We’re lucky to live a block away from one of the best known bakeries in the city. It’s a tempting stop on our way home from weekend errands; but no matter how many times we visit, I still get overwhelmed each and every time I walk in the door. There are baked goods heaped on plates, stacked on cake stands and laid out in boxes - covering literally every surface from the entrance to the checkout. For someone who usually wants to try one of everything, ordering can feel impossible.
Case in point: On my last visit, they had four types of brownies. FOUR! I leaned over glass, lowered my voice, and asked “so which brownie is actually the best?”. I hoped the staff member would save me from my misery and point me to the best brownie of them all. But, this was not the case. After getting the runaround (“they’re all the best!!!”, she said), I aborted the mission and settled on a savory muffin instead. But later on, I still couldn’t shake the idea of chocolate brownies out of my head, so I had to make a batch at home…
...fast forward one week, and I’ve now eaten so many brownies that I’ve stopped counting. But on the bright side, I landed on some deliciously fudgy brownies that made it all worth it. The brownies are both vegan and gluten free. And it’s not the kind of gluten free recipe that requires you to go out and buy a bunch of wacky ingredients - or hope that miraculously your store-bought flour blend will work out exactly how the recipe was tested (rarely ever does). Nope, these brownies use pretty simple, whole ingredients. No weird gums or additives required. And to save on cleanup, you’ll only need one bowl (or technically a pot, but you get the point).
In other words, you should be making these brownies right now. They’re rich and decadent thanks to three types of chocolate: melted chocolate, cocoa powder and chocolate chunks. The combination makes them uber chocolat-y, which is kind of the point of brownies, no?!
To elevate the chocolate flavor even further, the "secret" ingredient is strongly brewed coffee. Coffee and chocolate are a natural pairing. And while these brownies don’t taste like coffee, the addition really helps round out the flavors in a subtle way. We often have some leftover cold coffee sitting around after we make a batch, so it’s an easy way to use it up without wasting it. Otherwise, simply brew about a tablespoon of coffee grounds in one cup of hot water. Let it steep and cool down slightly, then use in the recipe. If you’re avoiding coffee, you can substitute with an equal amount of nutmilk, but if you can, I highly recommend going the coffee route. You won’t look back.
Easy Gluten Free Fudge Brownies
- 7 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate, divided (see note 1)
- 6 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
- 3 tablespoons ground flax
- ¾ cup coconut sugar (or dark brown sugar)
- 1 cup strongly brewed coffee (see note 2)
- 1 cup + 3 tablespoons oat flour (see note 3)
- ⅔ cup almond flour
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (see note 4)
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat: Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Mix wet ingredients: Add half the chocolate (3.5 oz), grapeseed oil, and ground flax to a small saucepan. Warm on the lowest heat, whisking frequently, until chocolate is almost melted. Add sugar, whisk until mixture loosens again and chocolate is fully melted. Slowly pour in coffee, whisking vigorously until smooth (about 30 seconds). Remove from heat.
- Add dry ingredients: Add oat flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, salt, and baking powder. Whisk thoroughly, until well incorporated. Stir in the remaining half of chocolate (3.5 oz.
- Bake: Line 1 (8 x 8-inch) baking pan with parchment (see note 5). Pour in batter. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the pan, 22 to 25 minutes. Allow brownies to cool for at least 30 minutes before lifting from the pan. Cut into squares.
- Semi-sweet chocolate: 50-65% cocoa recommended. If vegan, check the label to confirm it's dairy free.
- Coffee: To make just enough coffee for this recipe, brew a ratio of 1 tablespoon ground beans to 1 cup hot water. Strain grounds before using liquid. Coffee should be room temperature (slightly warm is okay), but not hot or cold. If avoiding coffee, substitute it with an equal amount of room temperature non-dairy milk.
- How to make oat flour: To make your own oat flour, add rolled oats to a high speed blender and blend until a fine powder. When making homemade oat flour, we prefer a blender - over a food processor - because it achieves a finer grind.
- Arrowroot powder substitute: You can use an equal amount of cornstarch instead.
- Baking pan: If you have an 8-inch square baking pan with removable bottom, use it (makes for easier removal). Otherwise a regular bottomed pan will work.
- Measuring by weight: For the most reliable results, we recommend measuring by weight when baking. Ingredient weights are provided in metric. If you must go by volume (measuring cups), make sure to fluff, spoon, and level the flours, cocoa powder, arrowroot, etc. to avoid adding too much.
FAFARA MEEHAI says
It's so fantastic, I want to eat.
can I sub the almond flour for another kind? which would you recommend?
Hi Ethna - I haven't tested this recipe with any other flours, so unfortunately don't have a substitute to recommend. Gluten free flours are quite tricky, so there's not really a general swap that I'd know would work without further testing. But if you can eat almond flour, the original combo is delicious!
What does the arrowroot powder do and what can I use as a substitute? Pretty sure they don't sell it in my neck of the woods.
Hi Tara! Arrowroot powder acts like a starch and thickens things. It's often used in gluten free baking to "lighten up" baked goods, especially those using almond flour which can have a denser mouthfeel. You can substitute cornstarch as well! I've tested both methods, and have updated the recipe note to reflect. Arrowroot powder (sometimes labelled as arrowroot flour) is a bit less processed than cornstarch, which is why I usually opt for it - but in this case you can substitute it 1-for-1.
Side-by-side the cornstarch version felt the slightest bit more crumbly, but honestly you wouldn't be able to tell unless you had them side by side (like I did). Both are fudgy and delicious. Enjoy!