, plus it acts as an additional binder.
  • Coconut Sugar – I chose coconut sugar as a refined sugar free sweetener in the brownies.  In baking, I find it to be the easiest swap to granulated sugar.  You will be hard pressed to taste any coconut and I find it provides more of a caramel flavor.  Make no mistake, coconut sugar is still sugar!
  • Oil and Butter – I find using both coconut oil and butter results in the perfect (in my opinion) brownie texture:  chewy edges with fudgy centers.  I have made brownies using only butter, but this recipe is the front runner as my favorite because of the texture.
  • Chocolate Chips – Lately, I am trying to avoid soy (yes, health reasons).  And wouldn’t you know it, soy lecithin is a common emulsifier in most chocolate chips.  I was delighted to stumble across Nestle’s Allergen Free chocolate chips.  I don’t find any difference in flavor nor baking result.

Tips For Making Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies

Brownie Preparation Tips

  • Achieving the iconic brownie crinkle top – I’m sure the method for how to get the shiny crinkly brownie top could be debated for days.  Every baker has their theory, and for this recipe I am sharing what I tested and what worked.
    1. Mix the egg and sugar first – As I was batch #-I don’t know, it hit me.  The water of the egg white was helping to melt the sugar.  The sugar and egg proteins form bonds that yield the thin and flaky crust.  Then, the process of whisking the egg and sugar together further enhances the delicate crust.  Similar to whipping egg whites to make meringue.  You are incorporating air and strengthening the bonds to get the flaky tops.  Much like the result of the Flourless Chocolate Cookies.
    2. Mix for minutes – I whisked my sugar and egg for at least 2 minutes to start.  Then as I was preparing the other ingredients and waiting for the chocolate to melt, I whisked some more.  You want the egg and sugar mixture to be light, creamy, and foamy.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients together – I am well aware that this brownie recipe calls for 3 bowls.  But, I assure you, they will be worth it.  The reason I whisk my dry ingredients – versus just adding them individually to the batter – is because I like to make sure they are all incorporated and free of lumps.  Almond flour can be lumpy, as can cocoa powder.  
  • Use aluminum foil to line the pan – After a few test batches, I found that the aluminum foil conducts the heat better while baking, thus distributing heat more evenly and baking the brownies evenly.   The brownies from the parchment lined pans had crispier, almost on the edge of burnt, edges.

Brownie Ingredient Tips

  • Dutch process cocoa for a richer chocolate flavor – Dutch cocoa has a bolder cocoa flavor and I find it to be less bitter than natural cocoa.
  • Use blanched almond flour – Blanched almond flour is ground without the almond skins and is also ground finer.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – I like to use semi-sweet chocolate chips for the extra sweetness.  However, you could certainly use a dark chocolate chip if you prefer.
  • Don’t forget the salt – The salt balances out the chocolate flavor and cuts the sweetness.  You could even sprinkle a little on top after baking if you like!

Brownie Baking and Cooling Tips

  • Watch the bake time – I found the sweet spot to be 24 minutes – though keep in mind every oven is different!  If you prefer a super duper fudgy brownie, take them out of the oven a minute or two early.
  • Cool the brownies in the pan for a few minutes – Cooling the brownies (or any baked good) in the pan for a few minutes after baking allows the residual heat to finish baking.  However, if you keep them in the pan for too long, you may end up with a soggy brownies.  Think of steam, and where it has to go to escape – inside your bake.  Then as it cools, it just adds unnecessary moisture.
  • Cool the brownies completely – A brownie that has not been cooled completely is likely to be crumbly.  Allowing the brownies to cool allows them to set and get fudgy!  Furthermore, I find gluten free bakes to taste better when they are completely cool.
Gluten free brownies cut into bars on a table

Common Questions For Making Gluten Free, Small Batch Brownies

Can this brownie recipe be doubled?

I haven’t tested a double batch, but I think they would turn out ok. Let me know if you do!

Will a different baking pan work instead of the 6-inch cake pan?

You can bake the brownies in a 9×5-inch loaf pan. It is important to not that the brownies will be flatter as the loaf pan is slightly larger.

Are these brownies considered Paleo?

