Wednesday, December 29, 2010

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Crunchy Brownies~ A GFCF comedy of errors

A couple of days ago I wanted cookies. I mean, I really really wanted cookies. But I have mentioned before the extreme guilt I have when I make a treat and it's not Logan safe. So, after obsessing about cookies for most of the day, I began to formulate a plan in my brain. You would think I would have learned my lesson by now. But I haven't. And this is where things start to go down hill.

Do any of y'all remember that episode of I Love Lucy, where she bakes bread, and winds up having a loaf the size of a New York City block? Keep that in mind as you continue reading my adventure.
So, the brilliant idea I had was, I would use a classic peanut butter cookie recipe. BUT, I would substitute Nutella for the peanut butter, because Logan tolerates that VERY well. And I would substitute a rice/potato/tapioca flour blend for the wheat flour.  And I would use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks instead of butter. And I would use egg replacer instead of real eggs. But I wanted a chewy cookie, almost like  "brownie bite", so I increased the egg replacer equivalent to double the eggs.  Sometimes, you should just leave things well enough alone.

I mixed up my dough. It was heaven before it was ever baked. The flavor was incredible, and the monsters wouldn't stay out of it.  I was all kinds of sure of myself. It wasn't grainy, as things made with rice flour tend to be.  So I made my little balls of dough, put them on a greased cookie pan ( mistake # 4,367 with this recipe), and slid them in to the oven to bake.

The house began to smell like a cross between a bakery and a chocolate shop. We were salivating and anxiously awaiting the cookies that would, undoubtedly, come out of the oven ready to be photographed by the Food Network. I was practicing my version of Paula Deen, the GFCF way.

The timer beeped. Now. Remember. In real life, away from this blog, I am a total baker. I LOVE to bake. I adapt recipes all the time. Well, all the ones that are not GFCF. And I generally have favorable results. I created an oatmeal cookie recipe for Logan that the family adores. I have had exposure to my kitchen. We get along well. However. This whole GFCF thing has made me believe that I don't know a thing.

OK. Back to the story. The timer beeped. We all ran to the kitchen to be a part of the unveiling of my GFCF chocolate cookie masterpiece. I opened the oven. My palms were sweaty. I  took a breath, readying myself for the applause, the ohs and ahs that my monsters would surely be unable to hold back.

I reached into the oven with a mitt-clad hand. And pulled out a pan of what looked like boiled Hershey's syrup. I'm serious.  But, I was not discouraged. After all, I'm a baker! Surely this simply meant I just needed more flour. So, I went to the bowl of  unbaked chocolate heaven and added more rice/potato/tapioca flour mix. But then I thought, that will mess up the whole vision of a chewy "brownie bite". So I also added a half cup of almond milk. Then I got a 9x13 cake pan, remembered NOT to grease it, pressed the dough into it, set the timer for 20 minutes, and went off to play on twitter a while do research for the blog.

Once again, the timer beeped. The house was virtually saturated with the perfume of chocolate. The warmth of the oven created ambiance you couldn't recreate if you hired a professional. I just KNEW this was going to turn out well. I was still practicing my lines for my role as the GFCF Paula Deen as I slipped on the oven mitt once more.

I opened the oven door. I slid the pan out. It was REALLY liquidy, with a crunchy topping. I considered wrapping the top in foil to let the mess continue to steam cook, but I didn't. When it cooled, we tasted. It was so extremely good. The top was crunchy, like a lacey cookie would be crunchy.  The inside was fudgy, like a slightly under baked fudge brownie. I was OK with all of that. The entire Monster House was OK with all of that.

Now here's what I did NOT like about it. The thing had "sugared" while baking. If you've ever made fudge and had it "sugar" on you, you'll know what I mean. It was grainy. It was gritty. The flavor was still there, but the texture of it was more than I could handle. It disappeared quickly, the fam made sure of that. But I am far from satisfied with this Crunchy Brownie experience.

I need a GFCF babysitter. OK, all you well informed bakers. What did I do wrong? Besides changing the whole dang recipe and messing with things I know nothing about? My flour mix is as follows: ! pound rice flour, 1 pound Potato Flour, 1/2 pound tapioca flour mixed together. When the recipe called for 2-1/2 cups flour, I used 2-1/2 cups of that flour blend,. plus another cup later for the second attempt.

Really. I'm begging here. HELP ME!! I need an intervention or a babysitter or a tutor, or SOMETHING.



Unknown said...

I love your writing, hilarious ;)

Aryn said...

I definitely understand your predicament :). My son is four, has autism, and is also on the GF/CF diet. Some things I make turn out wonderful, others end up in the garbage; I have a love/hate relationship with gluten free stuffs. I use 1 1/2 cup sorghum flour, 1 1/2 cup potato starch, 1 cup tapioca flour, and 1/2 cup coconut flour. To me it has a similar texture to regular wheat flour. The coconut flour absorbs more liquid, and I find my breads/cookies rise better. I don't know. I'm still working on it. You have a wonderful blog by the way :).

Tracey said...

So funny !! I love your blog..

This side of Typical said...

I am so right there with you! we are just GF ar present, but it's still messin' up my baking mojo. Anyway, I can't find it right now, but i found a recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies. It was something like peanut butter, eggs & sugar. I'll look--but you might wanna give that a whirl (with egg replacer, of course)

And have you tried millet flour? It's light but not as grainy. and you can make your own in a blender.

Hartley said...

Hi there -

GFCF is super challenging to master (and to modify on a whim). I just had one of my recipes published in the new Cake Doctor Bakes Gluten Free cookbook, you should check it out.

There are some FANTASTIC recipes, awesome cookies, brownies and MORE all that are made from a simple mix. You can even use the Better Crocker one that is available at virtually all stores. I keep them stocked in my pantry (we are not GFCF, but we know many kids that are!).

Good luck - next time!

Caryn said...

I've seen all the GF Betty Crocker mixes. I am so pleased that it's becoming more main stream. We cannot use mixes of any kind because of the corn and soy products in them. Therefore, virtually everything we do for Logan has to be made from scratch.

I will definitely check out the cook book you mentioned. Thanks for the info!

Bubbe said...

Well, I cannot advise as my "sugar cookies" became "sand dollars" which my sister swears are among her favorite cookies. They tasted good but were slightly gritty (despite letting the rice flour soak in the liquids). AND, they ran. Every one ended up a perfect circle despite my originally cutting them out with cookie cutters into all sorts of cute shapes.

It's so experimental! That's why I typically keep to naturally gf/cf recipes. No swaps, just never had it in the first place. Like meringues. Yes, I know... eggs... can't do it, but I'll eat Logan's share :-)

Tam said...

Dunno about the rest, but generally speaking, more eggs means more cake-like, not more chewy, so that was the first mistake.

Nutella tends to caramelize in the oven, whereas peanut butter does not, so I don't think you can 1-1 substitute them.

My cousin makes an awesome Nutella cookie, so perhaps you can try altering her recipe (you can leave off the colored sugar/kisses and just go for the base cookie):

jillsmo said...

I can't help you, but... that was funny. :)

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