Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Ginger and Chocolate Brownies (gluten free and/or vegan)

It is probably my Mum’s fault that I have an asbestos tongue.  I have vivid memories of covering homemade chips in Season All when I was little.  That stuff was absolutely delicious, full of salt, paprika, chilli powder and other loveliness.  It was a perfect match for the chips which I drowned in vinegar.  If food made my lips white and shrivelled then it was all good in my book.  Mum told me not to, she said I would have a 'jaded palate' (love that phrase) but who listens to their Mum?

I wish I could say that my palate has refined with age.  That the subtle taste of avocado is sublime and steamed asparagus is a joy.  Well, no.  Avocado is best with salt, black pepper and splashed liberally with hot sauce.  And asparagus...well, salt, black pepper and hot sauce.  I often think that all I really want from food is texture to go with hot sauce.  I'm such a sophisticated foodie.

Curry?  If it’s not making me sweat then it’s not worth it.  If it makes me cry and I can’t feel my lips, then it’s a winner.

Then there was the stem ginger covered in dark chocolate that we used to eat at Christmas when I was little.   It was so good, on the limit of being bearable, but a real kick.  When I taste it now it evokes happy Christmas memories where life was simple and it was all about the fun.  Unfortunately that part does change with age doesn’t it?  (Sighs, pauses on edge of maudlin precipice...steps back.)

Anyway, it was the ginger and chocolate thing I was trying to re-create with these brownies.  Which is why the first batch sizzled my children’s tender young palates.  Perhaps adding nearly a teaspoon of chilli powder to that first attempt wasn't such a good idea? It didn’t stop them asking for more though and when the scores were averaged out, I was at seven and a half.  Which I think is pretty good. 

I love that my darling girl with allergies told me ‘It’s on the limit of my spiciness range, but I love it!’  How does she form sentences like that when she’s five? (I think that was bragging by the back door, but it’s OK, I’m allowed to do that because she’s amazing.)

This is my last post for a few weeks because of moving back to the UK (have I mentioned that?!) and my internet service provider telling me I can’t get online until September 10th.  Seriously?!  For a minute there I thought I was moving to Tajikistan...

Ginger and Chocolate Brownies
I’m not sure if these really are brownies.  I’m tempted to call them slices.  They are very moist and squidgy like brownies, but they don’t do that waxy, crunchy thing on the top like real brownies.  It’s a dilemma.  I don’t know how I’ll sleep tonight.

For all versions:
250g dark chocolate (dairy and gluten free)
150g dairy free margarine
250-275g agave syrup/honey or 250g sugar (I used 275g agave syrup, I have a sweet tooth)
60g fresh ginger, grated (freeze it beforehand)
½ tsp chilli powder (optional)
8-15tbsps rice milk depending on which version you are following

For egg free version:
3 heaped tsps Orgran ‘no egg’ Egg Replacer
2 tbsps ground linseeds
¼ tsp xanthan gum
6 tbsps oil
8 tbsps rice milk

To use eggs:
2 eggs, beaten

For gluten free version:
140g rice flour
½ tsp xanthan gum

To use wheat flour:
Use 180g wheat flour and omit the ½ tsp xanthan gum used with the gluten free flour

For the icing/frosting
100g dark chocolate (dairy and gluten free)
2 tbsps dairy free margarine
2 tbsps agave syrup/honey or golden syrup
2 cm cube of fresh ginger, grated
  •  Line a 24cm x 24cm tin with baking parchment and pre-heat the oven to 180˚Celsius
  • If using the egg replacing mix put all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk with a mini whisk until there are no lumps.  Set aside
  • Peel and grate the 60g fresh ginger (it’s easier to grate if you have frozen it beforehand, but it’s a faff to peel it)
  • Place the chocolate and dairy free margarine into a large saucepan and heat gently until melted.  Add the agave syrup/sugar, grated ginger and either the egg replacing mix or the two fresh eggs.  Stir until combined
  • Add either the gluten free flours and xanthan gum or the wheat flour and the chilli powder (optional).  Stir until combined
  • Add between 8 and 15tbsps of rice milk.  If you are using real eggs you will need to add less, about 8 tbsps.  If using egg replacer, go ahead and add up to 15tbsps.  If using wheat flour, add between 8 and 10 tbsps.  You are aiming for a soft dropping consistency.  The thing with gluten free flour and xanthan gum is that they just keep absorbing...don’t worry too much about it, but err on the side of too wet rather than too dry, but it must all hold together like a ‘real’ cake mix, don’t let it get too sloppy. Oh god, now you’re worried aren’t you...?
  • Pour your brownie mix into the tin and bake for 20 minutes or until it has set and risen slightly (it won’t rise much)
  • Remove from oven and let it cool in the tin
  • For the icing/frosting: Grate the 2cm cube of ginger, set aside.  Melt the chocolate in a bain marie (bowl balanced on saucepan with boiling water in it. Don’t let the bowl touch the water).  
  • Off the heat add the dairy free margarine, agave syrup/honey (or golden syrup) and grated ginger.  Stir until the margarine has melted
  • Spread it over the brownies and leave to set
  • Yum. Get your kids to give you scores out of 10, but ignore what they say, we know these are lovely

