You Don't Need Flour to Make These Decadent, Fudgy Brownies
If there’s one brownie recipe you need in your life, it’s this one.
If you’re running low on flour, these brownies are for you. If you follow a gluten-free diet, these brownies are likewise for you. And if you have a small stockpile of flour and love gluten (hey, same), these brownies are for you.
I’m saying this because I finally have a fudgy brownie I’d opt for over the box—and it just happens to be flourless.
As far as flourless/gluten-free baking goes, brownies are one of the easiest traditional treats to convert, because they generally don’t need all that much all-purpose flour to begin with. And the primary purpose that AP flour serves in most brownie recipes is easily served by a different ingredient. In this case, we’re turning to another common pantry staple: corn starch. See, we’re not looking to form some major gluten structure here, we more so just need something to help all of the components of our batter bind together into a sliceable bar. And to that end, cornstarch—the silky, flavorless starch that it is—works fantastically.
Another key player in making these Fudgy Flourless Brownies come together seamlessly is cocoa powder. Many a homemade brownie relies solely on melted chocolate for its signature fudgy richness (these recipes also call for more flour), but in my book, a brownie recipe that leans on both cocoa powder and chocolate is the light, the truth, and the way. Unsweetened cocoa powder—which is not diluted by sugar and dairy—actually provides a more intensely concentrated chocolate flavor than melted chocolate can alone. That, and it also provides binding structure for the brownies.
I’ve long said that (for me), a good boxed brownie (A.K.A. Ghirardelli Triple Fudge) beats out the majority of homemade brownies any day. Add in the effortless nature of a box mix, and you’ve got a clear winner. However, that’s all changed. Because not only are these flourless, densely fudge-tastic brownies delicious—they’re so easy to throw together.
Here are a few tips for making the process as foolproof as possible.
GET THE RECIPE: Fudgy Flourless Brownies
Pro-Tips for Baking Flourless Brownies
Make Sure You Have Cornstarch.
Before starting into the recipe, do yourself a favor and take a peek into your pantry to make sure you have enough cornstarch. You’ll need ⅓ cup. While you’re in there, make sure you have ¾ cocoa powder as well.
Natural vs. Dutch Process Cocoa Powder.
They are not the same and oftentimes, substituting one for the other will seriously mess up what you’re baking. Thankfully, that’s not the case today. The recipe calls for unsweetened natural cocoa powder, but if you only have unsweetened Dutch process, it’s A-OK to use it here; your brownies will simply have a slightly softer chocolate flavor. The important thing is that you’re using unsweetened cocoa.
Side note: A good indicator that you need to pause before swapping Dutch process for natural cocoa, and vice versa, is the presence of chemical leaveners (as I noted last week, this entails baking soda and baking powder) in your recipe.
Set Your Eggs Out.
This is one of those recipes where letting your eggs come to room temperature actually makes a difference. Ideally, you’d pull them out of the fridge to hang on the counter 20-30 minutes before you start into brownie making. I like to wrap mine in a kitchen towel to help them get warm and cozy, and to prevent anyone from rolling off of the counter.
Cube Your Butter.
Is the world going to end if you don’t? Surely not. But taking this small extra step allows the butter to melt at a rate that’s more in sync with your chocolate chips. Faster melting butter will make it easier for a homogenous butter-chocolate mixture to form. And that’s what we want, folks.
Weigh Your Chocolate.
If you have a digital kitchen scale, break that sucker out. Measuring your chocolate chips by weight, rather than volume, is a lot easier and better ensures accuracy. P.S.—On the subject of chocolate, I tested this recipe using Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Grand Chips with great results.
One Pot Is All You Need.
OK, one pot plus your measuring implements, a rubber spatula, and a square baking pan. Point is, if you pull out one that’s large enough (a medium-sized saucepan will work), you can make your entire batter right in the pan you used to melt the butter and chocolate. However, if you’d rather, you can also transfer the batter-making process to a mixing bowl after the melting has occurred.
Add the Sugar to a Warm Pot.
I suggest leaving your pot on the warm burner (with the heat turned off) when stirring the white and brown sugar into your butter and chocolate mixture. Residual warmth will encourage all of your ingredients to meld evenly.
It’s obviously not mandatory, but I’d highly encourage stirring in any favorite mix-ins to amp up the personality of your brownies. Chopped up candy bars, toasted pecans or walnuts, or extra chocolate chips are all great options; a heaping half-cup of whatever you choose should do the trick. My go-to (as you can see in the recipe photo) is miniature peanut butter cups stirred in and a sprinkling of flakey sea salt dropped over top of the unbaked batter.
I know this is a real test of patience, but cooling is a critical part of the cooking process. You’ll want to cool your brownies completely in the pan on a wire rack. And for extra-clean cuts, you can pop your pan into the fridge for a bit once the hot-from-the-oven brownies have cooled off slightly.