I am not a Paleo expert and I think some would say they are not Paleo because of the butter.

Can I use all coconut oil in lieu of the butter?

I did test the brownies with all oil and they turned out a little more dense and flatter. They still tasted good though.

Will a 1:1 gluten free flour work instead of the almond and tapioca flour?

I can’t say for certain. What I have experienced with the 1:1 gluten free flours is that they are much drier. If you try it, let me know how they turn out!

I don’t require gluten free. Can I swap in regular all-purpose flour instead?

I haven’t tested this recipe as such, and you can certainly give it a try!

Can I substitute the coconut sugar for granulated sugar?

You can, though the brownies may be just a tad sweeter.

How about using a sugar-free sugar?

I don’t have any experience or guidance on how to use the sugar-free sweeteners (like Stevia or Erythritol).

I’d like to make the brownies vegan. Can I swap the egg and butter for vegan ingredients?

Unfortunately, I don’t have much experience with vegan baking or swaps. I can’t say how vegan substitutions would turn out.

How many brownies will I get out of the small batch?

Depending on how big you slice the brownies, the 6-inch square cake pan will yield 4 larger brownies all the way to 9 smaller ones.

Stack of fudgy gluten free brownies on a table

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Top view of gluten free brownies cut into slices on a table
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Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies

Yield: 1 6-Inch Square Pan
This is an easy small batch recipe for Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies made with almond flour, coconut sugar, and allergen free chocolate chips.  And you would never know that they aren't traditional brownies!  The brownies are extra fudgy, chewy, and feature the trademark crinkly brownie tops.
Prep20 mins
Cook26 mins
Total46 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line a 6-inch square cake pan with aluminum foil – 2 strips to cover all the sides of the pan. Leave enough overhang to lift the brownies out of the pan. Lightly grease the aluminum foil. Note – The brownies can also be made in a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the egg, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk the mixture very well for a couple of minutes until it is creamy and foamy. This helps create the crinkly and shiny brownie tops. Note – I like to mix the egg and sugar as the first step because it helps to 'dissolve' the coconut sugar. I will even go back and whisk the mix a couple of times while I'm waiting for the chocolate to melt.
  • Melt the chocolate – In another small mixing bowl, add the chocolate chips, butter, and coconut oil. You can either melt the chocolate over a double boiler (see Notes for details), or in the microwave in 30 second increments – stirring after each – until the chocolate chips are mostly melted. A few small chocolate lumps are ok because they will melt with the residual heat. Set aside and let cool for a couple of minutes – adding too hot of chocolate to the egg mixture and the egg will scramble.
  • While the chocolate is melting – In a small bowl, whisk together the almond flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder and salt.
  • Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and stir until incorporated. Then sprinkle the dry ingredients over the top of the wet and stir until no dry streaks remain.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake the brownies for 23 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean – we want a few moist crumbs for fudgy brownies.
  • Cool in the pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then lift the brownies out of the pan and transfer to the wire rack to cool completely. Note – I recommend allowing the brownies to cool completely before slicing and serving. They need time to set and cool to get chewy and fudgy.

Notes

  • Chocolate Chips – I used Nestle Toll House Allergen Free semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I’ve only seen them at Walmart and Amazon.
  • Double Boiler – Use a mixing bowl that is large enough to sit on top of a small saucepan without touching the bottom.  Bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer and set the bowl on top of the saucepan.  Heat until the chocolate is mostly melted, stirring occasionally to incorporate the ingredients.  A few lumps are ok because they will melt in the residual heat.  This is my preferred method for melting the chocolate, butter, and oil because I can monitor the melting.  Heat too long and the chocolate may seize up.
  • Fudgier Brownies – If you prefer a super fudgy brownie, check and take the brownies out of the oven a 23 minutes.  Leave in longer if you prefer your brownies not as moist.  I found the sweet spot of fudgy and chewy at 24 minutes.
  • Less Bowls – Yes, this simple brownie recipe needs 3 mixing bowls.  You could omit one by sprinkling the dry ingredients directly over the wet ingredients.  However, I prefer to whisk the dry ingredients together first in a bowl to make sure they are well mixed and to avoid unnecessary lumps.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich
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