Easy gluten free Nutella brownies for Valentine’s Day
BAKING in my family is in the genes and just like most things that are passed down through the generations, baking has skipped around here and there. Thanks in large part to my Swedish-born grandmother, I inherited the genetic mix that provokes a love of baking.
While it all seems very straightforward, as in measure, mix and bake it all changed forever around 10 years ago after receiving a diagnosis of coeliac disease. At that time it wasn’t too far off from being like the end of the world; gone were the days of whipping up shortcrust pie, Swedish Christmas cookies (so much nicer than those in the tin!) and blithely carrying on – at least, not without unpleasant consequences.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the latest little gem of discovery has been three-ingredient Nutella brownies and yes, they are gluten-free, every gooey morsel of them and while the recipe makes between 15 large brownies and around 22 of the smaller variety, they don’t last long in my house.
The good thing is that while the flavour of the binding agent xanthan gum has improved over the years, unlike the adapted Swedish butter cookies it isn’t required here. Instead the recipe calls for 450 grams of Nutella with two additional tablespoons for swirling on top, three large eggs, 120 grams of gluten free plain flour and with or without 70 grams of chocolate chips the result is deliciously creamy, chocolaty and nutty all at the same time.
It’s best to use a mixer such as electric beaters or a food processor as I do, even for shortcrust pastry when I make my own. The mixture is understandably dense and takes a lot of work along with a spatula and a bowl otherwise. As always it is wet ingredients and then dry, mixing to a smooth consistency while gradually adding the eggs and then flour; all-in mixing takes a lot longer to blend to the right consistency and it changes the mix, so take your time and enjoy the process along with the results.
Preparation takes around 30 minutes, the final step being to pour the mixture into a 20×20-centimeter tin or 8-inch square and cooking at 180C/160C fan takes around 30 minutes; check with a skewer and if it comes out clean, it’s baked and ready to slice and enjoy after cooling.
While Nutella has not been certified as gluten free the Coeliac Society of Ireland and Free From Food Awards Ireland are satisfied that it is safe. For the gluten free flour I prefer to use Shar’s Universal blend; I find it gives the most authentic result in baking before coeliac disease had to be counted in and yes, plain gluten flour will work just as well here.
Simple to make and even easier to enjoy there is something special about these brownies, their gooey, rich flavour and texture just decadent enough and the perfect home-baked treat for Valentine’s Day.