Chewy, fudgy and with a perfectly thin, crackly top, these gluten-free fudge brownies spiked with orange zest and cinnamon are the perfect way to satisfy your chocolate craving!
Chocolate. I am a better woman, wife, and friend because of you. You make me so so happy! Sure, there was a time, many moons ago, when I used to avoid you like the plague because I fell victim to the evil lie that you would make my skin angry (I had terrible. terrible acne during my teenage years and I had no desire to make things worse). Forgive me, for I was naive. BUT I heart you now.
Ok..just had to have a little conversation with the chocolate.
I am not a chocolate snob. I like all varieties, milk, white (hello Hershey's cookies and cream nuggets), but dark chocolate is where my true fondness lies. I do draw the line at 80% cacao though.
So why all this talk of chocolate? Glad you asked.
Today is the 22nd which means it's "Recipe Redux" day! This month's theme was to share our favorite chocolate matches. I smiled when I read "does your chocolate need a friend?" Why yes...yes it does! Me! Well, I guess I'm more like the enemy since I'll be eating it. #sorrybutnotsorry
This actually turned out to be a rough challenge because chocolate to me is like the most popular girl in school. Who doesn't want to be chummy chummy with it? However, when it comes down to it, I really love the mingling of chocolate with nuts, fruit, and warm spices like cinnamon. Rather than adding dried fruits, which is also delicious, I went with an underutilized part of the fruit - the zest.
While melting chocolate in a double boiler nice and slow is ideal, I don't have the time nor the patience these days. So into the microwave it went. Just make sure to stir every 30 seconds. So velvety..so thick and creamy. Mmm....I truly think I would've had more brownies if I hadn't kept "tasting" as I went.
The ladies at my Bible study group introduced me to the beauty that are flourless brownies. They did warn me though that I would need to beat the batter vigorously until my arm felt like it was about to fall off (2-3 minutes straight) to avoid making flat, crumbly brownies. Scared that I would mess up, I opted to use my handy dandy KitchenAid stand mixer instead.
As you can see, the interior is SUPER fudgy and, of course, I think every good brownie should have a thin, crackly top. Chewy and moist with a bit of crunch from the nuts are what these brownies are all about. The underlying flavor of cinnamon and not so subtle orange zest enhance these treats even further. I like to grate even more zest on top, but you can skip this if you think what's inside is enough. If nothing else, it makes for a gorgeous presentation ;).
I made these fudgy brownies for my small group and the Hungryman's coworkers, and they were definitely a hit! Of course, with both batches, I saved the best pieces for myself - the corners ;).
- 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup almonds toasted and coarsely chopped (or nut of choice)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line the inside of an 8-in (23 cm) square pan with foil so that it goes up the sides to the rim. Lightly grease the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
- Melt the butter, chocolate, and salt in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
- Stir in sugar, then the eggs, one at a time.
- Sift together the cocoa powder and corn starch in a small bowl then stir them into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the orange zest and cinnamon
- Beat the batter vigorously for at least one minute, until the batter is no longer grainy but rather nearly smooth. Or beat it using a hand or stand mixer.
- Add the nuts, then scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the brownies are set in the center. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing.
- Add grated zest on top, if desired.