Naturally gluten-free, these brownies are so fudgy, chewy, and chocolaty, you'll never miss the flour. The cocoa and cornstarch in the recipe give just the right amount of structure to the brownies. The flavor comes from the butter, cocoa, vanilla, and chocolate chips. And the ease comes from making them in one pan on top of the stove, then pouring into a square pan and baking.
Vegetable oil spray, for misting the baking pan
1/4 cup cornstarch, plus cornstarch, for dusting the baking pan
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (see Note)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly mist an 8-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust it with cornstarch. Set the baking pan aside.
Place the butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. Add the cocoa powder and stir until thickened and smooth, about 15 to 20 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Break the eggs into the pan and stir to combine well. Add the 1/4 cup of cornstarch and the salt and stir until the batter is smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and place the pan in the oven. Bake the brownies until the edges are firm, the top is shiny, and the center is just set -- 25 to 30 minutes. If you like your brownies gooey, bake them for 25 minutes and if you like them more chewy, bake them for 30 minutes.
Remove the baking pan from the oven and let the brownies cool for 1 hour before slicing them into 1-inch squares, if desired. (Some people eat them straight from the pan!) Store the brownies, covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, at room temperature for up to five days.
Note: For the best flavor, use the best cocoa powder you have. I bake with Hershey's day-to-day, but when I want more flavor I use Ghirardelli cocoa.
Instead of vanilla, use half almond extract and half vanilla extract. Or use a teaspoon of espresso powder instead of the vanilla.
To make brownie sundaes, bake the brownies ahead of time, let them cool, then cut them into large squares and cover the pan to keep the brownies fresh. To serve, place a brownie in the bottom of a shallow microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high power for 8 to 10 seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and top the brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of your favorite chocolate sauce.
Use margarine instead of butter and 1/2 cup of carob chips in place of the semisweet chocolate chips.
Makes: 16 small or 8 large brownies
Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 25 to 30 minutes