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved


Elsie Button said...

lovely memories, lovely recipe, and lovely five year old.

I too like food that blows my head off.

Good luck with the move


Pig in the Kitchen said...

Ah Elsie, Merci my dear. I'm eating soup at the moment...and hot sauce.

There is no hope for me.


Flo'bear said...

Wowzers! Recipe bonanza!

I am going to make 1. Brownies, followed by 2. Banana Pancakes and then 3. Pear Crumble.

I have picked up and clung to the suggestion in your crumble recipe that you might move on to cookies (once you've managed to flee Tajikistan, obv.). PLEASE, PLEASE do.

My (allergic, and also amazing) son is longing for, "cookies like the ones Cookie Monster eats". ie Chocolate Chip.

No pressure. Just saying.


ps moving not only house, but LAND. Grim. And *retch* carpet, FFS. You're dealing with it all very gracefully.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Flo'bear. Nope, absolutely no pressure taken. I'll fit in devising that cookie recipe in between unpacking boxes, not being online or having a landline or an English mobile and I'll do it just after I've stopped the dog escaping through the fence and chasing new neighbour's cat. Will that be ok?!

Tee hee. Where are you going? which land? And as for the carpet? Well actually all the food sort of grinds in and then you don't notice it. Gorgeous.

Pig x

Flo'bear said...

No, no, Pig! I meant YOU moving land! Not me. I'm staying firmly put. Ain't going nowhere. In my sympathy for your house-moving, land-moving, carpetted kitchen situation, my punctuation left me and my post was confusing, I see that now. xx

A-line Prom Dresses said...

THis looks really great! I love apple season because you can make so many delicious desserts with apples!!

Glen said...

Those British internet providers can be difficult like that ;-p

Those Brownies look lush - though I'm going to have to put some extra gluten in I think...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Flo'bear, I'm so dense. Erase me.

A-line Prom dresses, what a fascinating comment, all about apples when we're talking about chocolate and ginger. Anyone would think you were a spammer in your revolting a-line prom dress. Never come back. Drown in the folds of your a-line prom dress. It's green isn't it? Yuk.

Ah Glen, thank-you for saying 'lush'. Reminds me of my youth down in Brisl' where we said 'girt lush' as a matter of course. You are lush. x

jam-galore said...

Pig, these brownies look beautiful! I'm trying to give hope to a friend who's recently been confined to a gluten free diet. These look like just the thing to persuade her that going gluten free doesn't mean the end of delicious cakey yumminess!
Any recommendations of where to get the more specialised ingredients, buckwheat flour/xanthan gum etc...?

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Hello Jam-Galore, well aren't you a lovely friend! I'm sorry to hear about your friend, that is a tough diagnosis BUT where there is allergy there is cake from Pig in the Kitchen. I know, small comfort... So, a great starting point for the more - err - weird ingredients is:

Xanthan gum, buckwheat flour, they generally have it all. Waitrose should have a 'Free From' section which will have gluten free products (pittas, cereal, etc)and a lot of the other main supermarkets will have a free from section too.

Oh I just assumed you're from the UK, hope I'm right.

I would be really happy to chat more about ingredients, baking, etc if that would be helpful: just ask her to write PITK in the subject line.
Pig x

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