Fudgey Almond Swirl Brownies (Gluten-Free)

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My husband and I are part of a couples group where there are 3 vegans, 1 vegetarian and one who’s gluten-free. Throw our kids into the mix when we gather as full families and you can add peanut, cashew, pistachio and mango allergies to the mix. It sort of sounds like a bad joke, doesn’t it? But in all seriousness, we always have an awesome time together and we eat darn well. A few months ago we went to Santa Cruz for a weekend getaway (we took our kids) and we ate like royalty! Think made-to-order tofu scrambles, vegan & g-f chocolate banana swirl bread, g-f hot cereal with tons of nutritional mix-ins, tofu tacos and chili over rice.

In anticipation of our next gathering, I wanted to whip up something decadent that would suit all our dietary needs. I turned to one of the best food blogs out there, Manifest Vegan, for inspiration. Allyson Kramer’s site is 100% vegan, gluten-free. Her recipes are inventive while keeping the element of familiarity that makes food nostalgic and memorable. The science behind her cooking is enlightening. And her photos are drool-worthy and pure eye candy. Please go visit her site and see what I mean. It will become one of your bookmarked favorites for sure!

I looked to her recipe for “Ultimate Fudgey Brownies” and went from there. I swapped out a few ingredients (guar instead of  xantham, flax instead of chia, glutinous rice flour instead of potato starch, almond milk instead of coffee) and then topped the brownies with a twist of my own making. Allyson recommends using a metal pan for this recipe, saying that it will give the brownies the best texture. She says if you need to use glass, then reduce the oven temperature to about 300 degrees and  bake for a tad longer than 50 minutes.

These brownies are rich in flavor, beyond decadent, and quite mature-looking with the almonds and powdered sugar, don’t you think? It’s like a brownie for the discerning adult. : ) But trust me, you will look like a goofy kid in a candy store when you bite into this deliciousness!

Here’s what you’ll need.

For the brownie batter:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 cup organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy margarine (I used Earth Balance buttery stick)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 flax seed “eggs” (2 tablespoons ground flax seed meal mixed with 6 tablespoons warm water)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla

For the almond topping:

  • 1/3 cup creamy almond butter (not raw)
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance stick
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • sprinkling of granulated sugar
  • dusting of powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 metal pan.

In an electric mixer, whisk together the brown rice flour, almond meal, glutinous rice flour, sorghum flour, guar gum, baking soda and salt.

In a large heat-safe mixing bowl, pour the chocolate chips and set aside.

Place the sugar, Earth Balance and 1/4 cup of the almond milk into a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring continuously.  Once boiling, remove the mixture from heat and pour it directly on top of the chocolate chips, stirring quickly to combine thoroughly. It will thicken into what looks like fudge but don’t dismay; the batter will still end up smooth and pourable in the end. Just be sure to work quickly. Next, pour the chocolate mixture in with the flours. Add the flax eggs and vanilla and mix it all together on medium-high speed until smooth. Finally, add in the additional 1/4 cup of almond milk and mix again until consistent and smooth.

In another small saucepan, heat the almond butter and tbsp of Earth Balance until completely melted and combined.

Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan (it will be sticky but you’ll be thankful for that later!) and then drizzle the almond butter mixture on top. Using a butter knife, swirl it into the brownie batter until the whole pan has been swirled together.

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Bake for 15 minutes, then pull the oven rack out and using a spoon, evenly sprinkle the brownies with the sliced almonds. Then sprinkle the granulated sugar on top of the sliced almonds. Push the pan back into the oven and bake for another 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the brownies cool completely before cutting them into squares and dusting with powdered sugar.

Happy eating, and thanks again to Manifest Vegan!

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