Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Seriously Good Chocolate Oatmeal Brownies

You know you are really nutty about cooking when your kitchen looks as if all the cabinets have exploded dirty dishes, and there is absolutely no counter space surviving, and yet, you MUST make a batch of brownies...
If you have a fairy dishwasher you can lend me, I would appreciate it!

Michael and I spent last weekend with a dear friend of ours named Betty. When I graduated from college and got my first "real" job, I rented a room from Betty. Betty is in her early 70's and she's one of the spunkiest women I know... she wears cool jeans, travels the world, and has never met a stranger! Betty knows how to truly live. She has no idea how much I admire her for that! Betty makes "70" look like the best time of your life!

While we were visiting, Betty showed me a new cookbook that the local choral society had recently compiled. (I'm easy to please... you show me a new cookbook and I'll be entertained for hours!) Society and church cookbooks are my favorite kind. They are genuine. Cookbooks like this aren't from the pros... they haven't been tested in the Good Housekeeping kitchens... No, these recipes, my friends, were tested in your grandma's kitchen with her wooden spoon, and 50 year old appliances. They are time tested, not expert tested. These are real recipes.

In the back of the cookbook, I happened across an oatmeal brownie recipe, that thankfully would very easily convert to gluten-free. No crazy mix of GF flours are necessary. And using xanthan gum is optional... after all, brownies are meant to be gooey!

This is a great recipe because it is truly easy and would be FANTASTIC for a beginner gluten-free baker. As all of you gluten-free pros know, in the beginning, you most likely will create a few disasters before using all those GF flours gets easier... These brownies have relatively few "weird" gluten-free baking ingredients, and you can mix this all in one bowl! (Excellent for those of us without dishwashers... *sigh*... )

Another great bonus to these brownies is that they are relatively low fat and are much lower in sugar than most brownies! I cut the fat and sugar content by nearly half from the original recipe and they are still fabulous! I also used agave nectar (which I am truly falling in love with) in the place of brown sugar. Agave nectar is wonderful because it does not adversely affect blood sugar levels. Also you only need to use 1/3 cup of agave nectar for every cup of sugar you are replacing!

I also would have cut the white sugar out of this recipe completely, but I think you do need a small amount to retain that yummy "brownie" texture.

I hope you'll give these brownies a try! I'd love to hear what you think of them! Michael, who is always my guinea pig, said they were awesome. He ate two and that's usually a good sign! I won't tell you how many I ate...

Seriously Good Chocolate Oatmeal Brownies

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar (or 1/3 cup brown sugar)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten (or two egg whites)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup low fat vanilla or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup certified gluten-free oatmeal (or quinoa flakes)
  • 1 (6 oz) bag gluten-free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together oil, sugar, agave nectar, egg, yogurt, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Blend in brown rice flour, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum (opt.), and cinnamon (opt.); stir in oats (or quinoa flakes) and chocolate chips. Spread into greased 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting. Brownies will be slightly gooey! Recipe can be easily doubled for a 9x13 pan.

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  1. These brownies are seriously sinful, too!

  2. Total. Yum. I love brownies - they're one of my weaknesses so I don't make them often!

    I'm curious about that agave nectar. How does it compare calorie-wise?

  3. Hi Abby -- from what I could tell on the Madhava Agave Nectar website, 1 Tbsp. has 60 calories, which sounds like a lot... BUT if you contrast that: 1 Tbsp. of sugar has 48 calories, and you only need 1/3 the amount of agave nectar to replace sugar, so 1 TSP. of agave nectar would replace 1 TBSP. of sugar, and 1 TSP of Agave Nectar is only 20 calories, PLUS it doesn't affect your blood sugar like regular sugar does. So you won't get the after effects of feeling enormously sleepy and then totally hungry another hour later like you do with regular really sugary things.. is that too complicated?? ;-) Hope this helps!

  4. Looks like a great use for some GF Oats all right! I have been meaning to make some cookies with my oats, but maybe brownies are in my (near) future too.

  5. Mmmmmmm! These look seriously good!


  6. That picture of your kitchen counter cracked me up. That is my kitchen every day...unless I don't cook. And when does a gluten free cook have a whole day when they don't cook.

  7. Mary Frances-- I'm so glad you commented on my counter chic!! LOL I thought everybody just thought I was incredibly messy and wouldn't tell me! I'm trying to get in a better habit of washing my dishes at least every OTHER day... but geez... when you work 12 hours and come home and cook dinner... dishes just isn't on the to-do list! one day a dishwasher will come my way! LOL I'm glad you laughed!!

  8. Hey! I just made these and they are truly fabulous!! I'm not required to eat gluten-free, but occasionally I enjoy trying my hand at GF baking, b/c I have several friends who are GF, so I like having some recipes I can make for them. These are truly scrumptious. They weren't technically GF b/c I used non-GF oatmeal, but I can't wait to try these with quinoa! Also, I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa (which I don't know if that is GF or not), but they were extra dark and fudgy! I'm rather ashamed to say that I'm eating my third one right now. Thanks again!! Also, where could I find agave nectar?? I would love to experiment with that too!

  9. Bennygirl -- GOOD FOR YOU!!! That's excellent that you practice gluten-free cooking occasionally, especially for your gluten sensitive friends.. They have a good friend in you! These brownies are a great starter recipe. I have not yet made them with quinoa so I don't know how they would taste, quinoa does have a distinct taste, so they wouldn't taste like oatmeal! But I think it would be a good experiment!!

    DARK COCOA!!! Now that's a good idea!! Why didn't I think of that!

    I'm so glad you tried these and liked them! Thank you so much for letting me know!!

    OHH... you can buy agave nectar at many health food stores, Whole Foods, Earthfare, and then online at MANY retailers... you can even search on Amazon.com and find good deals on agave nectar! I'd love for you to try it and let me know what you think!!