Converting this old favorite to gluten-free wasn’t too difficult (it doesn’t contain much flour). Getting rid of dairy and corn is a bit trickier . . . Baking without butter really isn’t the same, but today I tried palm oil shortening. [In case you didn’t know, Crisco, which used to be just soybean and cottonseed oils, now contains citric acid from corn and a chemical preservative derived from butane!] Corn also hides in vanilla extract and (possibly) xanthan gum; guar gum is a non-corn substitute thickener for the xanthan gum. So technically, I haven’t yet made this entirely corn-free, because the Penzey’s Vanilla, which I LOVE, is made with corn-based alcohol. I’ll be trying out homemade vanilla recipes soon! Please let me know if you know of a source for reasonably-priced guaranteed corn-free vanilla.
Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies
redux:the gluten-free, corn-free, dairy-free edition
I learned of this recipe in Laurie Colwin’s lovely literary cookbook More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen and have used and adapted it for years. Now that I’ve tried a version without gluten, corn, or dairy products, I figure I’ve altered it enough to post here. BTW, technically there’s a bit of corn in the alcohol & sugar in the vanilla extract (but I’m already researching recipes for homemade vanilla to get around that in the future!).
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or shortening [I used Spectrum’s Organic Shortening which is made from palm oil]
- 2 squares (2 oz.) unsweetened baking chocolate
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract [corn-free if you can find it or make it]
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour or gluten-free substitute [I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour]
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum [if using GF flour]
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) [I left these out]
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease and flour the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan. [For easier brownie removal, especially when making gluten-free brownies, grease the pan and then line with parchment paper wide enough to cover the bottom of the pan and long enough to come up above two sides of the pan. Once the brownies are cool, you can just lift by the paper handles and remove the whole thing to a board for cutting.]
In the top of a double-boiler (or over very low heat) melt together the butter/shortening and the chocolate. Once both are completely melted, remove the pan from the heat.
Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Mix well.
Stir in the eggs. Mix well.
Stir in the flour and salt. Mix well. [If you are using gluten-free flour add 1/4 tsp of guar gum or xanthan gum.]
Add nuts if using.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing, cutting and eating.
Copyright © 2011, Lucinda DeWitt