I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

March 19, 2011

Bestest Brownies

These brownies are dedicated to Celia from figjamandlimecordial who came up with the original recipe which she developed for her friend Pete, who is a coeliac.

A while back the clever Celia posted about her delicious gluten free brownies that she made that were to be a fantastic Brownie in their own right, not just an OK substitute for 'normal' ones. So often us InTolerants are left out, and end up with the fruit plate or something else not quite as exciting as the 'normal' dessert options.

I love Celia's recipes so I made these, and guess what, they WERE fantastic! I played around with the recipe just a bit by putting some cherries in the bottom of the dish, and serving them with some vanilla ice cream with caramelised cherry balsamic vinegar swirled through. WOW! I also served up some cherry wine on the side for sipping, and I assure you dearest Readers, I was one happy little chef.

As you can imagine, any good brownie should be slightly gooey and incredibly rich. As such having leftovers is to be expected and I either freeze them or share the love by scattering them around at work. It always surprises me that these other chefs are astonished when presented with a great gluten free dessert. I'm astonished that they're close minded enough to be astonished in the first place! Needless to say, they all loved them.

This led to a discussion about InTolerance cooking in general, and how hard it was - in their minds- to cater for it. The others thought that dairy free would be the hardest to deal with, but I decided to set them straight. I had to use the brownie as my example, they had all just tasted it to rave reviews, so they would have something to compare my dairy free one to as well.

1/2 cup of oil, use hazelnut, ricebran or nut or neutral flavour
250g Sweet William Chocolate, It's dairy, gluten and nut free
3/4cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/4 cup chestnut flour, if you have nut issues, use a plain gfree blend
1/4 cup of good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup of raspberry jam
3/4 cup or so of raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 175*C

2. In a medium saucepan, place the oil and chocolate and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Take off the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined.

3. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Sift in the chestnut flour and cocoa all at once and stir until you can feel the mixture go stiffer and get nice and shiny instead of grainy
This is how Celia describes it "The batter starts out grainy and fairly loose. As you beat it by hand, it will initially feel like nothing is happening, and then it will suddenly feel a bit stiffer – that’s when you’ll know a state change has occurred. This might take one minute, or it might take several. Stop occasionally to check how it’s going. Unlike true fudge, it’s not a huge “snap”, but the texture will definitely change noticeably – it will feel stiffer, look smoother, and pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan."

4. Tip and smooth about half the batter into a lined pan. Scatter the raspberries on top and dollop on some of the jam. Put the rest of the mixture on, dollop on the rest of the jam and 'swirl' it through the top layer with a skewer. Smooth the top.

5. Bake for 25 minutes until just firm. I let the brownies cool overnight in the fridge before trying to get them out and slice them. They are very sticky and waay to gooey otherwise. Once sliced, let your brownies come back to room temperature before eating them. This way you get the most out of all the fantastic flavours.

And what did my fellow chefs think?
"Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum! "

They were even more blown away with this recipe. The result was to whet some appetites and hopefully open some minds. You can have great results without using any gluten or dairy at all. or compromising on flavour or texture.

Some of the boys bravely came back for seconds, something you may or may not choose to do, based on whether or not you love a good sugar rush!

So dearest Reader, do you have any great tips for InTolerant cooking?


  1. Oh my this does look delicious. and your cherry accompaniments sound perfect.
    I have a few friends with different intolerances and i always like to make sure i make them something fantastic when they come visit, so recipes like this i like to keep in mind. I have been looking for chestnut flour locally but i believe i need to venture further to find it :)

  2. MMMMMMMM,..;I already loved Celkia's recipe a lot but I love yours even more!! You clever girl!!

    MMMMMMMM,.. A real & pure delight! You rock!!!

  3. I saw Celias brownies too & loved that she kept at it till she got it just right & wondered if you'd take things to the next level and you have. Excellent .... Celia's recipes are wonderful aren't they, I'm a big fan, but this dear.... is mouth watering :)

  4. Becca, thank you for playing with the recipe (and the lovely shout-out) - I hope it can form the basis of all sorts of genius gf desserts for you! And it's really good to know the recipe works with oil as well!

    PS. that's the chestnut flour I used, would love to know if you come up with other clever things to do with it as well. Another gf blogger tried it in gnocchi and was really pleased with the result:


  5. Ooooh lordy, gooey goodness!! I have been working on my own 'healthy' brownie recipe (don't laugh ;) ) & they may end up being gluten free. & they also use raspberries. Such a great addition, imo. Thanks for the recipe! Beautiful Brownie Monday perhaps, must get my hands on some.
    Heidi xo

  6. seriously?? this is brilliant!!!! Where did you get the chestnut flour from?

    My way of dealing with intolerant cooking has been to "TRY!" Sure I have had some fails, but I learn from them and have fun in the process :)

  7. Oh they looks so moist, Mmmmm I will take in every word you say about this being the Bestest Brownies :) And gluten-free, what a feat!

  8. I've made these and they are the bomb! I didn't use raspberries but they were so, so good!

  9. Oh my! This recipe looks divine! I love the use of the Hazelnut flour in these. I will have to try them for sure! I am always on the eternal perfect brownie quest!

  10. I love the raspberry "field" on brownies :)

  11. What a great recipe! And the chestnut flour looks very interesting! I'll try that one as soon as I've finished the tigernut flour. :)

  12. I must try baking with chestnut flour! The brownies look the bestest of all!!

  13. I have a friend who is both lactose and gluten intolerant, so these would be great; but they'd also be great for me! :)

  14. I love how you say they're the bestest. I can't really think of any way anyone could fault this then! :) Looks decadent, and deliciously fudgey- I approve!!!

  15. I am eating a piece of the very same brownies (Celia's recipe) as I read this. Ok, I admit it, I went and got a piece as soon as I started reading your blog. Sigh. So suggestable!

  16. These really are fantastic Readers!
    I'm glad you like them. The chestnut flour is lovely and sweet, I've never used it before, but will have fun trying other recipes with it. Any suggestions?

    Lisa, I got the flour at the Belconen Markets at the deli near the playground. It was $10 for 1/2 a kilo.

    Good luck with the healthy brownie Heidi, what about subbing apple puree for the oil or eggs?

    I still have brownies in the freezer, and have to avert my eyes each time I go after the frozen peas....