Brownies for Valentine’s Day

As soon as I saw Melissa Clark’s recipe for Olive Oil and Coconut Brownies in the NY Times last week I knew I would have to try it ASAP. I’m always a sucker for sweets made with olive oil, and the idea of sprinkling salt on top of brownies had me instantly salivating. So this weekend, with my dad staying with us and a group of friends coming over for dinner, I pulled out my measuring cups and gluten-free flours, and adapted Melissa Clark’s recipe. These brownies did not disappoint anyone. Gooey and chocolate fudgy with a salty coconut crust and a slight savory hint of olive oil, they are completely irresistible. I packed up most the leftovers and sent them back to NH with my dad as a Valentine’s Day treat for the family, because I knew it wasn’t a good idea to leave me here alone with a pan full of them.

Gluten-Free Olive Oil and Coconut Brownies
adapted from The New York Times
makes about 2 dozen brownies

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup olive oil
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks, lightly whisked
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
about 2 tsp. kosher salt (or fleur de sel if you have it)

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a 9×13 baking pan by greasing it with olive oil then lining it with parchment paper. (You really do need the parchment paper, I forgot it when I made my batch and suffered the consequences of brownies sticking to the pan.)

In a small bowl, combine the flours and the almond meal.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with the boiling water until smooth, then whisk in the chopped chocolate. Most the chocolate should melt, but don’t worry about any chunks that don’t, it’ll be good that way. Whisk in the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

Once the wet ingredients are well combined, stir in the flour mixture and mix well. Pour into prepared baking pan, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Carefully (and slowly) sprinkle the shredded coconut over the top of the batter, making sure to cover it as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the salt on top as well, working in a systematic way from top to bottom so you know where you’ve already salted (since you won’t be able to see the salt on top of the coconut). Don’t be afraid to be generous with the salt! Trust me, it’s an important ingredient.

Bake until the coconut is golden-brown on top and the batter is set, about 35 minutes. Don’t bother with a knife or toothpick test for these brownies, it shouldn’t come out clean.

Let the brownies cool completely before cutting into 2 inch squares for serving.

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