4.04.2012

{ratio rally} flourless brownies


I just deleted a whole bunch of text right here.

I'm sorry you didn't get to read it, but truly none of us have time for it right now. Lots of chatting and loud statements about what characteristics I look for in an ideal brownie, but not really going anywhere fast, if you know what I mean, and fast is what we need to focus on.

Because the germs are spreading in this house. For over a week, at least one member of my family has been sick at any given moment. Nothing serious, but at this snail's pace of recovery it feels like a tremendous burden to still be dealing with it. Especially since, with an irony that seems unique to motherhood, it is just now striking the youngest and most neediest member of my family, and me.

I can feel my already-limited time for doing anything other than caregiving slipping away quickly, with only a quick backwards glance and a hasty good luck lady, you're on your own with this one.


I know.

Except, I'm not on my own, not really. There's Josh, who is incredibly helpful when he's home and offers support and empathy for the exhausting, frustrating times when he can't be here. And Kalen, amazing six-year-old that he is, is able to entertain himself when needed and can play extra-gently with Wylie if asked, with an understanding and patience far beyond his years.


And then there's my good fortune that today is Ratio Rally day, with means that I am surrounded by amazing friends and bakers, all banding together to bring you lots of ideal brownies, of all types. So even if you don't share my predilection for chewy, intense fudgy brownies, with crisp edges and crackly tops and insides that go all satiny in your mouth, you're going to find something in today's line-up that is, for you, perfection.

It's pretty nice to not have to carry that burden around on my own.

It's also pretty nice to know that if your ideal brownie sounds an awful lot like the one I'm posting here, it's an infinitely forgiving recipe, perfect to make when you need to be able to drop everything to care for a sick child, and/or when the illness steadily creeping through your own body camps out in your head, fogging your thoughts and making it difficult to remember to keep an eye on things in the oven.


Because (as my children will tell you) these brownies taste really, really good, no matter that some may have gotten their tops singed, and all got a bit over-filled, causing the batter to rise too high and collapse in on itself. (Which, it must be pointed out, makes them the perfect shape for holding a scoop of ice cream. Never call an ugly brownie useless.) They're easy to make, since your mixer does most of the work (even when I'm not sick, I don't get very excited about whipping eggs and sugar to ribbon stage by hand), and if you get called away from the kitchen for a bit and your melted chocolate cools too much and starts to get firm, a quick blast over a pot of hot water (or in the microwave) loosens things up and you're right back on track. You can even make this batter in the evening, and when you look at the clock and notice that it's 11:30pm, and rightly decide that baking brownies at this time of night is clearly the train of thought of a sick, crazy woman, you can pack it into a container and stick it into the fridge overnight. The next day, still sick but at least a little less tired, you only need to microwave the container of batter for 10-20 seconds, until it's just warm and soft enough to pour thickly, and you can be baking brownies, this time with the added benefit of daylight and a cup of coffee close by.


Aside from their forgiving nature, the thing that I love about these brownies is that they taste great both for what's in them (excellent chocolate, the best butter, free-range eggs, and lots of mint), as well as for what's not: flour.

That's right, no flour. I've decided that flour is the enemy of my perfect brownie. I don't want anything powdery and fine to get in the way of the deep, robust chocolate flavor. I want chewiness in my brownie, not a tender crumb, and if any crumbs do form, I want them to be sticky, not dry. I want something that has the density to stand up to the aforementioned ice cream without getting mushy, but that is also flavorful enough that it is a complete dessert on its own, no adornment necessary. Getting rid of the flour does all of that for me.

The other thing I want to point out about these brownies is that they definitely benefit from being baked in single-serving-sized portions. As you probably already know, the edges are one of the biggest pleasures of a good brownie — that quick transition from the crisp, chewy outside to the yielding, smooth center has been known to cause fights over the last corner piece in the pan. By making them in paper baking cups, everyone gets a maximum amount of outer crust, making each bite decidedly satisfying. It's all about keeping the peace, you know?


So that's it. Really good, really fudgy, flourless brownies. A recipe box staple, I should think. But since recipe boxes need far more than just the staples, I highly suggest you browse the rest of the Ratio Rally submissions. Our host for the month, Mary Fran of FrannyCakes, has done a wonderful job organizing all of us, and the rest of the bakers have come up with some pretty fabulous brownies. So please, go and ogle everything. While you're sufficiently occupied, I think I'll just quietly ease out the back and go take a nap.

