Four professional women had their first child within 4 weeks of each other. We were connected by mutual friends who felt it might be (fun, helpful?) for us to share the dramatic life change. Understanding the need for support we formed a Play Group that met Mondays from 3-5. If our and the world’s problems weren’t solved in two hours, pizza was ordered and husbands joined us for dinner. Those babies turned 26 this year. They had brothers and sisters, went to different schools and camps, one even got married! Happily, their friendships and ours endure.
Whitney brought Grand Marnier Brownies to one of our early gatherings. Wow: the perfect tonic for a late Monday afternoon and standard by which all other brownies are measured. I love Lisa’s Triple Chocolate Brownies https://glutenfreegus.com/2013/01/23/triple-chocolate-brownies/ , but our gluten free version of Whit’s Grand Marnier Brownies is, and I quote: “to die for!” The one left on the platter last night was quartered and polished off with enthusiasm. Make these in the morning or early afternoon so they’ll have a chance to cool and set up before serving.
Whitney’s Grand Marnier Brownies
Preheat the oven to 325 F and line an 8 x 8 x 2 inch (or 9 x 9 x 2 inch) pan with parchment paper
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate broken into chunks
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup (4.5 oz.) gluten free flour mix (ours, yours, or Trader Joe’s)
3/4 cup (2.75 oz.) almond flour (remember you can grind your own in a coffee mill.)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (5 oz.) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1. Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to warm.
2. Combine the flour, soda, salt, xantham gum, and almond flour in a small bowl.
3. Beat the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Slowly add the sugar continuing to beat until thickened and light in color.
4. Stir in the chocolate, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Fold in the flour mixture followed by the orange zest, and pour into the prepared pan.
5. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes if the pan is 8 x 8, or 22 minutes if the pan is 9 x 9. Let cool completely before icing!
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
juice of one orange reduced to 2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon (you can do it!) marshmallow fluff… there are organic varieties
1. Juice the orange and simmer in a small sauce pan until it equals 2 teaspoons. (Use OJ concentrate if you must….)
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, orange juice concentrate, and zest together until it’s smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until the buttercream is smooth. Add the marshmallow fluff and beat on high speed for 3-5 minutes or until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
3. Spread over the cooled brownies and set in the refrigerator whilst you make the glaze.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 oz.) bittersweet chocolate chips
1. Melt the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Remove from heat. While the glaze is warm, pour it over the buttercream, tipping the pan to allow it to run evenly over the surface. If the glaze has become too firm to “pour and run” easily, set in hot water for a minute or two, stirring until the consistency is loose enough. Chill the brownies until the glaze is firm.
You don’t need to serves these with anything except a napkin!