Back in February, when the weather was still cold and snowy, we decided to throw a winter chili party. We figured that it would be a great way to get everyone together and shake away the winter blues with some warm chili and lots of wine. We invited our friends who live in the city and made two big batches of chili: a Moroccan beef chili with raisins (that I will share with you at some point) and Steve’s vegetable chili. As always we made too much and had chili in the freezer for weeks afterwards. But it was worth it. The party was a hit. Everyone loved the food and, more importantly, the chance to hang out with everyone and catch up (or in some cases, meet for the first time).
When it came time for dessert, I wanted to give people a couple of options. So, I made my mom’s pasta flora and for the second option, I decided to try a recipe I had bookmarked months before and was always curious about. It’s a recipe for brownies that uses only ground almonds and no flour at all (so it’s naturally gluten free). I’ll be honest, I didn’t think they would come out that great but I was really wrong. More than one person at the party (including myself) proclaimed them some of the best brownies they’ve ever had. They have a deeply rich chocolate taste and they’re chewy with a crackly top. The almond flour gives them a pretty unique texture that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced in a brownie before. And the best part? They are made in a single bowl with just a wooden spoon (or sturdy spatula).
Almond Flour Brownies (Gluten Free) – Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes 9 large or 12-16 smaller brownies
Note: This recipe is all about the cocoa you use. Choose a good brand (like Valrhona) of cocoa.
1 3/4 cups sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-process or natural
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups almond flour
3 large eggs
Flaky sea salt for topping (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8″ square pan or 9″ round pan; either should be at least 2″ deep. Place parchment paper in the pan, letting it overhang on both sides, to make it easier to remove brownies.
Place the sugar, butter, and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for about 2 minutes, stopping it every 30 seconds and mixing it with a wooden spoon or a very sturdy spatula.
Add the vanilla and cocoa to the sugar mixture and using the wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, mix them well. Add the baking powder and almond flour and mix with the spoon/spatula until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be getting quite thick.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add the eggs to the sugar/cocoa/butter mixture and use the spoon/spatula to mix them until the batter becomes looser and shiny.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges. Sprinkle a few flakes of flaky sea salt on top (optional).
Bake the brownies for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is set and the middle still feels a little wobbly when you touch it (the edges will be more set). A cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center will come out with wet crumbs.
Remove the brownies from the oven and cool them for about 15 minutes before cutting. Once the brownies are cool, cover them tightly with plastic. Store at room temperature for several days or freeze for longer storage (they are delicious straight out of the freezer).