On the sidebar to the right I have a little blurb about myself. You may not have read it, or not read it in awhile, but it lets you know what to expect here on Food To Glow. Along with telling you that I am an “ex-pat American cancer health educator with a taste for global food made with fresh, seasonal British ingredients”, it adds a crucial element: “you will find the occasional decadent treat – usually with a healthy tweak”.
Today’s recipe fulfils this oft neglected sentence. Today’s brownie recipe is properly decadent. It is most definitely a treat. And the tweak is properly healthy. Actually two tweaks.
If you have a gluten-intolerant loved one who loves brownies, this recipe is for them. And you. Made with a wholegrain and gluten-free flour (I know!), these are every bit as chocolatey, fudgy and more-ish as those made with wheat flour. It may have something to do with the real butter and real sugar… 😉
The other tweak is the addition of chaga. Yes, the king of medicinal mushrooms is in these ooey gooey brownies. And you can’t tell. Known for stimulating the immune system, reducing inflammation, reducing fatigue, possibly protecting the liver and very probably preventing and inhibiting some types of cancer, chaga is undergoing more human studies to establish just how useful it is. Before you think, oh this sounds fab I will chuck it in everything, chaga is high in oxalates so hinders the absorption of some nutrients. But luckily a little goes a long way. Here is the lowdown from trusted site, mskcc.org on the ins and outs of this funky Siberian mushroom. And here is a specific study of the anticancer effects of chaga.
You don’t have to add chaga to these brownies, but if you have this potent brown powder kicking around in your kitchen cabinet, why not add some? I add a teaspoon of it to smoothies all of the time. This and bee pollen are my smoothie add-in mainstays.
As for the gluten-free flour, it is a revelation, and I would recommend any coeliacs getting their hands on it. The brainchild of UK food blogger and scientist, Vicki Montague – the Free From Fairy – this flour is fantastic. And properly wholesome – unlike many brands I have seen.
As someone with a child who is a diagnosed coeliac and who herself has IBS, biochemist and foodie Vicki’s search for a commercial wholegrain flour suitable for her family was fruitless. So she set about creating her own. Vicki says of her flour that it is a “unique wholegrain, multi-purpose, rice-free, gluten-free flour blend that is also great for those with sensitive tummies and IBS since it contains no high FODMAP flours and no gums or strange-sounding ingredient.”
I haven’t done this myself, but it can be used to make baguettes, focaccia, muffins, pastry, croissants, cookies, pasties and even egg-pasta. Go have a look at how to buy the flour and what you can create with it. Even though none of us here at Food To Glow have a gluten-intolerance, I like the idea of adding more and different whole grains wherever I can, especially when they work as well as this.
If you are wanting to make some food gifts in the lead up to Christmas, why not give these a try? Make double and keep some for yourself.
For other food gift ideas, I have a few ideas – paired with cookbooks that complement.
- Spice lover’s choice, Rose Harissa. I make a double batch and store it in little freezer bags, but obviously pop some in pretty, labelled jars for gifting. While not a North African cookbook, Sabrina Ghayour’s wonderful and critically acclaimed Sirocco and Persiana cookbooks are a must for lovers of spice and intense flavours.
- Raspberry Vinegar + Rhubarb and Cranberry Chutney + Chipotle Mayonnaise (homemade and only takes 5 minutes!) + Provencal Herb Mustard – any and all of these would make a super gift for those who love tangy tastes. Forgive the old images. If the giftee likes to cook, pair your foodie treats with The Modern Preserver, by Kylee Newton.
- For anyone who loves Scandi-noir telly, or is well into hygge, my Scandinavian Multi-seed Crispbreads would be fabelagtig. And give them How To Hygge: The Secrets to Nordic Living from the ridiculously beautiful and talented Signe Johansen to go with it.
- Raspberry Rose Pink Peppercorn Bites are quite pink and pretty, but with gluten-free whole food ingredients – perfect for the clean-eating teen on your list. Get Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton for yourself or as a hint to that clean-eating teen to get in the kitchen.
- Spicy Seaweed Popcorn is for anyone who likes to be on top of the latest food trends. Seaweed is still a big thing and set to stay that way in 2017. Give a bumper bag of this spicy treat along with a copy of Xa Milne’s, The Seaweed Cookbook (I’ve got a recipe in it).
- Sunflower Butter and Slow-Baked Granola would be fab for anyone who likes to start the day with a bowl of something sweet yet healthy. I make all of my nut butters (and loads more) in my Optimum 9400 Froothie power blender. This book, from the husband and wife team behind the brilliant Green Kitchen Stories, has some fantastic recipes to put your Froothie blender – or any other high speed blender -through its paces.
I’ll be back soon with a zesty salsa/relish to jazz up your Christmas leftovers. Have a fantastic week!
Orange and Double Chocolate Brownies
If you have a gluten-intolerant loved one who loves brownies, this recipe is for them. And you. Made with a wholegrain and gluten-free flour (I know!), these are every bit as chocolatey, fudgy and more-ish as those made with wheat flour. It may have something to do with the real butter and real sugar…
3. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs, stirring vigorously. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and zest and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat enthusiastically for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon. You’ll get a workout. Fold in most of the chocolate chips.
4. Pour the batter into the lined and oiled pan, dropping on any remaining chocolate chips. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes for a very soft, gooey texture (shown) or 17-18 for a slightly firmer brownie. Allow to cool at room temperature before lifting the papaer from the pan and cutting the brownies generously (9 pieces), or more healthily (16 pieces). Keeps for about 5 days.
**PS: I use my Optimum 9400 Froothie power blender daily for work and home. If you want to make your own flours, nut butters, power balls, smoothies, cocktails, super smooth sauces, purees and soups like this (and loads more), use my ambassador link to get free delivery (UK) and a great machine. The main Froothie site has many inventive and healthy recipes to inspire you, including ones from me. If you order for Christmas do write “1611” and “free ambassador delivery” in the comment section of the order. Delivery will be credited back to your card. HAPPY BLENDING!**
Disclosure: Although this post has links to Amazon, I don’t use affiliate links. And I was given a bag of flour to use as I wished; I was not compensated for this post. I like to support small UK food businesses whose products are a good fit for Food To Glow.
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