I was always under the impression that gluten free meant taste free. I came to this conclusion seven years ago when I had planned to make brownies for some of my students for the last day of term. One of them, Julie, had recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease (a common digestive condition where a person has an adverse reaction to gluten) and so off I went to my local Tesco to hunt down some gluten free goodies so that Julie could also join in with our end of term celebrations. The GW isn't one to exclude.
There wasn't a great deal of choice on offer so I grabbed what I could - a box of brownies and some biscuits if I remember rightly. I also recall thinking they looked so very tasty and tantalising on the box.
I have two words for you, Warriors - FALSE ADVERTISING! If I hadn't have had the brownie in my hand and witnessed them with my very own eyes I would have sworn I had just bitten into a slice of soggy cardboard. Julie, bless her, took it all in good humour as she and I spat out a mouthful of brownie almost simultaneously.
Ever since that I have been highly suspicious of all things gluten free and have avoided them like badgers avoid saunas.
Times move on and so, it would seem, has the range of gluten free products available on the market. Entire sections in supermarkets are now devoted to providing a wide variety of alternatives, sweet and savoury.
This was good news indeed for my dear friend Colleen whose son, Kyle, was recently diagnosed with Coeliac disease. When visiting with them in Philadelphia a few weeks back Colleen suggested we bake something gluten-free in honour of Kyle. I hesitated, but only for the briefest of moments: all long held gluten-free prejudices soon melted into insignificance when Kyle looked up at me expectantly, with those big brown eyes. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a handsome young man.
The general consensus was that brownies were the way to go and we chose THIS gluten-free brownie recipe from Martha Stewart. The only changes we made were to ditch the pecans and throw in some extra plain chocolate chips and a whole lot of mint chocolate chips. (Note: as far as I'm aware we don't have mint chocolate cooking chips here in the UK so I would simply buy a mint choc chip choc bar and cut it into little chunks. OR add whatever the heck kind of choc chips that you like! Milk, dark, smarties, M & M's... it all works and it works goooood!!)
I really need to stress that although these brownies are aimed at the gluten-free market I would not hesitate to recommend them to every man, woman and child. Such is their denseness, decadence and overall deliciousness!
Still not convinced?
For an informative and entertaining step-by-step guide on how to make the brownies watch the video at the top of the page. You will love my very capable and adorable mini-baking assistants, Kenzie and Kyle! Kenzie has been making YouTube videos with Colleen since she was a baby and is quite the natural as you will see!