Last Wednesday, the NYT showcased these brownie recipes; they look so simple and easy you want to go right out and bake a batch. (I wonder if rice flour can be done in a 1:1 swap with wheat flour. Gluten-free cooks, thoughts?)
But brownies and I have a past and it's not a pretty one.
Whilst in college overseas, I tried to bake Real Gourmet American Brownies for my Euro-boyfriend. I found an American recipe and dug in. There was the metric conversion thing to tackle and the fact that English teaspoons and American teaspoons are not the same measurement but as an overly confident young cook I thought, “I can wing it.”
Baking is chemistry. If your measurements are off, well, as any of you bakers know your soufflé falls, the crumb is crumby, and grit thy name is cake. Some chefs have made good on their mistakes, the molten chocolate cake of recent years is a great example. But I'm no Vongerichten.
First issue, the chocolate seized. This was pre-internet, so there was no one to check with about how to unseize it. And I had never seen chocolate do that on Fred Smith or Julia Child. [Now I know, add more liquid and it will calm down].
As I had used expensive imported chocolate I felt I needed to soldier on. I should have quit whilst I was ahead-chocolate covered strawberries would have worked for the boy.
I added the requisite dry ingreds and baked the mess, I mean mix.
Did I mention the oven was an exercise of guess-my-heat level? Oven temperature gauges over there were, yup, not the same.
Needless to say, this lovely chocolate brownie concept was a complete disaster in reality. I didn't even show the boy the bad result; I binned the whole thing. Big sigh.
However, and this is a big but, the recipes in this article are fairly uncomplicated and I wonder, if I found a nut-free chocolate and some rice flour, do I dare to attempt it?