Under the bonnet of our gluten free chocolate orange brownie (with recipe!)

What makes our gluten free dark chocolate brownie with orange so special? With a plethora of chocolate brownies now available to buy online, I wanted to re evaluate the brownies we make here at Honeybuns bakery in Dorset.

We regularly revisit all of our gluten free cake recipes and methods to see if anything can be improved and also to see how they stack up against the competition! We never want to become complacent.

We make four varieties of brownies. They are all gluten free and our latest one is also vegan. Do check out our online shop where you can stock up your cake tin or freezer. Or why not gift someone one of our gorgeous tins of goodies instead of sending flowers? We deliver throughout the UK and can answer any questions over the phone in person.

Today I’m going to get under the bonnet of our classic and best selling dark chocolate brownie with orange.

My aim is to highlight:

  • the gluten free ingredients we use and why
  • the nutritional features of this particular brownie
  • how to make your own version of this brownie at home
  • quick and easy pudding ideas

I’ve also included some top tips and gluten free baking FAQs to make your gluten free baking sessions as easy as possible.

Why we use certain gluten free ingredients in our best selling dark chocolate brownie

Starting with the brownie base we melt butter and dark chocolate together. Extra flavour is achieved by adding small amounts of coffee and orange oil. Coffee works really well to accentuate the flavour of chocolate in baking. Salt has a similar effect but if you’re seeking to cut back on salt then I’d recommend good quality coffee granules.

The building blocks of the brownie are created with eggs and your gluten free flour of choice. We use ground almonds and sorghum flour which is our preferred gluten free flour blend. Reasons for this include:

  • Almonds have a natural sweetness to them, meaning you can reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe
  • Almonds are one of nature’s superstars. They are a great source of protein and the good, monounsaturated fat as found in olive oil. Quoting directly form the excellent livestrong website,

“Almonds have riboflavin, or vitamin B-2, which is used by the body to complete red blood cell production and metabolize carbohydrates to provide you with energy. One serving of almonds contains almost 18 percent of your daily value of riboflavin. Also, a quarter-cup of almonds provides 45 percent of your daily value of manganese and 20 percent of copper. These two minerals are used by your body to produce enzymes that inhibit the release of free radicals, which are associated with the aging process.”

  • Sorghum is a grain free alternative to conventional flours. It’s made from milling a type of grass seed and is ideal for those who cannot tolerate any kind of grains.
  • Sorghum provides a little bit of fluffiness and lightness to cakes and bakes whilst ground almonds are denser. By combining the two you get the benefits of both If you prefer a denser brownie then you can of course use 100% ground almonds.
  • The almonds add oil and prevent the mix from becoming too dry. If I were to level any criticism at sorghum flour it would be that it can be a little dry unless extra oil is added. The ground almonds do this for you.
  • Dark chocolate and lots of it! We use 2 different types of dark chocolate. One is 70% cocoa content and the darker one is 85% with relatively low levels of sugar too. Dark chocolate as compared to milk chocolate is higher in antioxidants and contains less sugar. I prefer baking with dark chocolate as I think the flavour needs to be robust enough to stand out enough after the butter, sugar, eggs and flour are added.

Gluten free baking FAQs

How much time will this take to bake?

You’ll need 40 minutes to make and bake this easy gluten free brownie.

This recipe is another one of our super easy one mixing bowl wonders. You’ll need 10 minutes for prepping and up to 28 minutes of oven time.

Can I use different types of gluten free flour?

Yes of course. I’d always advocate using milled seeds or ground nuts together with another gluten free flour of choice. You get great natural moisture from baking with seeds or nuts, plus fabulous flavour, texture and nutritional benefits. For an alternative to sorghum you can try:

  • Doves gluten free flour
  • Polenta
  • Maize flour

There are plenty of other options but these I’ve tried over and over again always with great results.

How to make this brownie nut free

The recipe I’m going to share here contains both chopped and ground almonds. You can simply replace with toasted chopped pumpkin seeds and a milled seed blend. We love Linwoods blends, especially the pumpkin, sunflower and linseed one.

What equipment do I need?

We’ve kept this as simple as possible.

  • Mixing bowl
  • 1 x traybake tin measuring 30 x 23 x 4 cm approx.
  • Microwave or hob
How many will this recipe serve?

15 x perfect portions

Ingredients for your gluten free Honeybuns Brownie

  • 175g butter plus extra, melted, for brushing
  • 200g dark chocolate. Try 70% cocoa content
  • 1 tsp espresso coffee powder or granules dissolved in hot water
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp orange oil. We love Boyajian
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g ground almonds (or milled seeds if you need it to be nut free)
  • 125g very dark chocolate, chopped. Try 85% cocoa content
  • 150g muscovado sugar (or sugar of your choice)
  • 85g almonds, toasted and chopped (or use toasted and chopped pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Step by step guide to making your best ever gluten free brownie at home

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas 4

2. Brush your tray bake tin with oil or melted butter.

3. Melt the butter with 200g of the 70% chocolate either using the bains marie method or microwave:

Bains marie method – Bring a saucepan of water to simmering point, placing a bowl on top of the pan. Place the chocolate in the bowl, ensuring no steam or water comes into contact with the chocolate. Stir gently and occasionally until the chocolate melts. Alternatively use a microwave, just take care to gently melt the chocolate – if it burns there is no rescuing it.

Allow the chocolate to cool slightly then add the orange oil, zest and coffee.

4. Crack your eggs into a bowl and then add the ground almonds, the super dark 85% chocolate, sugar, chopped almonds and vanilla. Beat until thickened and creamy.

5. Spoon this mixture into the tin and bake for 25-28 minutes.

6. Your brownie is ready when it has a firm-ish skin all over, slightly crispy edges but it still feels soft in the middle when pressed.

Top Tips and gluten free pudding ideas

  • For extra decadence melt another 150g dark chocolate and pour over the top of your baked brownie once it has cooled and scatter with more chocolate chunks.
  • You can keep the brownies in a cake tin and they will last for up to a week (yeah right!) before drying out.
  • They freeze beautifully for up to three months. Why not make two trays and have one to demolish straightaway and keep one in the freezer as a gorgeous gluten free home made dessert?

See our serving suggestions:

  • Warm through in the oven for 5-6 minutes at 190°C / Gas 5 or 2 minutes in the microwave.
  • Serve warm with a generous dollop of crème fraiche topped with orange zest.
  • Serve with our favourite clotted cream and vanilla ice cream from Judes.
  • Serve with aforementioned ice cream plus a sprinkling of our Florentine topper.
  • Make a gluten free birthday cake.
  • Check your chocolate is guaranteed gluten free. Chocolate factories often process biscuit type products on the same line which could mean gluten contamination. For more info head over to Coeliac UK.
  • This recipe is adapted from our Honeybuns gluten-free baking book. Find it on our online shop for more easy gluten free baking recipes.

Comment below and share what your favourite part of this recipe is! Be sure to share this recipe with a friend too! Thanks for reading!

Emma Goss Custard