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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Family Favorites - January 2020: Gluten-Free Andes Mint Brownies (Wheat, Fish and Nut-Free, Can Be Soy, Egg and Milk-Free)


I decided to keep posting a family favorite recipe from the blog (with any adaptions that we use regularly, if applicable) on the fourth Friday or Saturday of every month this year.  This recipe will be one that we make quite often and that we all enjoy greatly.  This post is the first Family Favorites recipe of 2020.

If you have a recipe on your blog that you consider a family favorite that you'd like to share, please comment below with a link to the recipe, and I'll make sure to pop on over and visit your site to check it out (and leave a comment), and hopefully some of my other readers will, too.

This month's Family Favorite recipe is Gluten-Free Andes Mint Brownies.  This is essentially a re-posting of my original recipe with a few tips added in.

These brownies are a family favorite because they combine 2 of our favorite flavors: mint and chocolate.  Not only that, they are rich and gooey - just like a brownie should be.  They also whip up in a flash, which I'm all about!  If you are a fan of any of those things, you'll want to give this recipe a try.  So good!  You won't be disappointed!


These brownies are wheat, fish and nut-free (if all your ingredients are), and can be soy, egg and milk-free (see variations).


Note: The gluten-free flours I recommend do not technically contain soy, but they do contain guar gum and xanthan gum (see "Soy-Free" under variations for more details) which can cause issues for people with soy sensitivities or allergies, and the Andes Mint baking chips contain soy lecithin.  For these reasons, I will not claim that this recipe is soy-free.  I will share a soy-free alternative in variations, though.



Gluten-Free Andes Mint Brownies

3/4 Cup salted, full-fat butter
(We always use full-fat, salted butter.  If you don't want to use salted butter, you can use unsalted, but you will need to up the salt added to at least 1/2 teaspoon.)

1 1/2 Cups sugar
(We always use cane sugar.)

3 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
(We normally use McCormick brand.)

1 Cup gluten-free flour blend 
(We normally use Pamela's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour or Namaste Gluten-Free Perfect Flour Blend.)

3/4 Cup gluten-free cocoa powder
(We don't really have a go-to brand for this, so use your favorite, unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe.)

3/4 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
(We use Hain's brand whenever possible.)

1/4 teaspoon salt
(We normally use Pink Himalayan Sea Salt.)

1 bag (10 oz.) Andes Creme De Menthe Baking Chips


1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla together, until blended.
  
3. Add to mixture, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, until well blended.
  

4. Stir in 1/2 of the Andes baking chips into the batter.

5. Pour into a greased pan (9"x13"), and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until desired doneness.  (Note: For more fudge-like brownies, bake closer to 20 minutes.  For more cake-like brownies, back closer to 30 minutes.  I like to bake these to about 25 minutes because of the added Andes baking chips which make them more gooey by default.)

6.  Immediately after removing the brownies from the oven, cover the brownies evenly with the remaining Andes baking chips.

7. Once the baking chips have melted (this normally takes less than a minute), spread the melted chips evenly and carefully over the surface of the brownies.  (Note: A metal spoon is best used here vs. a spatula.  You're least likely to tear the surface of the brownies with a metal spoon.)

8.  Enjoy the brownies hot, warm or cold - whatever your preference!

Makes 12 large to 24 average-sized portions.





Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using variations):

  • Milk-Free: Use non-dairy butter of your choice, coconut oil or lard in place of the butter in this recipe. I am not sure how these would turn out if you used oil, but you are welcome to try it if you've used oil in homemade brownies in the past and like them made with oil.  My guess is that they'd be a lot more dense/fudge-y with the oil.  Also, you will have to substitute a dairy-free chocolate (I highly recommend Enjoy Life) for the Andes Mint baking chips and use a dairy-free mint-extract to get the mint flavor  (I'd use 1 teaspoon, but you could use up to 2 teaspoons if you really want them minty).  You could either choose to keep the vanilla in the batter or remove it, as well.
      
  • Egg-Free: Use an egg replacer in place of the eggs.  For ideas on what to use in place of the eggs, check out my ingredient substitutions page.  The flax seed "egg" replacement would be a good fit with this recipe.
     
  • Soy-Free: Neither the Pamela's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour or the Namaste Gluten-Free Perfect Flour Blend that we use claim to contain soy, but Pamela's contains guar gum and Namaste contains xanthan gum, both of which can cause issues with people who have soy sensitivities and allergies.  The Andes Mint baking chips also contain soy lecithin.  For these reasons, I will not claim that this recipe is soy-free.  You can use regular flour (if you can have it) or a soy-free, gluten-free flour of your choice.  Keep in mind that if your blend doesn't contain guar gum or xanthan gum, you may need to add between 1/4 to 1 teaspoons of ground flax seed, guar gum or xanthan gum to help with textural issues, too.  Also, you will have to substitute a soy-free chocolate (I highly recommend Enjoy Life) for the Andes Mint baking chips and use a soy-free mint-extract to get the mint flavor  (I'd use 1 teaspoon, but you could use up to 2 teaspoons if you really want them minty).  You could either choose to keep the vanilla in the batter or remove it, as well.  You'll have to make sure all of your ingredients are soy-free, too.
      
  • No "Frosting" or All "Frosting" and Other Alternatives:  If you don't like the idea of a chocolate coating on top, just stir all the baking chips into the batter and bake as directed.  If you want all the mint chips on top vs. in the batter, you can do that, too.  You can also use more than 1 bag of Andes baking chips if you desire, and use one full bag in the brownies and part to all of a bag on top.  You could also make your own frosting to put on top of these brownies, too, or even use a mix of regular chocolate chips and Andes baking chips.  The choice is yours!
      
  • Other Flavors: If you want to make a flavor other than mint, you can use another type of baking chips/items or a combination of baking chips/items that fits your allergen needs in place of the Andes Mint baking chips - butterscotch, peanut butter, white chocolate, dark chocolate, flavored chips of choice, candy-coated chocolate pieces, chopped up candy bars, etc.  You can use another (or a few) gluten-free flavor extract(s) (almond, vanilla, coconut, maple, lemon, strawberry, etc.) or not (I would use vanilla extract, though, if nothing else to enhance the flavor of the chocolate, though) with any of these baking chip options, too (I would use a teaspoon of extract(s) total, but you could add up to 2 teaspoons total).  You could even cut out the mint, use vanilla extract, and add a nut of choice (tree nut - like almond, pecan or walnut - or peanut) or fresh or dried fruit of choice if you choose (I would use about a Cup or so total of those, but definitely not more than 2 Cups of add-ins).  For example, you could use butterscotch chips or caramel bits with vanilla extract and chopped pecans for a turtle brownie feel (you could even put some chocolate chips on top for more decadence).  You could use a strawberry extract and chocolate chips for a chocolate-covered strawberry flavor (you could even bake in some chopped strawberries or freeze-dried strawberries).  Enjoy experimenting!





I hope you will give this recipe a try soon and that it becomes a family favorite for you, too!