My cousin Kelly is 6 months pregnant. She’s ecstatic and glowing and oh-so cute in her little dresses that show off a growing belly (and for once, the long-time “Kelly belly” nickname actually makes some sense).
Anyways, I made these brownies a few days ago for her birthday. I thought about what I would want if I were pregnant. From what I hear, the closest I’ve ever come to that experience is the whole “that time of the month” situation. The bloating. The mood swings. The chocolate cravings. Oh — chocolate! (Sorry to my male readers — all 3 of you? — for having to endure the “girl talk” in this post).
Yes, I believe that if I were six months pregnant, I would most certainly want something very chocolaty. Pretty much all the time. So of course I thought I had hit the jackpot of birthday treat ideas, until about halfway through the recipe when I realized that chocolate contains caffeine and pregnant women are supposed to limit caffeine intake. Pregnancy gift faux-pas? My research says no; chocolate in moderation is perfectly O.K. and perhaps even beneficial. Phew. But I suppose a whole pan of brownies to keep for myself wouldn’t be the worst thing ever…
Of course, I did test a few of the brownies on my fellow housemates before pawning them off to unsuspecting pregnant people. For those not keeping track, my “housemates” currently include my parents, husband and three dogs. Though not to worry, I didn’t test the brownies on the dogs (much to their dismay).
The brownies got a universal thumbs-up and were deemed “very chocolaty.” Perhaps I really was channeling my inner pregnant woman. I did add a tablespoon of coffee substitute to the batter, as I’ve learned from my days as an Ina geek that coffee brings the chocolate out of chocolate dishes, adding intensity to the flavor. Again, keeping my audience in mind, I steered clear of real coffee and went with the fake stuff (which is surprising good in its own right, I must say).
And thus completes yet another gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free brownie adventure in my kitchen. With this recipe, I think my brownie count on this site is at six. I don’t know what it is with me and brownies. Truth be told, I think it’s the fact that every time I set out to make an old recipe, I’m out an ingredient and with that, a whole new recipe is born. Apparently, I can get very creative when I’m craving chocolate.
For a twist, I sprinkled these with chopped walnuts and gluten-free chocolate chips . It makes for a pretty presentation and adds a nice nutty flavor and crunch. Of course, these would also be good with more coarsely chopped nuts mixed into the batter.
Makes: 1 8×8″ pan (about 9 medium-large or 12 small squares)
Gluten-Free Very Chocolate Brownies:
¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill brown rice flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon dry Ener-G egg replacer
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant coffee or gluten-free grain coffee substitute*
¾ cup applesauce
¾ cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup coconut oil (liquefied), plus more for greasing
1/4 cup crushed walnuts and 2 tbsp. gluten-free chocolate chips (optional) for topping
* I used Dandy Blend instant herbal coffee substitute.