Adina from Gluten Free Travelette made Chocolate Brownie Pie with Orange Zest
Angela from Angela's Kitchen made Gluten & Dairy Free Cream Egg Brownies 
Brooke from B & the boy! made Triple Chocolate Brownies 
Caitlin from {Gluten Free} Nom Nom Nom made Peppermint Brownie Bars
Caleigh from Gluten Free[k] made White chocolate and marshmallow brownies 
Caneel from Mama Me Gluten Free made Triple chocolate brownies
Charissa Luke from Zest Bakery made Slutty gluten-free brownies
Claire from My Gluten Free Home PB&J Brownie Whoopee Pies
Claire from This Gluten-Free Life made St. Patty's Day Marshmallow Swirl Brownies 
Erin from The Sensitive Epicure made Mexican Cocoa Brownies with an Almond & Pepitas Crust
gretchen from kumquat made Salted caramel brownies
Heather from Discovering the Extraordinary made Nutmeg Blondies
Irvin from Eat the Love made Blueberry Citrus Marble Brownies 
Jean from Gluten-Free Doctor Recipes made Blue Ribbon Brownies 
Jenn Cuisine made Grain free brownies with no-bake ricotta cheesecake cream 
Jonathan from The Canary Files made Vegan Marbled Banana Walnut Brownies
Karen from Cooking Gluten Free! made GF Chewy Crackled Top Brownies with Raspberry Puree
Mary Fran from FrannyCakes made Gluten-Free Hazelnut (Nutella) Brownies 
Morri from Meals with Morri made Oaxacan Brownies & Mesquite Cacao Blondies 
Mrs. R from Honey From Flinty Rocks made Black Bean S'More Brownies
Pete and Kelli from No Gluten, No Problem made Caramel Mexican Chocolate Mesquite Brownies
Rachel from The Crispy Cook made Co-Co Nut-Nut Blondies
Shauna from Gluten-Free Girl made Gluten-Free Brownies 
TR from No One Likes Crumbley Cookies Gluten Free Berry Fudge Brownies


Mint Chocolate Flourless Brownies
Yields 1 dozen

The ratio for this recipe is loosely 4½ parts chocolate:½ part butter:2 parts eggs:3 parts sugar

225 grams high-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
28 grams unsalted butter
150 grams granulated sugar
2 large eggs
6 grams peppermint flavor
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Arrange 12 shallow paper baking cups (sturdy ones that don't need to be in a muffin tin) on a baking pan.

In a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is almost completely smooth. Off the heat, continue to stir the chocolate until fully melted and smooth. Set aside to cool. (You can also do this in the microwave, stirring every ten seconds.)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the sugar, eggs and peppermint flavor on high speed to ribbon stage (the eggs are thick and pale, and drop off the whisk in ribbons). With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the melted chocolate, mixing until fully combined. Scrape down the bowl. Add the baking powder and salt and mix just to combine.

At this point, the batter may be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Prior to baking, microwave the batter just until it warms up enough to be pourable, but isn't hot. Proceed with recipe.

Scoop two heaping tablespoons of batter into each baking cup. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the surface of the brownies are cracked and dry and center feels soft, but not liquid, to the touch. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

21 comments:

  1. Your flourless brownies look perfect, I am definitely going to try these - I love a flourless torte and I imagine these the perfect rich dark chocolate flavor. Hope everyone is feeling better soon!

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  2. These look perfect! Love how simple they are, and chocolate-y!

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  3. These look so great and I love the simplicity - definitely going on my to make list. Plus I love anything chocolate with mint!

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  4. I love these - they look so amazing with their crust and richness. And what a genius idea to bake them in the cups to have maximum crust. I love it! I really hope you and your family get to feeling better very soon. It's no fun when anyone is sick - especially Mom when she's having to take care of everyone else too. Good luck!

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  5. Love your pictures!! Makes me really, really want one of your minty brownies... NOW!

    Hope your family is back to healthy soon!
    Blessings, ~Mrs. R

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  6. Your photos are amazing! Even while sick and taking care of others... WOW! I hope everyone feels better soon. :) I agree, the chewy edge to melting center is the best, so I have to try these. I like my brownies to be like baked fudge. Mmmmmm....

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  7. Love it. Not that you're sick, or that you're dealing with sick kids... but I love your post because I've been there! Also because we are in sync this month with the peppermint brownies. Yours look and sound awesome. Also love the photos! Feel better soon.

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  8. Looks like a good recipe for recovery to me---who can resist milk and brownies!

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  9. I didn't even think about skipping the flour!

    I hope you all get better soon!

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  10. Hope you are all feeling better real soon Tara, there's nothing worst than sick kids AND sick mama. Your brownies look fab too xx

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  11. Your food photography is superb. And pass one of those flourless mint chocolate brownies on over here!

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  12. Love the photos. Milk is definitely key! NOM.

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  13. Tara, once again you are an inspiration with your winning recipes and outstanding blog posts. I'm sorry you're not feeling as awesome as you could, and I totally understand that when you're sick... blogging is the last thing you want to do.

    But you did it, and you graced us with a bangin' recipe. (Besides, didn't you know that chocolate - and thus, brownies - are good for a sniffly household? 100% Fact. :p)

    Feel better, and I hope to see you again for the next GFRR!!!

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  14. Love the photography (especially the one of the empty glass of milk) and the anecdote about ugly brownies never being useless. So true. Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe, a slice of your life, and the energy to participate in this month's Rally and contribute a wonderfully endearing post. Sending you healing energy!

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  15. Bet you didn't even know you've just given me the opportunity to make brownies during passover!!!!! YIPPPEEEE.
    I don't have a muffin tin amongst my Passover dishes, so I'll have to do an 8x8 pan. I'll have to report back.
    Thank you, and feel better!

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  16. Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments - both for the brownies and my family's health! After a good three weeks of passing germs back and forth, we seem to have finally beaten the nasty bug. And with good timing, too, since the weather has turned gorgeous and it's school vacation week!

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